Nancy B has been divorced now for some eighteen months and her life has changed. She’s gone from working with her husband raising a child in the LA area to being a single woman in her fifties, an empty-nester looking after her elderly mother in a small town in Minnesota. Even though Nancy B is thankful for the opportunity with her mother, there are some hard realities about life after divorce she’s had to confront. Here’s Nancy B:
I really felt like I was going through my divorce alone. As much as I thought I had a good support group, my closest friend, who I had helped through every step of her really horrible divorce, abandoned me! And to me, it’s just so shocking. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed in someone.
She had just gotten into a new relationship and was very happy. She’d been divorced about four or five years, and was so mashed up with this guy. She was working two jobs because she was having some financial problems, and I know she had some challenges of her own, but it really ended our friendship.
I certainly can’t see myself settling in this little tiny town…that I couldn’t wait to get away from. When I was eighteen, I was out of there so fast. Once I was gone, I never went back, other than to visit. So it’s kind of like coming to terms with your past and realizing that it doesn’t have the hold over you that you thought it did, your relationship with your parents and what happened in high school. Nobody really cares.
This is so different than where I lived in LA. A lot of my friends were new-age thinkers, new thought churches and stuff like that, yogis, Jewish, my daughter has friends who are Muslim, so just people of all colors and backgrounds and I have a few friends from Canada. I just like a lot of diversity and it’s pretty vanilla here. Everyone’s Christian and you say “Happy Holidays” and they’re like “Well, Merry Christmas!”
It was very interesting watching the Iowa caucuses because it’s like, “Well okay, that’s where I live.” It’s really middle America and it’s refreshing to be back in that and hear what people are saying about current events and the economy and politics. Very interesting. In LA, everybody’s like, “OK, it’s either East Coast or West Coast…” I have friends born and raised in New York, or born and raised in Los Angeles, they’ve lived there their entire lives, they have no idea what happens outside of that, and even though I’ve been visiting here all those years, you really have to live in a place to really get the flavor. I feel in some ways I’m back amongst regular folks.
I haven’t dated and now, that’s probably because of lack of opportunity, but I just felt that I wanted to spend time on myself. I felt as though I was so controlled and kept in a box for so long, I didn’t want to be accountable to anybody. I just wanted to be on my own.
It’s been great because I never had that ‘I can do anything’ freedom. He had his comfort zone. He couldn’t go beyond his comfort zone and if you tried to push him, it just wasn’t worth it because he’d just make you so miserable.
I think I am now getting interested, but I really don’t want to meet anybody in my little home town, because I don’t want to live there in the long term, so I don’t know. I guess I could look around in Minneapolis or join a dating site or something. I don’t know.
I did things with Meetup when I first separated but I doubt that they have any meetup groups in my little town here. There’s not even anybody on Twitter. All I want are tweets!
It’s kind of a scary thing. People say to me, “Well, maybe you could be a docent to the museum or something” but we don’t have a museum. There’s Wal-Mart. I could be a greeter there. It’s just so funny, my friends who have always lived in big cities just do not understand what it’s like. People say, “Well, you can always go and drown your sorrows over some cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory” and I have to explain that the nearest Cheesecake Factory is like two and a half hours from where I live, so no, don’t think I’m going to be doing that. And nor does it make sense to drive two and half hours to meet a guy on a coffee date.
So I’m kind of concentrating on my blog. My blog really has helped me to maintain my sanity and meet some new people and it’s been really, really good, so I’m grateful for that.
The Divorce Coach Says
Life after divorce is about transition and rebuilding. You’re really building a new life or rather your next phase. What Nancy B’s message is saying is that rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight. The longer your marriage, the more intertwined you and your spouse were, the more changes you should expect. And the more changes there are, the longer it will take to adapt and feel settled again. And having to make new friends is part of that change. Making new friends because old friends have abandoned you adds to the emotional challenge. You may never fully understand why they’ve chosen not to support you … it’s another one of those circumstances calling for acceptance and belief that it’s more about them than it is you.
Nancy B’s move back to her home town is temporary and I see it as part of Nancy B’s transition, part of her journey to reinvent herself. She doesn’t know where it’s going to lead yet or where she’ll eventually settle but she’s giving herself time to figure that out. I applaud her for embracing this opportunity … oftentimes we pressure ourselves into making decisions quickly without allowing life to blossom. Sometimes it’s good to just let change unsettle us …
Are there any decisions you made after divorce that you wouldn’t if you had a do-over? Why did you make those decisions? Were there friends that abandoned you? How did you cope with that?
Photo credit: niallkennedy