After Divorce "It's Hard to Fake a Smile"

Salli's Divorce Support Blog

As I searched the internet for divorce support ideas to blog about tonight, I found this poignant letter from a woman named Dawn. Reading her words took me back to the days right after my divorce; I could vividly sense her anguish and feel her pain. Can you identify with her?

“Hi there. I've never written like this before but there are times when I feel so overwhelmed that I'm willing to try anything. This is one of those things. I realize that many of you have been in the position that I am in right now. And, I am hoping that someone can offer some words that will help me. I've been separated for a number of months, but moved out in January. The first weeks on my own were fun, and exciting. A new place, I had started to date a guy who was a good distraction but I just ended it with him b/c he wasn't a good match. Now, the reality has set it. I am in this new life. Everything is different and I'm dizzied by the overwhelming emotions. I find myself feeling terrified about the future and what life will be like. There are moments that I feel so unbearably anxious and afraid that I don't know how I will make it to the next minute. My body buzzes with anxiety, I can't concentrate, it's hard to fake a smile. The weekends are particularly bad without the forced distraction of work. There is a lot of advice on the practical aspects of separation and divorce—i.e., get a lawyer, finances, kids, etc., and the typical self-help suggestions to deal with the emotions of divorce--take care of yourself, sleep, eat, talk to friends, journal, etc. I guess what I'm wondering is how did people feel in the days after separation. How did you cope with the overwhelming emotions, and how long did it take for you to feel like you were on stable ground? If the answer to this last question is 'years.' Don't tell me. I don't wanna know this is going to go on for years. Thanks.”

This is what I wrote to her:

“Dawn, your words remind me of the first year after my divorce.

I recall moaning in the night while my children slept because it released some of the anxiety and made me feel better. I felt I was mourning the loss of something very important; something that letting go of was painful to my body, mind, and spirit. I remember telling someone that divorce felt like an amputation without anesthesia. And I was the one that chose to leave the marriage!

As you divorce, everything is frightening and uncertain. You're learning to do everything again--as a single person; of course, you will feel disoriented and confused for awhile. You will worry about the future and you will question your decision often. But don't look back, move forward. Even the good transitions take awhile to adjust to. Slowly, you will begin to feel better, your confidence will grow; things that might have unnerved you in the past will start to get easier. Powerful emotions you remember feeling in the recent past, will cease to have a hold over you.

And then one morning you will wake up and feel happy! You'll begin to feel a joy you haven't felt for years. This happiness will help you realize that divorce was a good choice for you and the future will start to feel bright and hopeful--even if there is nothing on the horizon! You'll just know you're going in the right direction and that you are going to be okay.

You may have even wondered, in years gone by, whether you really wanted to continue to live, but when you begin to feel the joy again you'll find yourself hoping and praying that you’ll enjoy the blessing of living a long, long time!

There are good days ahead, Dawn! Hold on!”

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My name is Salli.

Divorced and full of fret and regret, I found my 'Reason for Living' on the internet. Now, my life is lots of fun, married in Portland, Oregon.

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