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35 And Suddenly Single: Facing My B-Day And D-Day

14/08/2014 16:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

35 and Suddenly Single: Facing my B-day and D-day

It's a Saturday morning in August and it's my 36th birthday. Before you think it, I know that I should now honestly rename the column, but it's not going to happen. 36 and Still Very Single doesn't have quite the same ring, does it?

It's a strange feeling. I don't ever remember waking up on my birthday alone anywhere before, but I'm not feeling too sad. Later I'm seeing my family and a university friend and being taken for dinner and a concert. It will be fun and I'm looking forward to it, but for now I have a little time on my own to contemplate.

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This time last year I thought I'd be pregnant or having a baby right around now. The reality is somewhat different but I still haven't given up hope. It's just the timing and cast of characters will have to change from what I imagined back then.

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Oh well, I've always been quite flexible and pragmatic, and in order to get a move on I've had to start making things happen

I returned from my Glastonbury sojourn with a sense of purpose, which I am glad to say has not waned in any way. I knew I had to see my husband again and chat things through with him but the conversation was going to be difficult.

After we decided the relationship was over back in the spring, but just before he moved out we agreed we'd wait a couple of years to get divorced so we could do it the cheap(er) way and not involve expensive solicitors. I was still in shock and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

But the more I thought about it the more I realised I didn't want the whole divorce thing hanging over me till April 2015. I have to be optimistic and hope I meet someone new soon.

If I were in the other person's shoes would I be happy to meet someone who still had that legal connection with someone, even if they didn't mean it anymore? Nope, not really.

A colleague recommended a divorce solicitor's down the road from me and I went to see them with my dad. Of all the things I've ever been recommended it's probably the service I least hoped I'd ever need, but there I found myself with someone who'd clearly worked on divorces a hundred times before.

He was very personable and walked me through the process and told me it could be done by the end of the year. There are no kids and we've already agreed a financial settlement. He'd clearly had more difficult and profitable cases. This was his bread and butter for the slow summer season.

I couldn't really afford it but I'm lucky to say my brother and sister-in-law agreed to lend me the money to make it happen. It's now happening.

I feel strangely relieved that I've made the decision and can now push it through.

Perhaps the most surprising outcome was that when my husband and I met up to discuss the divorce, it was like meeting an old friend. After I got the initial awkward bits out of the way and explained why I needed closure in the first ten minutes, we ended up staying for another three hours drinking and catching up on friends and family. I'd even come close to saying that I'd had a fun night.

Whilst together we clearly had fallen into being friends, but it's nice to know that this friendship will last and our years together were not wasted. We've just moved on but know in our heart of hearts it's the right thing to do.

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I don't know if it's ever possible to feel happy about getting divorced but whatever I'm feeling is definitely the next best thing.

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Things are starting to come together in other parts of my life too. I finally have a nice lodger moving into the house next week so I should be able to stay in it for the foreseeable future.

There finally seems to be a small light at the end of a very long tunnel. My life might return to some kind of new normality by the autumn, and I'd be very thankful for some stability after the tumult of the last few months.

I'm a year older and wiser but also freer as well. Happier days beckon, I'm sure.

You can read Melinda's previous columns here.

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