Ending a marriage or long-term relationship in your thirties or forties can be a scary prospect.
Some may feel like they’ve missed the boat and are never going to settle down again, while others might be baffled by how quickly the dating scene has changed.
But it doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience. In fact, plenty of people have made positive discoveries about themselves after being catapulted into singledom.
1. ‘My worth.’
“You see, my soon-to-be-ex husband had me convinced that I was worth nothing. That I was overweight, ugly, incompetent and just a terrible person. I was told I was boring, old and nobody wanted to be around me.
“In reality, I’m none of those things. The only terrible person was the one who was systematically stripping away every bit of confidence from me.”
2. ‘That I enjoy being single.’
“I discovered that I actually like being single, a lot. I haven’t even been on a date in about 10 years now.”
3. ‘That I’m not useless.’
“[I learned] that I’m actually not a useless piece of shit and I actually am quite capable.”
4. ‘That I’m really good at talking to women’
“I was just always too scared to strike up a conversation.”
5. ‘That I needed more ‘me’ stories.’
“I realised I had very few ‘me’ stories. With that realisation, I quit my job and used some of the equity from the sale of the matrimonial home, hopped on a plane and backpacked through Asia for 13 months. Travelling as a single guy, I became more confident, more outgoing and have a million ‘me’ stories to tell my new girlfriend.”
6. ‘That I want more from life.’
“I had been comfortably miserable in a loveless marriage and, once free, could not wait to effectively throw myself into chaos for my passions and ambitions. I discovered that I was better at dating than I thought I would be, I was more confident than ever, and absolutely ready for love. Divorce was a blessing to me.”
7. ‘That there’s nothing wrong with me.’
“After trying to be supportive, partake in his hobbies, show interest in his job etc. and have him constantly cheating on me, I really thought there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t sexy, I thought I needed to try harder at everything. I’m starting to figure out it had little to nothing to do with me.”
8. ‘That I’m a great money manager.’
“How I managed to support myself and pay rent and my bills on my salary when I was first back out on my own is astounding. I never had an overdraft, never didn’t pay something on time.”
9. ‘That I’m easygoing.’
“I learned that a great deal of my anxiety came from my ex’s behaviour and that I’m actually a fairly easygoing person! I also learned that I can be entirely happy on my own, and that was the very best place to meet someone from once I was healed.”
10. ‘That I could be more picky with who I dated.’
“I had more worth in the dating scene than I thought.”
11. ‘That I could be friends with my ex.’
“I now consider him one of my closest friends. He and my new husband are good friends, too. Sometimes people are just better suited to be friends than life partners, and that is ok.”
12. ‘I rediscovered the hobbies that defined me.’
“I realised that the music I enjoyed getting lost to, the weird little hobbies I had, the movies I loved watching over a stiff drink, and the willingness to put these aside for another really kinda defined me and that was what probably made my ex attracted to me in the first place. Here’s hoping to keeping those hobbies alive and not getting lost in the whiskey.”
13. ‘I learned my value.’
“And I’ve learned that I can choose to associate with both friends and family whom I want to and can filter out those that I feel don’t have value. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be selfish, I don’t have to drop everything to help someone if it takes away from what I want to do.”
14. ‘I learned how to ‘want’ to be in a relationship instead of ‘needing’ to be in a relationship.’
“The whole ‘no one can love you until you love yourself’ sounds silly, but it’s true. Once I learned how to be alone and be okay with it I didn’t feel the need to jump from relationship to relationship just to be with someone, which allowed me to be a little more discerning.”