So you are eating chocolates, sipping a bit too much wine, shedding buckets of tears and tearing up the wedding photos. We all have days like this when divorcing.
The thing is, nobody prepares you for it. Why would they? Nobody, unless psychopathically calculating, goes into marriage thinking, "One day I will divorce." You have pictures of a happy marriage inside your head but -- very appropriately -- no pictures of divorce at all.
Then, when you find that your marriage is on the rocks/out the window/down the toilet, you just feel overwhelming sadness, pain and misery. This grieving stage at the end of a relationship is very common and it is the pits.
You are, of course, going through a transformative process and you will be substantially changed at the end of it: Older, a bit wiser, and likely a lot poorer financially. But how will you feel? Well it could be that you will come out of this divorce process tremendously enriched.
Here is what I have learned:
1. You will become a genius at solving practical problems.
From missed planes to blocked drains to broken down cars, I learned to deal with them all. Once upon a time, like a modern day Cinderella, I would have let my husband handle all of this. When he was no longer my Prince Charming, I had to.
I didn't want to be unblocking the drains two days after Christmas, out on the patio with my rain slicker, welly boots and sulphuric acid. But I did it. And oh, the sense of achievement when I heard that satisfying gurgle of kitchen waste disappearing down the drain. Surely a Christmas to remember.
Nor did I want to be stuck at Gatwick airport, in peak holiday season, having missed the check-in time (the ex had made the booking so of course I blamed him), but I dealt with that. And when the car broke down on an awkward bend of the A22 that too got sorted.
I didn't want to be solving any of these problems but I could. If marriage had infantilised me I was becoming a grown-up and it felt good.
2. You get the chance to do things your ex would never do.
At least, not without a lot of cajoling and grumpy discussion. You can just get up and do your own stuff. Scary? Yes, a bit daunting.
But it's such fun! I like traveling, so I do a lot of it. Part of the fun is just meeting new people. A 70-year-old world traveler I met in the lounge a JFK. The rich, charming and gentlemanly lawyer I met in New York. The knight in shining armour at Sydney airport. I've been to New Hampshire, California, Boston, New York and Sydney -- and loved it all.
3. You never have to watch Sky Sports again.
You can, should you so choose, cancel the subscription! OK, so I hate football and would rather stick pins in my eyeballs than watch another game of men kicking a ball around in the mud. Your pet hate will be different. Just imagine, you will NEVER have to do that again. Even with another partner because next time you choose a mate you'll be more discerning.
4. You get to be around people who love and respect you
This is huge. Your ex, inevitably, ends up maybe not trusting you and certainly not respecting you. You probably feel the same. So in the middle of divorce your self-esteem is at an all time low.
You can choose to be with the people who value and respect you and ignore the ones who don't. There may be friends you lose but those who stay, and the new friends you make, are your tribe, your people. Treasure them. You will become skilled at identifying the people who want to support you and confident enough to ditch the ones who don't.
5. You can plan your own future
Even if, at the moment, you don't know what that future is.
When I was divorcing, I looked at the future through the wrong end of a telescope -- it looked very small and far away. But within six months of the decree absolute I had a complete turnaround in my business, rebranded and, both personally and professionally, felt totally different.
Will I make mistakes? Most definitely. But I while I don't have to do it perfectly the future is mine to create and that feels fantastic!
A divorcee and survivor of a four year long divorce herself, Liz works with clients to put them in the right frame to work strategically with their lawyers, keeping time "on the lawyer's clock" to a minimum, and supporting them with the emotional angst and planning for a new life that comes as part of the experience of divorce.
Liz works with clients on a totally confidentially, one to one basis and her website can be found here.