Divorce Does Not Have To Be The End

Divorce can feel like death. But it doesn't have to be.
Jennifer Aniston arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of
Jennifer Aniston arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of

It was eight and a half years ago. Nothing but nothing could have prepared me for me husband's unexpected announcement: "I love you but I'm not in love with you. I want a divorce. It's non-negotiable". I had three children at the time, aged 3, 22 months and 8 months. I was 30 years old. There was no fight. There was no warning. I literally fell to pieces. My world, as I knew it, was over.

I literally could not swallow my new reality and my weight quickly dropped to 38 kilograms. I was grief-stricken, heartbroken......crushed. I used to beg God to please take me in my sleep and I would fantasise about having a head-on collision and ending all my pain. I felt worthless, useless, ashamed and a failure. I also panicked about how I was going to manage on my own.

Six and a half years prior, when I said my wedding vows, I had never ever dreamed that divorce would ever be my reality.

I think a part of me died that day when he said goodbye.

What I never realised at the time is that divorce is like a death....in a different way. It's the death of a dream, the death of hope, the death of being part of a unit. Statistically, divorce is rated right up there on the major life stressor scale with death of a spouse. Divorce can be a massive trauma. Divorce can be initially devastating.....but it doesn't have to be the end.

I certainly allowed myself a fair length of time to grieve and mourn and express my emotions. I sought every bit of assistance that I was able to – I saw a therapist and a life coach. I journaled and went to spiritual healers. I leaned on my incredible family and friends. It was one friend, in fact, who actually jolted me onto the path where I find myself today.

I had been crying for about four months. My friend was seated at the foot of my bed. In her characteristic no-nonsense style, she asked me: "When are you going to choose happiness?". She then continued: "If you don't make an active choice to be happy, you will find yourself in the exact same space where you find yourself today....in four years time." Wow – she was right. Until this point, I had literally felt like a victim of my circumstances – as if life was happening to me and there was nothing I could do about it. In this moment, I realised that I still had a choice. Of course, transformation takes time and it was not like I was magically healed in that moment BUT from that day on, I made a conscious choice to take active steps towards creating happiness.

So, how does one do this?

• Allow yourself a little time to think and wonder – what do I enjoy doing? What makes me happy?

• Grab your diary and make sure you schedule in happy time each day, even if it's for a few minutes. It doesn't have to be something elaborate or enormous – it could be as simple as listening to beautiful music or taking your dog for a walk.

Try it!


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