5 years post divorce, after selling and moving out of my matrimonial home, I can say that I have survived, and made it through some of the toughest aspects of divorce. Establishing a new relationship with my son's dad was not an easy road, but we did it, and we definitely fare better than most. The fear of how I would survive as a single, working parent has lessened, and now I believe I am juggling in ways I never thought possible. The time alone without my son is not without heartache, but it has definitely become a bit easier. Despite all of the triumphs, there are some things that continue to be really, really hard post divorce.
Seeing my son in pain as a result of divorce.
I wish I could take his tears away. As he gets older he expresses more, and has become vocal (and tearful) about how sad he is that he can't be with both parents at the same time. I reassure him that when he is with either parent, the other is just a call away if he is feeling sad. As much as I love an unexpected call from my baby at any hour of the day, it hurts my heart to hear his tears on the other end. When he asks about why we aren't all together all the time, I have answers that sometimes seem acceptable (i.e. we do special things together like birthdays and school plays), and sometimes there really isn't a satisfactory answer. All I can do is empathize and tell him I know it's really hard and I understand it makes him sad.
I don't know that this part of divorce will ever feel less painful, watching your child struggle with a situation you put them in. All I can hope is that it gets easier for him, and as he grows he will understand why we did it, and how much better we all are or will be for it.
I still cry, a lot.
Divorce is an emotional roller coaster, even 5 years later. Some days the tears are from loneliness, and wondering when I am going to find the right partner for my son and me. Sometimes I cry because I am completely overwhelmed with all that I have on my plate. The littlest thing like a big snowfall has had me bawling on my stairs because shoveling is now one more thing I have to do that night.
I have been judged by people who seem to diminish my load because I only have one child. I would never diminish someone else's stresses before I have walked a day in their shoes. The thought that some people think that, has also caused me pain.
I am still not 100 per cent used to not having my son at all times, and don't know that I ever will be. As a result, sometimes coming home to an empty house triggers an emotional outburst. I don't take for granted the nights I get to kiss him goodnight and see his adorable face in the morning. I probably say I love you and watch him sleep more than others, but in a way it gives me more to hold onto when he goes to his dad's.
Sometimes it can feel like I'm alone on Divorce Island.
Divorce can be really isolating. All of my really good friends are still married, and as a result I don't have a lot of people in my circle who are single, let alone single parents. There is a level of understanding among people who have been through similar experiences, and I hope that over time I meet more single moms (and dads) to add to my social circle.
Social media is not always a platform that brings me joy.
Sure, there are aspects of social media I love. The connection it brings to those I think about often but have lost touch with is like no other, and it's kind of nice (and a little creepy) to run into old acquaintances. It is also hard to see certain things that I'm not quite in a frame of mind to see. I am reminded of friends/family that were once in my life, but are now acquaintances because of divorce. I am reminded of just how few people in my social circle are single and how couple friends continue to grow closer and closer. I go through stages where I want to remove myself completely from social media to save myself from going through a box of Lucky Charms in an evening, but there are 2 things preventing me from doing so. I work in Marketing and oversee social media, so this is not really an option. Second, social media has become my source for news, for connecting with certain communities I am a part of, and a platform for me to celebrate, vent, and not feel so alone. So for now, I am sticking around as the positive elements seem to outweigh the moments of despair.
The cliché that time heals definitely holds truth. For me, the last 5 years are proof of that adage. I do hope that the road for the next phase of healing is a little bit shorter. I am a better person and mom than I was 5 years ago, and the strength I have gained is like none I could have imagined. In some way shape or form, life is hard for everyone. In my 30's, divorce has been my challenge and my major bump in the road. Although I know the healing will continue, I keep reminding myself the worst is behind me and the forecast is looking very sunny.
Author: Kerry Fleiser is a divorced mom of one amazing little boy, corporate marketer, and former group fitness instructor. Read more from Kerry here.
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