Five Ways I Got Through
My name is George and I’ve been through two divorces. I’ve also been in two marriages: that’s not a coincidence. Confessing those pieces of my reality doesn’t have the same sting it once did; I guess I’ve made some progress.
I’m writing because I’m told it’s good for my business. Plus, I like to write; it allows me to stir things up which, if you can’t tell, I like to do. And, I think that my story needs to be told…and read: I have some insights that, I’m told, need to be shared.
First, though, a disclaimer: I created this mobile app, iSplit Divorce, that I’m trying to sell. That doesn’t mean I don’t have some decent information to share. But, in fairness, would I be writing for this blog if I weren’t hawking my product? Probably not.
OK, with all that preamble, what do I have to offer you? Well, I can tell you I went through a divorce in 2011 — after 23 years of marriage, 26 years together — and I didn’t die. I think I’m over the worst part now and am coming out “the other end:” I can see the early rays of sun at the end of the tunnel.
I was the quasi-stay-at-home parent while my ex- was the breadwinner and…I gotta tell ya, she was good at it. And, I just loved being a dad so the non-breadwinner thing is harder for me now than when I was with my boys: I just loved being with them, caring for them.
Why is it harder now? Well, I’ve got to reinvent myself…one more time and at the age of 58, there’s so much pressure and stress. And, of course, so much uncertainty: where my life is going has always been unpredictable but, now, it’s just exponential.
So, what do I think I can tell you that might be remotely helpful, might, in some small way, make your burden, as you go through your divorce, a bit lighter? Well, in the context of this blog, I can tell you that even though women are more likely to talk about and provide support in divorce, dissolving a marriage is a gender indifferent endeavor: it doesn’t care what sex you are.
And, even though men don’t talk or write about it much, it hurts just the same. Splitting up, for me, has been a wildly lively experience filled, mostly, with pain but occasionally some joy at knowing that I’m here and not “there.” “There” was a state of feeling disrespected, unimportant and without support. Now, I’m fulfilling those needs on my own and, with a little help, I feel OK most days.
So, men hurt, too: they’re just trained, by their families, friends, the culture, to show it less. Easily said. I’m hopeful that, some day, the idea of emotional intelligence won’t be a foreign concept for males in the world. (Some optimists think it’s already happening!)
What can I tell you about how I’ve coped, gotten through the worst parts of it, my divorce? It’s got to be some finite number, right? Seven things or “ten things.” Well, I’ve got five (I think):
- nature: I love it. I like spending time in it. I like watching “my” birds (I have lots of feeders) and the deer and turkeys that I feed, too. It’s all healing to me and releases some “feel-good” hormones.
- exercise: jogging; walking; biking; mountain biking; basketball (esp. when the neighbor’s ten year old comes out to play and doesn’t think I’m a pedophile). All of these activities remind me of my body, that it’s strong and capable which reminds me of my power: I have some.
- creative expression: I journal almost every day, the act of putting a pen (fountain) to some paper is satisfying and, apparently, alters my brain chemistry; I like to play the piano
- creating an intimate connection: somehow, the idea of finding a soulmate was something I wasn’t completely discouraged about: I did the online thing, braved rejection and, mostly, being ignored and found a good person whom I can count on to “be on MY side.”
Will these “methods” work for you? I have no idea; only you can be the judge of that. But, would it hurt to try one or two or dive in with a little more vigor into one of them? Probably not.
It would be easier to consider any, or all, of these ideas to fall into the rubric of “taking care of myself.” It’s an acquired skill.
What’s that, you say, I missed one? Oh, yes, I did say “five,” didn’t I? Well, I think the final tool I’ll share with you is empathy: in my current state, I can go a few days without thinking about my partner of almost three decades. But, when I do think about her, I try to imagine what her world is like these days, the pain and joy that she might be experiencing: at least we still share that much. I know she doesn’t hate me but she’s quite good at ignoring me and, you know what? That still hurts.I’m sure, in time, I’ll find a way to deal with that, too. And, then, I can write about that. Too.