divorce mistakes

The "Things I Learned During My Divorce" post is probably de rigueur for bloggers who've gone through one, and I doubt I have anything new to add. But I wish I'd been at least exposed to these ideas, a year, year-and-a-half ago. Not that I would have acted any differently. But maybe. And statistics being what they are, at least someone reading this is on the verge of filing. So in the hopes that this might help someone else, here goes.

I wish I hadn't...

...rebounded. Biggest mistake, by far. It was incredibly easy to seek solace and comfort in the arms of someone ready and willing to prop me back up, emotionally. But it enabled me to be my weakest, most helpless self. The time and energy I could devote to a new relationship was the perfect escape from facing my very real problems of what the fuck do I do next? and how am I going to take care of myself?

...been so proud. I should have sought help. Professional help, I mean. I was way, way overwhelmed by what I was going through, but too proud to seek out the sort of support that could have saved me months of pain and time wasted: cheap/free legal counseling, therapy, career counseling - even antidepressants. Any and all of those things would have made the process much easier for me. I wish I hadn't tried to tough it out on my own.

...fed the jackals. One of the lovely side effects of getting a divorce are the emotional vultures that creep out of the woodwork, looking to feed on the carrion of your pain. Toxic people - usually peripheral characters in your life, like acquaintances or frenemies - just love to pick over the carcass of a dead marriage. They'll swoop in under the guise of friendship and concern, then blindside you with passive aggression, a stunning lack of consideration, nosiness, and other inappropriate behaviors. Then they'll swoop right back out again, fattened on your flesh. Minimize contact with anyone you suspect is just looking to get a quick fix of schadenfreude.

...tried so hard to be friends with my husband. That was a wall I banged my head against again and again and again. It hurt terribly every time, but I couldn't stop myself. I desperately wanted to keep him in my life, as a friend. That wasn't right for him, though, and it ultimately didn't work. I wish I hadn't tried to force the issue, and had allowed time to do its thing. Maybe then we could have carved out a space for friendship, later on. Or maybe not. Either way, I wish I hadn't prostrated myself again and again, reaching out like I did. I never got anything back, and I ended up feeling depleted and resentful.

...aired my dirty laundry. Mutual friends can only handle so much of the negativity you have towards your spouse. And who can blame them? That puts them in an incredibly awkward position. They want to be supportive of you both, but no one needs to hear the ugly details of your various disagreements. Honor the friendships you shared together by letting your friends retain positive memories of you and your spouse. Divorce sucks, badly, but it's not an excuse to bring others down into your rabbit hole of sadness.