It can feel like you have a mountain to climb to get over a break-up, dragging behind you the past you have bundled up as ‘baggage’. Any girl who has been through a difficult separation will understand these struggles:
1: The anger-inducing tele-marketing calls – “can I please speak with Mrs…”
Even though I have changed my name with all the important companies, utilities and insurances etc, there is still the odd company that has slipped through the net. Depending on the company calling or the mood I’m in I will either correct them or hang up… oops!
2: The awkward “So what brought you to the Wirral” conversation
The ‘getting to know you’ bit of a new acquaintance can be a little hard to swallow sometimes. Do I tell them the truth? How much do I tell them or should I just lie and say ‘my job’? I am an open book, I always have been, but if it’s a business situation I tend to just gloss over it with a quick “I moved up here to be with my now ex-husband”, no elaboration and a smile.
3: You find yourself referencing your past life
On a recent holiday I found myself talking about my ex in comparison to some of my friends’ relationships and partners and recalling stories in my past… what this lead to was a very intense and uncalled for counselling session from my friends. Day to day I can get by without referencing my ex, his mum, sister, friends, my divorce… but seemingly when people are talking about relationships I am still compelled to talk about my own experiences. It’s only natural to do this, so I am not beating myself up about it just yet. My friends are my friends for a reason, they keep me grounded and tell me to shut the **** up when I need it.
4: Your married friends don’t invite you to events
In the early stages of my split I admit I was a bit of a social hand-grenade, my friends didn’t know when I was going to explode in tears or if I was going to say something really inappropriate. As the years have gone by and my friends have had children and so have acquired new ‘parent’ friends. Feeling that I would feel left out as I don’t have a partner or a child I no longer get invited to some of my closest friends ‘family-based’ events.
5: You fear you’ll be single forever!
Even though deep down you know that your split was for the best and you keep telling yourself that ‘you are stronger and happier than ever before’, there is always that fear that you are somehow unable to sustain a loving relationship, after all your last relationship failed. What if this fear pushes your next love interest away, all the baggage you are carrying from the last break-up is heavy. The truth is, everyone out there has baggage, you just have to learn to accept it, deal with it and go in to your next relationship with an open mind and an open heart. You can choose to be single, or choose to get yourself out there again.
6: Your heartbreaks when you hear other people are going through divorce
From experience you know how painful it can be and what an emotional rollercoaster break-ups can be, so it is hard not to be affected by the relationship breakdowns around you.
7: You cry uncontrollably at random songs on the radio?
No? May be just me then. There are some songs that trigger sad emotions in me, usually when I’m in the car driving to my training sessions or the 2 hour journey to my mum’s house. I’ve explored these ‘episodes’ and can only draw the conclusion that I am and always will be an emotion-rich person!
8: People you hardly know try to give you advice (even when you’re not looking for advice)
I’m sure they mean well and I have had plenty of experience in people advising me on everything from dating after divorce to finding a sperm donor to have a baby by myself! I am probably guilty of this myself and to those who I have advised without warning I am truly sorry, I know how it feels.
9: You wonder if looking at your ex on Facebook makes you a stalker
I am no angel and have been guilty of doing this in the early days after the split. Unlike Linkedin, they don’t know you’re checking up on them, however if you have to ask the question ‘does it make me a stalker’ you know it’s not something you should be doing. Keeping up to date on what your ex is doing is not healthy. Today I found out the date that my ex is getting married via a mutual friend on Facebook… I have now blocked and deleted said mutual friend and those still associated with him or her.
10: You know that you handle anything!
You have built up a resilience after having had your whole world fall apart around you. Author Lisa Arends says it best “Those of us who have faced the brutal dismantling of one life and the rebuilding of another know our own strength. There’s a confidence that comes from facing divorce and surviving. Embrace it and rather than being ashamed of your status, be proud of your perseverance.”