Divorce: Experience has changed my perspective

My next guest post comes from Lauren, who shared her story here a few months back. One of the posts in the series was how Lauren was blogging her way to a new career after divorce. Lauren has always enjoyed writing and her divorce was a chance for her to breakaway from her safe job and take a chance on a new career. Just recently, she announced she’s taking a sabbatical from her My Life Incomplete blog so she can focus on some other opportunities. She’s not being specific about those opportunities but I’m hoping it means her new career is taking off.

For many of the women I talk to about divorce, their first-hand experience of divorce changes their perspective of the event and it does make you wonder where all those preconceived ideas came from. Here’s Lauren on how her perspective changed:

At seven years old, I envied a kid with a casted arm in a sling.  At nine, I decided I wanted glasses.  My eyes were fine. At twelve, braces.  My teeth were perfect. And in eighth grade, when I befriended a child of divorce for the first time – I kid you not – I was a little jealous of her.

My ex-husband would tell you that I am never happy.  My explanation is a little different.  All my life, I’ve craved experience.  I tried every hobby and activity a child can participate in –softball, swimming, piano, gymnastics, art, dance, you name it.  I hung out with every stereotypical clique in high school and tried every fashion trend that roamed the halls.  I had 27 jobs by the time I was 23 years old.  I moved every year in college.  I’m on my sixth car in 15 years.

Perhaps I should be ashamed to say this, but it comes to me as no surprise that I would be “the divorced chick.”  And as that chick, it may come as no surprise to you that my view of divorce has changed considerably since eighth grade.

Growing up, divorce was foreign to me.  I grew up with married parents and friends with married parents.  “Other people” were divorced, the same way “other people” have drug addictions or fatal illnesses.  It was something that was sad, and interesting, but wouldn’t “happen to me.”

When I was first introduced to the life of a split family, it didn’t seem so bad.  Two bedrooms!  Apartment living with a POOL!  (I swear, this seemed attractive to me at one time.)  Only one parent at home breathing down your neck.  Cake, really.  My friends seemed to be doing fine —  from my juvenile perspective.  And the parents were low-conflict, at least as far as I could tell.

But as I grew older, I developed conviction for the institution of marriage.  I became very conservative and judgmental of others (not proud) when it came to family values.  I felt that people who divorced were failures, quitters, moral inferiors.

And when I got married, despite the tiny voice of truth, I never considered divorce as an option.  I was so concerned with quieting that voice of truth, that I began to work extra hard to put on appearances – for my ex, for my friends and family, and for myself.  All that effort wound me more and more tightly.

…Until that voice just had to scream out – I want a divorce! And I surrendered.

Now, as a three-year resident of Splitsville, I view divorce, and all personal life circumstances, differently – with an open mind and an open heart.  Experience has opened me up, just as it always has.

In the words of The Divorce Encouragist, “a marriage should not survive at the expense of its participants.”  There is no reason that we should be miserable for our lives because of a bad decision we made in our past.  I say this with the caveat that I don’t think divorce is the answer for every troubled marriage.  There are marriages worth saving.  There are values to uphold.  There are children to consider.  But when all else fails, I don’t believe that there is anything noble in living a miserable life.

How has your view of divorced changed over time?

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  • Courtney

    I grew up with divorced parents. In fact I don't remember my parents every being together. So for me divorce was "normal". I was put in a special therapy group in school because back then the school thought that people like me needed extra support. I was the anomaly. Now it's more accepted and normalized. I felt a little cool back in the day because the fact that I had divorced parents put me in a league of my own with a select group of kids. I vowed not to let that happen to my kids. Sadly it has and I feel a bit like a failure. Its not cool anymore. :(

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jolene1079 jolene1079

    Absolutely love this post – especially the quote from Divorce Encouragist – couldn't agree more. And love the piece about perspective. This is excellent.
    My recent post The date that almost wasn’t.

  • Lauren

    I'm so glad you like it! It was fun to have it post here. I feel like I haven't posted in a YEAR!! :)

    How about you, Jolene? Has your perspective changed over time? And as a divorcee, what about your perspective on marriage?

  • http://Thedivorceencouragist.wordpress.com Thedivorceencouragist

    Fan-freaking-tastic post (and thanks for quoting me)!! I think this sums it up so well for so many of us. “There is nothing noble about living a miserable life.” I’m gonna go RT the link….

  • Penelope

    This is a fantastic post. Well done :)

    My view of divorce certainly has changed. I used to think "those people" were quitters. Now I realize they were people who made a mistake and decided the rest of their life should not have to pay for it.

  • SinceMyDivorce

    I agree. Part of me is mad that I had my vows so ingrained that it made it so difficult to leave. On the other hand, by the time I decided to leave I knew it was the right decison.

  • SinceMyDivorce

    I'm loving my guest bloggers this week – they all have great perspectives on divorce. Where did the quote come from? I don't believe in being a martyr.

  • SinceMyDivorce

    It might now be cool be anymore but maybe that's not such a bad thing – when we told my daughter we were getting divorced, she said it was no big deal because eight out of 12 girls on her gymnastics team had parents who were divorced. For us that meant, she had other role models to look to and I think that made her feel more comfortable.