I have been through the separation and divorce process. It’s a roller coaster. But one thing I remember, is that just when you feel as though you have a handle on things, you realize how close you are to the actual divorce being final and BOOM! You have to find a place to live. Leaving the place you have lived and not knowing where you are going can be so scary.
I lived in my home for 11 years. My kids were raised in that home. We had family gatherings, birthdays, nerf wars, pool parties, lots of first days of schools, lots of movie nights… Sophia learned to cook in that kitchen. Our amazing dog, Shiloh, is buried there. The thought of leaving all that was heartbreaking. How could I leave all those memories? Not to mention, where was I going to go. Do I rent? Do I buy? What can I afford with my salary. It became very real that I might have to move in with my parents. I love my parents so much, but at 43, and dating again, I really did not like that option. I needed and wanted my independence. I can’t tell you how much I cried about not knowing what was next for me.
I realized the only option for me was to buy. I couldn’t afford rent in Loudoun County. I also knew I no longer wanted to live in the same town. Quite frankly, it was too small and I really had no friends keeping me there. Everyone was too busy with their lives and I certainly didn’t belong in any group.
So, the house hunting began. It’s very difficult to not just jump at the first place you see, due to sheer panic. But, with a lot of help from my mom, I had the patience to wait for the perfect home.
But this isn’t about my perfect home and loving where I am now. It’s about realizing that sometimes, we feel like we have everything under control, only to find another hurdle in our path. A big hurdle. It’s the idea that when you get divorced, if you have children or something else that keeps you connected with your ex, you will always be going through the divorce. Things happen that can knock the wind right out of you. Things you were never expecting. I still continue to have the wind knocked out of me, but I have learned that I am in control of how much power I give someone. And I am done giving someone else power over me. Not in a way that brings me down.
A couple of years ago, when my ex knocked the wind out of me, I couldn’t breathe for days. I would get so down. Now, when the wind gets knocked out of me, I step back and wonder why this person still has power over me. This is someone who I would never choose to be friends with, if given a chance. I can be nice, and get along very well, and I will mean it. But, I really don’t care what he feels about me, so there is no reason I cannot hold strong to my boundaries. So, that’s what I do. I stick with my values, with my boundaries. If my kids get mad, it’s okay. Some day they will understand where I am coming from. If their dad gets mad…well, I really don’t care.
No matter how long you have been divorced, if you have children, the ex will always be in your life. Figure out what you are willing to compromise and what you are not. For me, I have learned that sticking to our Property Settlement Agreement is a much better way to handle things, because it’s binding and easier to set my boundaries that way. Know what works for you and stick with it. Don’t let someone rule your life and your emotions, even if you can’t get them out of your life for a long time.