Even though my marriage had been troubled for years, finding out that my husband was leaving me for another woman remains one of the most shocking and devastating moments of my life. In a single instant I was thrust into a world of the unknown. For months I was emotionally distraught, enduring mood swings that took me to hell and back countless times throughout a given day. Not only was my present and future uncertain, but I also began second-guessing my past, questioning whether my 24-year relationship (16 of which I had spent married) was a lie.
I was lucky to have had (and still have) a tight network of close family and friends who helped guide me through this difficult period, people who offered me comfort, advice, and a shoulder to cry on when I needed one the most. Whether it was insight about marriage or life after divorce, their wisdom was given both honestly and lovingly.
That being said, I could only absorb so much. Merely listening to others proved inadequate for helping me truly appreciate the value of their words. Even though some of those who counseled me were far more familiar than I was with the circumstances and ramifications of my situation, and were both generous and caring in their often unsolicited but sage advice, before I could fully embrace their well-intended messages I had to first find my own way. Here are seven lessons about divorce I needed to learn on my own before moving on.