Long time, no write. I know. What you don’t know is that I have been writing, but just not publishing. I’ve had to be selective for my own purposes.
We have filed two divorce orders into our household admin system, as of today. Life has been a strange twist of circumstances, but I think it’s time I wrote this. People find it uncomfortable that I’ll talk about divorce, but hey, a whole bunch of you are/have/will go through it, and I am gonna talk about it. Some advice and guidance if you are going through this:
1. Keep a record of everything. Every email, text, fart, whatever.
2. Keep a journal, for yourself. You have feelings, process them.
3. Understand that the legalities are clinical, and do not care for your feelings. It may feel good in the moment to scream like a banshee, but it will not serve you, ever.
4. Understand that, if it gets nasty, you will have to apply the 2-asshole rule: If 1 person’s being an asshole, you don’t get to be one. Big tip: Not being an asshole is actually easier on you. Bigger tip: Keeping your grace is way easier on you too. People will mistake it for kindness and weakness. Let them.
5. The admin of it is horrible. Understand your intention in doing it, then do it. I paid for and did everything for my divorce myself, making it very easy on, the other party. I did not make it easy on them because I wanted to, or, as I was told “I owed it to them” to. I made it easy because I did not want my kid to live through some protracted and unnecessary crap. Big tip: the process of making it easy started long before we got married. Yes, you need an antenuptial contract. And, if you are not comfortable enough to contemplate and discuss the intricacies of one with your future spouse, or they are disinterested in doing so: do not marry them.
6. Celebrate every step in the legal process, because it is far longer than you want it to be, or would imagine it to be.
7. You cannot get through the rigours of this without taking care of yourself. Yes, even when you are being told that you don’t deserve to. It is like taking on an additional job that you need to care for. Care for it, but understand that it will be over.
8. Ask for help. This is weird for me, because I suck at this part, but I did end up asking for help. And every bit of it was life-changing.
9. You will not believe the things that get said about you, your ex, and anyone connected to you. Understand that none of them can hurt you unless you let them. I have let some of them hurt me, because I have learnt from them. Most of all, I learnt exactly who really was on the bus I mention below. You’d be surprised if I told you. Very few people who I expected to, made it onto that bus. Way many more unexpected people got on to that bus and drove it for me when I could not. Those people have been lights, and continue to be, long after the manic noise has faded.
10. You will discover extreme toxicity in your life. Cut it out, without fear. I do not miss a second of the things I had clung on to, thinking it was the ‘right’ thing to do. The second you spot something toxic, cut it out. You do not have to tolerate anything that does not serve you (this is a rule for life).
11. This is your divorce, and it was your marriage. You do not need to explain it to anyone, unless they’re actually listed in the legal papers. Anyone who demands to know, is there for their own curiosity and intent. They are not there for you. People either get on the bus for it, or they do not. You do not have to explain the bus ticket to them. They will, very quickly, get on the bus, or not. See point 10 for people who don’t get on the bus, no matter who they are.
12. Move on with your life, unapologetically and with purpose. Figure out yourself as you are, beyond this. This isn’t an ending. You are just coming home to yourself.
6 thoughts on “Twelve Notes From Underneath The Divorce Table.”
Beautiful advice backed up by copious amounts of experience. Well done Cath. Well flipping done.
Couldn’t have done it without you, Preston. Your guidance and grace has been a rock, and always will be. Lucky me.
I wish I had been able to read some of these tips before I went through my divorce, and again before I went through the horrible breakdown in the relationship between myself and the father of my child.
On reflection though, I have ended up doing much of what you advise anyway, but I had to get to that the long hard way… It would have been easier had I any inkling that I was not completely alone in the world in these things.
Well done for all you have shared.
Grace is always the best approach, but it isn’t always easy to choose and even harder to maintain.
Kindness is a good rule to follow.
I am still struggling with the strength to cut out the toxic though. Perhaps I still have a way to go yet. Each day is a step.
Thanks for being you.
I’ve only seen the snippets of it on Facebook and I won’t wade into pithy comments or stupid advice when I have no experience of this. All I can say is that finding grace in the middle of the grit is the part that keeps you moving forward. I am so grateful to know you’ve kept walking and there has been enough grace to keep you whole. I know it has shredded many friends and I’ve seen tattered people walk the road before you, but I am glad to see that you’ve kept YOU intact. That you’re still Cath. You’ve still got fire in your soul and steadiness in your walk. I pray that these next few curves on the road keep on ambushing you with every kind of kindness and hope. Keep walking, friendship. I’m cheering you on from the other side of the country xx