real life

'People will be awkward around you.' I got divorced this week. This is what I want you to know.

Divorce isn’t a dirty word. Whenever you mention that you are separated or divorced, it makes people feel uncomfortable. The first thing that most people say is, “Sorry to hear that”. But a lot of the time there’s nothing to be sorry for. 

There are obviously varying reasons as to why couples separate and divorce. For some it is a positive thing and for others it’s very painful. But sorry shouldn’t be the first word that comes out of people’s mouths. 

Something like, “That must be really hard to be navigating” is much better to say. Not only is it empathetic and kind but it is also non judgemental, especially if you don’t know the reason for the separation. 

Watch: Divorce Advice For Women. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia

There is so much shame associated with getting divorced. With “breaking up the family”. Why? I’ve asked myself this a lot. Ultimately, I think it’s outdated societal views and family expectations. 

I read somewhere that the length of a relationship doesn’t determine its success. Yet somehow, the duration of anything seems to equate to success. This is something we are told and taught. Most milestones we celebrate are associated with duration. Birthdays, anniversaries, retirement. So, no wonder we feel shame when our marriage didn’t “make the distance”. 


So what if it didn’t last the lifetime everyone else expected it to? It lasted the length it did because that was the maximum amount it could take, and that’s all there is to it. And the phrase “breaking up the family” is so outdated. 

Glennon Doyle wrote in her book 'Untamed'; “I burned the memo insisting that the way a family avoids brokenness is to keep its structure by any means necessary. I noticed families clinging to their original structures that seemed very broken, indeed. I noticed other families whose structures had evolved and were healthy and vibrant. 

"I decided that a family’s wholeness or brokenness has little to do with its structure. A broken family is a family in which any member must break herself into pieces to fit in. A whole family is any family -- regardless of structure -- in which each member can bring her full self to the table knowing that she will always be both held and free.” 

THIS is the philosophy that society should be embracing. No shame in sight. 

Divorce is a lonely road. A lot lonelier than I had anticipated. Everyone gets varying degrees of support. The more genuine support you get, the less lonely you feel, but even so, there is a loneliness that no one else understands unless they’ve walked the path themselves. 


There are people that start feeling awkward around you. Friends who you used to do 'couples' activities with who will slowly disappear from your life. 

Some husbands start thinking that if their wife hangs out with you, you’ll convince their wife to leave them. When you go out, some women stay clear of you and make sure their husbands do too. You’re now viewed as the anomaly. 

You don’t fit in the box anymore, and some people honestly don’t know where you fit when it comes to 'societal norms'. 

Image: Supplied


I really wish we could view break ups, separations and divorces as healthy things. Something to celebrate if the person you care about views it that way. And if not, still view it as a hard and brave thing to go through. 

Because ultimately if a separation has occurred, something wasn’t working. Something wasn’t healthy. And it’s rare that someone regrets the separation after some time has passed and perspective reigns. 

There will be so many feelings for you to process: loneliness, grief, anger, betrayal, sadness, regret. 

And, if you have kids, you will be doing that while trying to keep things 'normal' for them' and helping them work through their own emotions. 

Then, there is the financial side of things. Figuring out how much you are worth as a couple. And if things aren't amicable, there are bound to be arguments about money. 

It really is a lot for one person to shoulder on their own. 

While there will be days when you don't feel like getting out of bed, your heart and soul hurting, there will also be times when you are in awe of how far you have come. 


What you have achieved all on your own. Moments when you can’t help but say out loud to yourself: “I am so f*cking proud of you”. 

Because you will get stronger, learn to manage your day, and put the right boundaries in place. 

You will make your own peace a priority over everything else. You will be a new version of yourself, one you never thought could ever exist. 

Listen to No Filter, Nobody plans to be divorced before they turn 30. But that’s exactly where Charlotte Ree found herself after the breakdown of the relationship that had consumed her whole adult life. Post continues below.

So what should you know about divorce? It’s the bloody hardest time of your life. You will doubt, you will question, you will break over and over again and you will feel emotionally and mentally exhausted to your core. 

But I promise, you will find freedom, peace, happiness and a vast array of possibilities. And that is what makes it all worthwhile. 

Feature Image: Supplied

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