I’m currently settling into life as a single person with a new home in a new city. I am also looking to make some new friends. Thanks to the internet, it’s now fairly easy to connect with people who have similar interests and also live nearby.
After doing a bit of research, I joined a few walking, writing and social groups that, hopefully, will encourage me to get out of the house and away from my computer screen.
Recently, I went to one group that was hosting a social mixer of about 40 men and women. There was wine and good food. People were friendly and we all had one thing in common: We were ending or had ended a marriage. Since I’ve been divorced about three years, I was sure I’d fit right in.
As I moved around the room to chat, everyone's first question was “Are you separated or divorced?”
After a few minutes, I grasped that divorce was not just a topic for conversation at the mixer. It was the only topic. Everyone had a fresh divorce story, and they felt the burning need to share it. They talked about their former partners – sometimes with laughter, but more often with anger, bitterness and tears. Always, their stories were tinged with sadness.
Less than halfway into the event, I realized this social group was more like divorce therapy. Not a good match for me at this point.
You see, while I am divorced woman, I am not in the midst of a divorce and that makes a big difference. That terrible chapter of my life is thankfully behind me.
It’s not that I never think about being divorced. It comes up frequently in conversation or when I check off that little square box on medical forms. I’m reminded of my marital status when I look at certain family pictures or make plans for holidays. However, divorce no longer consumes my life. My 21-year marriage will always be a part of me, but it no longer defines me.
I have moved on.
Moving on is a funny thing. You can’t will it or move it faster. It has a path and a pace of its own, and everyone’s journey on that path is different.
For me, moving on took several years. It evolved slowly but with the passage of time came the healing of wounds. I learned it was a process of forgiveness, acceptance and finally a willingness to let go and push forward.
I didn’t realize how much I had moved on until I attended this event and was surrounded by others who had not.
On that rainy evening, it was apparent that divorce is no longer center stage in my life. I will always be a divorced woman. But now it is a part of my history, not my present.