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You always imagine that once love becomes a focal point in your life, you tend to believe that in the end everything will be just fine and will work out as planned. You've found your soul mate—the love of your life, you are happy and you feel like you are walking in air and when you look at the world everything becomes surreal. You start to enter the ritual of being in love, having sex, getting married, and for some—having children. These pivotal events become life changing moments that shape you and the relationship you are in. But what happens to you when the unenviable happens? An unexpected event occurs in the marital relationship that changes the definition of love. This event as we know it is called divorce.
Divorce can be defined as the end of a marriage. There are many reasons as to why a divorce happens: infidelity, irreconcilable differences, finances, stress, or personal changes. It's a formalized breakup with a judiciary process behind it.
When a divorce is in the midst of your marriage, you begin to go through various stages. Your thought process becomes overloaded and everything around you feels like it is slowly falling apart.
The first stage you encounter is denial—the action of declaring something to be untrue. When I was in this stage, I can recall that everything around me seemed unreal. I felt I was living in a nightmarish dream sequence that kept repeating day after day. At the time, I was in denial. I couldn't believe what my ex was telling me: she wanted to leave me. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare but I couldn't. I felt traumatized.
The second stage is grievance—a real or imagined wrong or other cause for complaint or protest of unfair treatment. While I was in denial, I started moving into the grievance stage. I felt that this was wrong. I kept thinking to myself: why is this happening to a person like me? I felt that it was unfair. Why me? I tried to suppress it and deal with what was happening to me and my marriage. But I kept on pushing through mentally with what was happening to me. I tried to save my marriage because I felt it was the only way to correct things and make things right.
The third stage is emotion—a nature instinctive state of mind deriving from one's own circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. When I first found out my ex wanted to end our marriage, it felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. There were times where I would be angry and then there were times where I would be sad. While at work, I would be listening to songs from a playlist that would remind me of a past that was fading away as I would silently cry within. I recall one night when my childhood best friends decided to take me out to a local bar for support therapy. It was their gratuitous way of supporting me through this life event as some had gone through the same process. As I was drowning my sorrows with alcohol, I would suddenly forget about what was happening to me personally and get angry, then a few minutes later I would start crying in tears. I couldn't control my emotions.
The fourth stage is acceptance—the action of consenting or undertaking something that is offered. It took me a while to get to this stage. I went to see a therapist for advice because I realized that I could not do this on my own. I did not have the mental capacity to cope through this life changing event. I needed professional help. She recommend two books for me to read: Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself Power To Change The Way You Love and The Art of War. After reading both books, I suddenly realized and accepted that I could not hold onto something that was already out of reach. I knew that marriage was over and I needed to accept it. I started the process of divorce with my lawyer. Within a few months, it was over. There was a means to an end. Once the divorce was finalized, I asked myself—what happens next?
The final stage you reach is adjustment—a small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, achievement, or result. I started to adjust with life. It wasn't easy but I was able to achieve personal goals I set for myself. I moved forward with my life. I started to live for every moment that was happening to me. I am happy and I have no regrets. I've looked back and I have learned a lot about myself of who I was and who I have become. I realize that there is a life after a divorce—all you have to do is adjust your life to what makes you happy. It's that simple.