10 Ways that Divorce Has Improved My LIfe

I’m having a glum morning. Divorcing means losing my current health insurance, and although I can and will (and have to by their rules) switch to the University’s grad student insurance, it will cost more than $1000 to sign up…. which I just don’t have. And it’s, of course, not as comprehensive by a long shot. And I can’t afford to order my contact lenses… (seriously, screw LASIK. Everyone I know who’s had it has needed vision correction within 10 years, and my eye doc says those who have gotten LASIK pay his mortgage and Mercedes car payments. Feh.)

I know I’m in the company of many, many people who have been tossed from financial security to a precarious position by divorce, but it’s still hard for independent and proud me. So, in order to lift my mood, I’m going to list the things that kind of rock about having to go through a divorce:

1. I’m Getting Fit. I am the fittest I’ve been since high school. Thanks to my friend K, I did that 40 day yoga challenge, and it converted me to Baptiste Power Yoga (sad that I wasn’t into it when I lived in Cambridge or Philly at the same time as Baron Baptiste!) I love feeling myself get stronger. I love being able to do push-ups, and trying new poses that were previously beyond me. I even like the heated rooms at this point. I’m in Bucks County, PA for two weeks visiting my parents, and am missing my Houston studio, even though I’ve been doing yoga here too! Being single means I can go to yoga whenever the whim strikes, without compromising or apologizing or negotiating the car.

2. And Getting Over my Fear of Loneliness. When I moved to Japan, I suffered immensely because I’d never lived alone and was dealing with too many pressures at once. And when I first returned to Houston, I was terrified and depressed. I felt as though I was haunting my own house. I paced. I frantically made plans. I fell into a horrible black sadness every time there was a lull in my distractions. Mostly I used dating to avoid dealing with my own mind. But I’m learning to be okay with just hanging out alone (In the past I loved alone time, because I knew that eventually someone would come home and relieve me of my solitude.) Now if I can learn stillness…

3. Learning to cook. Living with a great cook for my entire adult life meant I never did learn how to cook much of anything. I’m enjoying dusting off all of the cookbooks I had pointlessly accumulated, and making the things I once wanted to try. I’m just -learning- how to enjoy the process and results. Nobody mocks my knife skills, nobody tells me I did anything wrong. I can just learn as I go. I know I don’t cut things correctly, but my food still tastes good to me.

4. Getting to budget. I do so much better with money when I can be a super control freak about it, and without some other reluctant party to mess it up and sabotage my efforts, I can save for the things I want that are more expensive (of course, with no income that’s trickier…) When I splurge on something, I know it’s okay for my budget and I don’t have to argue with anyone over it.

5. Getting to travel if I feel like traveling. If I can scrape together the money (yay frequent flyer miles!) and, so long as I can find a way to deal with the dogs, I’m free to go. Being married to someone who hates to travel was sad during my 20s. If we’d had a budget (see #4) we could have saved for trips… but we didn’t even take a honeymoon.

6. Juice Fast? Sure, why not?. I can randomly decide to do a 7-day cleansing fast if I want to, and nobody can say boo. I’m looking at you, January 7 (when my sister goes back to Philly from Houston). I’m going to try the Cleansing Diet that Baron Baptiste used on his 7-day Bootcamps. I’ll probably get all surly again. But they really do have an overall positive effect on me, and I didn’t expect them to, so I’m not sure the case is strong for a mere placebo effect.

7. Learning to be less useless. With nobody around to handle things like the smoke detector needing a battery change, or the paint chipping on my back doors, I’m just sort of learning to do them myself. I changed my own car oil the other day!

8. For the first time in my adult life, figuring out who I really am.  I defined myself in relation to another person for my entire adult life (19-35), and I am discovering I didn’t have much of a sense of my own strength, or even who I am apart from his opinion of me. So much of me was defined by the feedback I got from him, and not all of it was complementary. I’m also realizing that, because I was the submissive partner in the relationship, I deferred to J’s opinions on a lot of things- but I’m often right (too). Not always, but more than I thought I was.

9. Regaining my Sex Drive! Er, you might want to skip this, friends. But yeah, a dysfunctional relationship can really, really torpedo your sex drive, eh? I’m sure some people are able to sleep with a person towards whom they have years of accumulated hurt and pain and anger, but not I. And I’m enjoying feeling like a more healthy and vital person as a result of not having to wrestle with that emotional garbage constantly. I should qualify that the garbage is still there, but it has nothing to do with my current sex life. 

10. And…  Forcing me to Leave My House. When I am in a relationship, it’s just too easy for me to give in to my introverted instincts, to hide in my house with the other person. Thanks to being single, I’ve gone to (and participated in) The Moth, and Grownup Storytime. I’ve gone out for beers on weeknights, tried bars I hadn’t been to, etc. Forced to leave my house if I want human contact, my life is much more interesting now.


3 thoughts on “10 Ways that Divorce Has Improved My LIfe

  1. stilllearning2b

    Love, love, love. Those are all supremely awesome things! I hope you feel better focusing on what you have and how far you’ve come. You rock! Even if you can’t see:) (I’m with ya on that one!)

    1. matchaproblem Post author

      Some days it’s easier to focus on the gains I’ve made than the losses. Some days I can’t seem to keep from getting bogged down in the petty arguments. It’s a struggle, but I’ll find my way out of it.

      1. stilllearning2b

        I understand completely. In front of my computer, I have the following posted: motivation (why I keep trying, inc. successes), inspiration (quotes and goals) and recognition (tidbits of awesome things people have said to me). That board is my fuel and my reminder that, even when the moments suck, the bigger picture is much better. Hugs to you:)

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