During the last few months I have been making a lot of changes in my life as previously mentioned in part 1 of this series.
Next up is changes and renovations after divorce.
Divorce is a hard time in for anyone that has been through it or is currently going through the process. It can be stressful, emotional and then if there are kids involved, assets, debt and/or pets it can get even uglier.
I was fortunate enough to have a relatively okay divorce compared to other people that I know. I was able to keep the house that I built from the ground up. That was the most important thing to me because I wanted my daughter to not be uprooted and moved to a place that she didn’t know. The divorce was already weighing on her little mind although she couldn’t verbalize it. All she knew is that one day daddy was here and the next day he wasn’t and he never came back home.
3 years after my divorce I have learned a lot about myself and how to handle many situations and have come to terms with the fact that hurt and pain and certain other emotions don’t go away overnight, just because you signed on the dotted line.
Below are some suggestions that I want to share about how to overcome certain challenges of divorce. Some are quick, but others will need to be done when you are ready. Everyone is different and therefore must move at their own pace and do what feels right when they are ready.
1. Pictures – this was actually the first thing that I did as it was the easiest to do for me. I actually came home after signing the paperwork and took down are wedding pictures, engagement pictures any other pictures that the 2 of us were in together.
a. Reason: Reason is that pictures are memories and they are constant reminder of how things “use to be.” Pictures are a constant reminder of hurt that was caused by the divorce and they also keep emotions raw. Everytime you look at a picture of you and ex feelings of anger, resentment, hurt, etc., will continue to fester.
b. Result: I put the pictures in a box and sealed them for my daughter when she gets older. If she wants them then she can have them and if not then at that time I will throw them away. We are both her parents and I want her to have the option to keep those pictures. My parents are divorced and I have their wedding picture framed in my house and it doesn’t bother either one in the least, but it was my choice to take the picture, they didn’t make the choice for me.
2. Clothing – that was another first on the list for me.
a. Reason – what is the point in keeping your ex’s clothing. The responsible thing to do is give them the option to come and get whatever they may have left behind. Any remaining items do not keep them.
You may love a certain pair of sweatpants or sweatshirt of your ex’s because it was comfortable and cozy, but keeping those items are only a constant reminder and will slow down the process of getting past the divorce. Every time you put on that sweatshirt, you may become emotional or cry or think about things in the past. It will make it hard to move forward.
b. Result – Donate those unwanted to clothes. Not only are you getting rid of it, but you are helping someone else in need. Also it is a tax write off for you which is beneficial. If you love your ex’s sweatshirt, sweatpants, etc., go out and by your own this way you can still be comfortable, cozy minus the reminder that it once belonged to your ex.
3. Wedding Dress – This will be difficult for most women. It took me 3 years before I determined what I wanted to do with my wedding dress.
a. Reason – As women the most important part of our Wedding is our dress. We spend countless hours, researching designers, styles, trends and fittings to find the perfect dress for our perfect day. In addition, some of us spent thousands of dollars on our wedding dress or thinking that one day we may have a daughter to pass on our dress to and allow them to change it to make it what they want, use the fabric or simply wear the dress as is.
b. Result – I cut my dress up in pieces and threw it away. I thought long and hard about keeping it for my daughter, but then realize that there was nothing about my marriage that I really wanted to hold on to.
It was stressful from the beginning and since she was so young when I got divorced she barely remembers that her father and I were together. I want her to be her own person, get her own dress. I don’t want to see her walking down the in my dress because I think that it will bring up some unnecessary emotions and therefore don’t want to be reminded of it years down the road.
4. Painting – Within the first year, I painted the kitchen and the hallway. I chose a bright yellow for the kitchen and a shade lighter for the hallway. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and walking down the hallway and I wanted something was bright and would be make me smile. It was a great change and it was very therapeutic to paint and change my surroundings.
a. Reason: it changes the landscape of your home from what you remember to what something new and refreshing. It signifies change of the life you use to know to the life that you are now living and helps with the healing process.
b. Result: Within the last 2 months, I repainted by bedroom to a deep purple, because I wanted it to be a special place – a different place now that I am living with my boyfriend. I wanted him to feel comfortable as well.
During that time I also repainted my daughters room pink trim and green with cute Dora accents. Whenever I would go in her room I would always be reminded of when my ex and I painted her room and prepared it once we found out I was pregnant. Now it represents our lives as we know it today as she is growing up and the room is not a constant reminder for me as the life I once lived.
Overall, the changes and renovations that I have made over the last couple of months and throughout the 3 years of my divorce have truly helped in the healing process. Somethings took a little more time to deal with, but the end result is that I am building a new home and life. I feel proud of my accomplishments because I did a lot of it on my own.
My boyfriend (who is also divorced) has been very helpful and supportive of all the changes. He now feels like the both of us are really moving forward and building a life together. We are bridging the gap of our divorces and blending our families.
Now when I come home, I don’t feel as stressed out, I am more relaxed. I have to say that during this process I realized that I never had a home with my ex-husband, just a house. Now I am making it a home and it is very exciting and provides contentment that I have never experienced before.