No matter how amicable or conscious your uncoupling may be, parting ways from your spouse is, more often than not, a devastatingly painful life experience. Every avenue of your life is challenged: romance, finances, real estate, time with your children, the future.
But divorce is not all hell. In fact, there are plenty of actually
amazing things that happen when you get divorced — many of which are explored by Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Frances Dufresne, in HBO’s hit show . Divorce
Ahead of the show’s second season, debuting Sunday, January 14 at 10 p.m. EST, we’re taking a look at five upsides to a marriage ending.
You’ll be a hell of a lot happier.
No matter what pain points existed in your marriage, divorce can be the point of relief — or at least kickstart the process of healing.
But the real happiness after divorce is not usually about what you leave but what you find: strength you did not know you had. Skills you had no idea you could develop. Passions that were hidden, forgotten, or yet to be discovered.
Without a spouse, you’re often forced to take on new and different responsibilities, to try new things — whether that’s signing up for a cooking class you’ve always wanted to take or learning how to fix your washing machine. As Corinne, a 37-year-old divorcee from Seattle, says, “Self-reliance has forced a spiritual growth that was not possible for me without divorce.”
You’ll have more freedom and control.
One of the greatest gifts of divorce is gaining more control over your daily life, your future, and your time. Your home is now
your home — free from anxiety around when the next screaming match will erupt, free from someone else’s hair in the drain, free from bad vibes blanketing the entire space. You want to binge a TV show? Go on your dream vacation? Decorate the house as Pinterest-y as your heart desires? Go for it — it’s all you!
You’ll have a brand-new (and potentially better) sex life.
As with all parts of your post-divorce life, you’ll get a fresh start with sex and dating. You’re now free to have whatever sex life you want, with whomever you want — including people that have never seen you naked before!
That doesn’t mean it won’t take time to get there, though. And that’s completely fine. When I became a single mom in my early 30s, it took me about 18 months to get back in the saddle. It had been a couple of years since I’d had sex and a decade since I’d been on a first date (not to mention, the last time I had slept with someone new, I’d been in my 20s). I was so shut down sexually, so encompassed in the logistical and emotional horrors of divorce and the intensity of parenting solo, that I had forgotten what it was like to be held by someone else.
But this time around, I was older, I was a mother — with a new appreciation for the power of my body and far fewer hang-ups and agendas when it comes to sex. This, for the first time of my life, was sex for sex’s sake. And it was incredible. Other divorced women I’ve spoken to have echoed this sentiment, saying that post-divorce sex is some of the best of their entire lives.
You’ll gain a new sense of confidence.
Divorce may have a negative effect on your self-esteem, but it doesn’t have to destroy it. In fact, starting over after a divorce can actually bring you a new level of confidence you never knew you had. Practicing self-care and setting new goals will help you feel excited about yourself and your future.
The good stuff will keep on giving.
Divorce is a season. A shitty, painful season that, if you nurture it, blooms into a beautiful new era that will reveal itself throughout the rest of your life. A family attorney once told me, “A good divorce takes time to work through.” The same is true for post-divorce personal growth. Give yourself time. The good news? When you eventually get there, you have a continuous stream of positives to look forward to.
Sarah, a 42-year-old divorced teacher living in Chicago, says, “I have never felt so fulfilled or satisfied in my life. I’m doing amazing stuff I couldn’t even picture when I was married. I’m traveling internationally with my daughter, politically active, and connecting with old and new friends in a way I never did when I was married.”
Emma Johnson is the author of the newly released The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children (Penguin Random House).
Divorce premieres January 14 at 10/9c on HBO. Press play to watch the trailer. HBO.
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