You’ve seen that look in the eyes of people when you tell them you’re getting a divorce. They furrow the brow and look at the ground and turn up the sad face. It’s a sad thing, for sure. Most people aren’t thinking how divorce can be a good thing. They’re thinking how unfortunate, how tragic, how horrible. Let’s face it, society is not known for its wiggle room on anything. And it is extra rigid in its expectations that people find that one perfect person for them and spend the rest of their lives together. Anything less is often considered a failure.
But life is about change and change can be growth and how are you going to grow if you insist on looking at life through the same lens for decades upon decades. To be sure, marriage is a beginning — but it is also an end. Divorce can be the same. It is the end of something, but it is also the beginning of something else. Let’s take a step back and see how divorce can be a good thing.
Say Goodbye to the Social Obligation of Marriage
Why do you sit through years of school and get a boring job and trudge through IKEA to buy a couch? Society expects you to do certain things, and these rituals can be great as long as you’re into it and do it for good reasons. But as that wise dude Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s time to turn off the autopilot and ask yourself if the reason you do things is because you really believe in them and they bring you satisfaction, or just because it’s expected of you. Society has a whole list of shit you’re expected to do. To break out of that even just a little bit can be very liberating. Divorce can be a chance to step out of the dark cave of ignorance and into the light of what the fuck was I thinking? This is really a chance to unplug yourself from other people’s expectations and do something because you think it’s right. A lot of people will shame you or patronize you or try to talk you into sticking together. If you want that, cool. But divorce gives you a chance to go against society’s expectations and to unhitch yourself from society’s influence just a tad.
Your Parenting Style Will Thank You
Divorce due to different parenting styles is on the rise. Some parents are more strict and others more lenient. Culture, religion, worldview can also be sources of conflict. However, when you’re divorced and you co-parent, you can actually have a greater degree of freedom to raise your child in the way you see fit. If you think they should be able to watch less TV or that they should be vegetarian or that they should be able to curse if they want, you don’t have to consult anyone else or haggle as much. To be sure, you’ll still have to compromise and cooperate with your ex. But certain things will just be a whole lot easier.
You Will Have More Time
If you’ve got kids, one of the most demanding things is not necessarily toys or cleaning up messes– it’s time. Parenting takes a whole lot of time and attention. Sometimes it can turn you into a zombie. If you co-parent, however, you will likely have some sort of 50-50 custody arrangement, which means you’ll have plenty of time to recuperate and reflect on your parenting wins and losses. You’ll also have more time for you, which can make you less stressed, more fulfilled, and a better you. A better you for your child or a significant other. Cut in half all of the obligatory nonsense you must sit through. Say hello to time better spent and a life more efficiently lived. It’s a win-win.
You Will Appreciate Everything More
If you’re divorced, you no doubt felt that you were not appreciated. Divorce can be a good thing when you realize that you don’t have time for anyone that is not going to appreciate you. You see it in memes all the time. Don’t waste your time on people that don’t appreciate you. But if a marriage has you trapped by someone like that, then tough shit, right? Wrong. Here’s a chance to break free and start appreciating and being appreciated. If you have kids, the time spent away from them will make you appreciate them all the more. You’ll also start to see that life is short and your time with loved ones is finite. Seize every moment as a golden opportunity. You will begin to savor the time you spend with people that matter to you. Divorce can be a good thing when you start to appreciate all the things you didn’t before.
What Doesn’t Destroy You Makes You Stronger
So many people have a dozen fears in the back of their minds that they’re not even aware of. We often live tiny unconscious lives, navigating the labyrinth of life by asking only one question. How can I avoid pain and discomfort? But many people know that when some shit has happened, and then you get through it, you feel an undeniable strength and confidence. What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger, and divorce is one of those things that can kill your hopes and dreams. But rise from the ashes like the Phoenix and you will become a whole new you. What is the alternative? Stay the same you for the rest of your life? If that appeals to you, have at it. But know this: beating life’s challenges makes you a better person.
You Get a Do-Over
Almost everything in life comes with a do-over. You can change careers, change houses and change your clothes. If there is one easily observable fact about the nature of life it is that nothing is forever. Everything changes. And yet, for some reason we are not supposed to change our life partner. With divorce, you get a second chance. If you’ve been married for five or ten or twenty years, you’ve probably changed. Everything around you has changed. Your friends, the economy, your house and your job have likely changed. You get a second chance at everything. Marriage is no different. Here is your chance to choose again, but this time, the person you are NOW is the one making the choice — not the one you were fifteen years ago. Who does the current me want to marry? Or does the current me even want to marry? The choice is yours to make.
The Pursuit of the New
Nothing will ignite your passion in life more than seeking after something you don’t have. Some may see this as something immature and foolish people do. But that is the nature of life. Progress comes from seeking and chasing something new. That new job, that new man or woman, that new hobby. If you’re not busy living then you’re busy dying. And there’s no better way to die than to settle for finality. Many people are not living, they’re waiting to die. And they’re not actively looking for anything new. But if you’ve still got that fire inside you and you’re still alive, then go for it. As long as you’re alive, nothing is ever final, so why live your life that way? Go ahead. Chase after that next rainbow. Who knows, you might catch is this time.
You Will Learn to Risk and Live Again
Marriage provides a safe and nurturing environment for people to grow and change. But it can also be too safe. To be sure, there are all kinds of challenges that a marriage present you with. But divorce is a whole other animal. When you have the ground yanked out from beneath you, you are forced to take risks. Divorce can be a good thing when you use it to deal with your insecurities, take new risks, and step out of your comfort zone. Let’s face it — in many ways, marriage can be a nice big fluffy comfort zone. Step out of that shit and watch yourself grow. A life of comfort and ease is not going to make you a better person. Risk and discomfort are just what some people need.
The Opportunity to Fall in Love With Yourself
The one person that will always be there is yourself. If you’re going to commit to anyone forever that is the obvious pairing. You and yourself. You can marry this person or marry that person, but the person you need to love and receive love from is yourself. This is an inescapable fact. Some people even go so far as to marry themselves. This may not be for you, but you now have the opportunity to stop avoiding the one relationship that matters most and affects all others — your relationship with yourself.