Tag Archives: surviving divorce

How to Celebrate Your Divorce Anniversary

Written by: Karen Jerabek

cheers

It was a chilly Friday morning when I drove myself to the court house. My stomach was in knots and I was trembling on the inside. I thought I might throw up but I held it together as I walked through the metal detectors and onto the elevator. I made chit chat with a man that seemed even more nervous than I was. We both got off on the same floor and realized we were headed to the same court room…the one that handles divorces. He asked to sit next to me while we waited for the judge and it was a welcomed relief to have a new friend to go through this with me. I wore dark clothes, like I was dressed for a funeral. It’s how I felt. My marriage had long been dead and I was here to lay it to rest.

Ironically, it was four years ago to the day that I had my first date with my husband. And now, it’s gone full circle and I’m getting divorced from him. The proceedings only take a couple minutes from when my name is called. The paperwork is signed and stamped and I’m free to go. It’s a little anticlimactic after the pain and anguish it took me to come to the decision to get divorced in the first place. But, the bottom line is, “It’s finally over.”

I head down a couple flights of stairs and change my name. I walk back out of the courthouse, as Miss Karen Jerabek. I finally feel like myself again. I’ve shed the pain and disappointment and all the trauma that a divorce creates. I’m free of all of that. I can now move forward and I can create the life that I had always envisioned for myself. I have a second chance.

Several years later, here I am celebrating another divorce anniversary. I can’t help but marvel at the young woman I was on that first date with my now ex-husband, who was so full of life, love and excitement about a new relationship that was about to bloom. And then I wistfully think of the woman that clenched her teeth and filed for divorce. She went through hell and back and yet she still had hope that she could have a second chance. And now, here I am. I’m living that second chance and I’m happier with my life than I ever thought possible. My life isn’t perfect, far from it. But it’s filled with joy and love and contentment. Getting divorced was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Each year, I toast all three of us – the woman that had the courage to love, the woman that had the courage to get divorced and the woman that continues to have the courage to embrace this second chance with all it’s bumps and curves and unexpected delights. Cheers to us and cheers to all of you that are embarking on your second chance. Be grateful for this opportunity to reinvent your life and embrace all of the twists and turns that will make it fabulous.

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If you enjoyed reading this article, please click the link to join our sisterhood and then pop over to Amazon and sample a chapter of our book, Young, Divorced and Fabulous: Four Women Share their Journeys, their Friendship and their Sisterly Advice on Embracing Second Chances   http://bit.ly/YDFbook

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Marking the Divorce Box

Written by Karen Jerabek

 

Check_box

The day I started a new job, the first thing they had me do was sit down with a mountain of new hire paperwork I had to fill out. I was diligently going through it, printing my name, signing my name, writing the date over and over and over. Then I came to a piece that asked me for my marital status. I could check Single, Married, Divorced or Widowed. Why is it any of there business if I was married? Doesn’t it only matter if I’m currently married? I felt like my privacy was invaded and I was being branded as I checked off Divorced. That’s when I realized that there is a truly ugly segregation going on across America: The segregation of Singles!

I guess you’re only good enough to be considered single if you’ve never been married. If you are divorced or widowed, you have to continually be reminded of that painful experience every time you get a new job, new insurance or a new doctor.

I wonder what would happen if I refused to be segregated? What if i fought back against this division and checked single? If they found out that I had been divorced and didn’t disclose it, could I be fired for lying on my paperwork? Could I lose my insurance? What exactly are the consequences for rebelling against this form of segregation? Not wanting to take my chances with my income or my health, I dutifully got into the Divorced Line and checked the box indicating that I am divorced. My paperwork is probably being stamped with a Scarlet “D” as I type!

 

Stripped Naked – Redefining Yourself After a Divorce

Written by Karen Jerabek

legs on the beach

I had always dreamed of the white picket fence lifestyle. I thought I’d meet the right man in college or shortly thereafter and then we’d get married, buy a house, get a dog and then add a couple kids to the house. And my dream started off just fine. I met a great man when I was 24, we had a whirlwind romance and he asked me to marry him. I loved him and despite it being fast-paced, I thought as long as we had love, we could conquer anything together. Several of my friends who had been in relationships for varying lengths were also on the cusp of getting engaged and getting married. We were deliriously excited planning our happily ever afters.

 

What I never considered was the idea of divorce. That thought never factored into my dream. So, on our 2nd anniversary, when my husband came home to tell me our marriage was over, I felt like my life was over. And in fact it was. The life that I had planned, the life that I had dreamed, it was over, completely over. My identity was stripped naked and I was left wondering who I was and what kind of life I was going to have.

 

As often is the case, when you’re stripped naked, you’re left feeling completely vulnerable and overwhelmed. I fought the idea for a year and tried more strategies to save my marriage than I can count. But at the end of a year, I was exhausted and no closer to having my husband back. When I fully accepted that I was clinging to a dream that had long died away, I made a choice. I chose to embrace this new opportunity and all the scary, wonderfully delicious things it had to offer.

 

Moving into my own apartment with barely more than our two dogs; I left behind my husband, most of our stuff and walked deliberately and passionately toward a brand new beginning. I hadn’t focused on myself in years so I relished this time in my life where I could totally do whatever it was that I wanted to do, if I could only figure out what that was.

 

Luckily, I had made some online friends who had also been stripped naked and were going through their own divorces and self discovery so we were able to support and encourage each other. We actually decided to write a book together, Young, Divorced and Fabulous, about our experiences and how we created our new lives, so we could offer a light at the end of the tunnel for women going through a divorce. Even though it was a heartbreaking time of my life, it was also a great time of exploration. Sure it was scary, terrifying in fact, but it was also thrilling to answer to no one and to do whatever the hell I wanted. I found that I love to write, hike with my dogs, make fruit smoothies and spend more time with my mom. I found that I didn’t like the level of isolation I felt while married and I began to rebuild friendships and start new ones. One of my friends who was also divorcing, didn’t even know what kind of food she liked as she had only bought her husband’s favorite foods for years. She had a blast at the grocery store buying all kinds of new things. It was evident that the more our marriages had crumbled, the more we lost track of who we were. The road to self discovery wasn’t just in the couple months after our marriages ended, it still goes on today. Learning to take time for ourselves and to give ourselves the ability to grow was one of the most valuable lessons that came out of our divorces.

 

I would have to say that getting stripped naked has been one of the hardest but also the best things to ever happen to me. It let everything that wasn’t working in my life fall away and gave me a chance to create a life that actually fit me instead of one that I was trying to fit into. And, it showed me a side of myself I would have never known, and I really like the new me. So, if you feel like your life is upside down and you’re stripped naked, embrace it, run with it, throw your arms around it. Try new things, take a class, read a different type of book, make a new friend – all of these things will help you get back to the core of who you are. One day, you’ll look back at this time of self discovery as one of the best times of your life.

 

When Does the Pain of Divorce Stop?

Written by Karen Jerabek

flower in sidewalk crack

People going through divorce ask me all the time, when does the pain stop? My pain was so intense that I thought I could die but somehow didn’t. It seemed unrealistic to ever think of a time when I wouldn’t carry this pain with me. But, as the days and weeks and months went by, the pain lifted slowly, piece by piece. Then one day I realized, there was none left. It took me by surprise and the new found liberation was something I rejoiced. So, as I was thinking about how to answer this question, I came across this beautifully written piece by an unknown author that sums it up perfectly. I can’t tell you the specific how, why or when the pain stops, but I can tell you that it does. The pain does stop. And if you allow it, you will find happiness and joy again.

The Pain Stops: when you stop looking at the person you love as the person you love, and you begin to see them, not as a partner, a lover, or a best friend, but as a human being with the strengths and weaknesses and even the core of a child.

The Pain Stops: when you begin to accept that what you would do in a circumstance is not what they would do, and that no matter how much you try, they have to learn their own lessons, and they have to touch the stove when it’s hot, just as you did, to learn that it is much better when it is cold.

The Pain Stops: when your longing for them gets slowly replaced by a desire to get away, when making love to them no longer makes you feel cherished, when you find yourself tired of waiting for the moments where the good will truly outweigh the bad, and when at the end of the day you can’t count on their arms for comfort.

The Pain Stops: when you start to look inward and decide whether their presence is a gift or a curse, and whether when you need them, they cause more heartache than bliss.

The Pain Stops: when you realize that you deserve more than they offer and stop blaming them for being less than you wish. When the smile of a stranger seems more inviting and kind, and you remember what it’s like to feel beautiful, and you remember how long it has been since your lover whispered something in your ear that only the two of you would know.

The Pain Stops: when you forgive them for their faults and forgive yourself for staying so long. When you know that you tried harder than you ever tried before, and you know in your heart that love should not be so much work.

The Pain Stops: when you start to look in the mirror and like who you see, and know that leaving them or losing them is no reflection of your beauty or your worth.

The Pain Stops: when the promise of a new tomorrow is just enough to start replacing the emptiness in your heart, and you start dreaming again of who you used to be and who you will become.

The Pain Stops: when you say goodbye to what never really was, and accept that somewhere in the fog you may or may not have been loved back. And you promise yourself never again to lay in arms that don’t know how to cherish the kindness in your heart.

The Pain Stops: When you are ready

Writing and Editing Underway

We are in the process of writing and editing our book – Young, Divorced and Fabulous!  We couldn’t be more excited.  Check back for updates and to see what’s going on.  Anticipated Launch Date is the First Week of January 2014.