I never felt shame for being happy about my divorce

M. Brown

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**This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

There is such a thing as grieving for a relationship. Whether it’s the end of a long-term relationship or even a short-term relationship that was very meaningful during its time, there’s usually a period of time for mourning what could have been, what would have been, or what we think should have been.

If you’ve experienced a bad break-up, generally your friends and/or family will try to support you, console you, and help you through that end-of-a-relationship grieving process.

But what about divorce? What about the gut-wrenching process of both mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially extracting yourself from a legally binding commitment to someone?

Moreover — what if you’re happy about that divorce? What if you’re absolutely ecstatic to get out of your marriage? What if you feel like it’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

Do you still have to grieve for this marriage you’re ready to leap out of with the abandon of a 3-year-old jumping into a ball pit?

The answer I’m going to give you is a firm NO.

No, you don’t need to be melancholy over something that benefits you and/or brings you relief. No, you don’t need to remain crestfallen over something that was hurting your spirit day after day.

I have no doubt that if you’re already going through a divorce that you chose or if you have already finished those divorce proceedings, you’ve probably been dragged over the proverbial hot coals enough times as far as pain goes.

Anyone who’s been through a divorce — especially a bitter and embattled one — knows that it can feel like you’ve fought in a war. It’s excessively draining to the soul and to the psyche.

It’s not the kind of pain you should feel the need to drag out for years and certainly not because you feel socially obligated to do so just because you’re divorcing.

I’ve written before about how making a mistake such as marrying someone who turned out to be phenomenally incompatible or just plain crummy as a partner doesn’t mean you need to stay in that marriage simply for the sake of it. You can get out. You don’t need to wallow in guilt, sadness, or regret for the rest of your life.

Yes, it’s unfortunate and often tragic if you’re the one who wants a divorce and perhaps your partner doesn’t. YES. However, there are many situations, including abusive ones, where it’s imperative that a marriage ends before more abuse is potentially inflicted.

Of course, not ALL marriages that end in divorce are abusive. Sometimes partners just completely fall out of sync and out of love.

Relationships that aren’t functional or even useful to a person can become detrimental to our own mental and emotional wellbeing if we choose to stay in them just because we want to avoid a divorce.

The strange stigma about divorce that our society still holds close drives many couples into secrets, lies, and affairs just to find a way to escape from a marriage they’re not happy in or to hide from a partner they obviously don’t respect or love anymore.

Getting a divorce seems like the logical move if you don’t want to be married to someone anymore. However, we often make things much more complicated than they need to be — especially when we’re afraid of confronting our own lives because we don’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ or we’re terrified to be honest with our partners for fear of causing them pain.

The bottom line is that if you’re out there feeling rotten about your own divorce either because you feel you need to because of some societal expectation or even because of a personal expectation you’ve put on yourself — don’t waste any more time feeling that way.

Divorce can be a nasty business and, obviously, no one gets married just to get divorced. Divorce can leave you broken, broke, depressed, and disheartened.

However, it’s okay to be happy about it if a divorce brings you relief, excitement, or even joy.

It’s okay to move on in peace — or at least to feel like you won’t be judged for trying to do so.

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