Five Things to Expect in Your First Year After a Divorce

October 16, 2019

Tomorrow marks a year since my divorce was finalized. This year has, in all honesty, flown by. Today, I am going to share a sort of life update, but also offer some encouragement to anyone who may be in the same position. I understand that my situation is pretty unique, and most people don’t stay friends with their ex, especially if they don’t have children. However, we have always been a little different.

What changes happen during the year following a divorce? What can you expect a year after your divorce?

It may not hit you right away

It took months for it to hit me that I was officially divorced. For the first several months, it didn’t seem real. I stuck to my routine and didn’t really notice a change. Then, it hit me in waves. One week, I would just be sad, confused, and sort of disoriented, then I would be back to normal. Some days something would happen that would make me feel frustrated and even angry. Point being, everyone experiences the stages of grief differently, and it’s completely normal to experience them on your own terms, at your own pace, and with your own intensity.

Your friendships will change

This may seems obvious, but it’s still unexpected exactly what friends you don’t carry with you. I lost one of my very best friends as a result of the divorce (and I don’t mean Colton, because that’s a given). However, I have also grown closer to a few other friends the last year. Friendships are constantly evolving, and a life-changing event like divorce definitely affects them. Cherish the friends that stick it out with you and support you.

You will experience a lot of firsts

Obviously, the first year following a divorce is full of adjustments and change. It’s an entire “year of firsts.” Every holiday post-divorce is full of new traditions and feelings. Some notable low points include first holidays, my first birthday without my second family, first mother’s day only celebrating one mom, first anniversary (dating and wedding alone) alone, and even my first hospital stay. Not all of these firsts are sad, however. I moved in to my first place that was only mine and love it. I have experienced a lot of firsts with my boyfriend this year to balance it all out. Honestly, every day was a first of something as a divorced person in some small way, but all of those firsts are behind me now. I survived.

You will still be accepted

One of my biggest fears was that I was a failure. Divorce meant that I failed at marriage, and therefore people would assume I was a failure. There’s a lot of negativity that comes with being divorced. While I will never know what has been said behind my back, everyone has been incredibly supportive. I don’t feel like I have been under any kind of microscope or judged. While I still struggle with the feelings of failure from time-to-time (thanks Enneagram wing 3), I know that is a me thing, and on no one else.

You can “treat yo self”

Just to clarify, I was not in the sort of marriage where I felt oppressed and couldn’t buy or do what I wanted. However, when you share a home and finances with someone, you have to think about more than just yourself. Now, I don’t have to check in with anyone but myself when I make a crazy purchase, and there have been a few of them the last year. While, I miss being a DINK (Double Income, No Kids), I do appreciate and take advantage of not having to ask or consider anyone else when I spend money. This has helped me to not only reward myself at times, but to be more generous too.

Every divorce is different, and everyone experiences different things. I am so grateful I am still friends with my ex, and have been able to heal from the end of our marriage with the support of my friends and family. It hasn’t always been easy, and this has been a weird year for sure, but I am in a good place and happy.

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