Lisa Arends, a wellness coach and contributor to Huffington Post, describes her experience with living as a divorcee and as an engaged woman, simultaneously. Being in limbo between the past and present makes her feel that her identity is a little hazed. While being divorced from her ex-husband helped mold her into who she is today, there is so much more to her that will bloom after she is married to her new fiancée. She reflects on this difficult situation to bring light to how divorce affected her journey to the aisle, for a second time.
Divorce played a negative role in Arends life. Not only was she forced to deal with the confusion of her husband’s infidelity and desertion of their marriage, but the effect of her divorce caused her long-term trust issues. It wasn’t until some reflective months that she refused to live in the “shadow of divorce” and look forward to love again. She notes that she enjoyed her marriage very much; it was easy, seamless, and naïve. It was the divorce that caused her agony. Since she was able to separate the two (divorce and marriage), she decided that she wanted to be in a committed relationship and share her life with someone again. Before she could start a new romance, she needed to focus on herself.
Self-reflection is great practice for re-identifying yourself. After so many years of living as a couple, you start to realize that you’ve lost a little of yourself and made room for your spouse instead. After a divorce is the hardest part because you have been identifying yourself as part of a whole, and you need to reevaluate what makes you whole without your partner. For Arends, she focused completely on herself and she didn’t even realize that a new romance would develop on its own.
This new romance allowed Arends to take precautions she ignored during her first marriage. By slowing the relationship down with a new flame, it gave both him and her time to adjust to this serious commitment. While it gave her more time to rebuild her trust, it also gave him some time to realize what it meant to be in a committed relationship. Their steady approach to marriage allowed Arends to realize she did want to marry him. She wanted to be vulnerable enough to trust him and herself together.
It is more difficult to love for a second time because you anticipate all the pain and abandonment that come with such a vulnerable state of mind. However, Arends notes that it is easier to get back into love because she knows she can survive an emotional divorce. She focuses on the knowledge you gain from your past relationship as a catalyst to a better future. Being in the “intersection between divorced and engaged” is an uncomfortable situation, but know that this limbo only allows you to uncover how much stronger you are and closer to a happy marriage you always wanted.