When I was considering getting a divorce, I had an endless list of arguments against this decision. I was in a new country, and it was terrifying to be alone in a very strange new reality. Financially, it would be ruinous. I had grown up in a relationship with this guy (I was 16 when we met) and I had no identity outside of our relationship. I’d learned to think of myself in terms of “we” and the idea of becoming simply an “I” was terrifying. I felt ashamed of becoming a divorcee at the age of 22. Emotionally, I knew that it would be devastating.
There was, however, one very strong argument in favor of getting divorced. Every person deserves to be in a relationship where they feel joyously, ecstatically, overpoweringly happy, I thought. You never know whether you will find that relationship after you get divorced, of course. But at the very least, we all deserve the right, the chance and the freedom to look for it.
Life without love or the possibility of looking for love is a sad life, indeed.
So I got divorced and it was even more painful, ruinous, traumatic and devastating than I’d thought. If you haven’t been through a divorce, then you are not likely to understand how difficult it is. Even if the relationship was completely dead, even if you couldn’t wait to be out of it, even if it was 100% your choice to get divorced, even if there are no children involved, a divorce is always tragic.
I never regretted it, however. Even at the lowest points when it seemed that I was scarred for life and would never get over it, I felt extremely grateful to myself for having found the strength and the courage to leave. As painful as a divorce is, it is always better than the realization that you are doomed to spend the rest of your life – your one and only life! – in a relationship that brings you no joy.