The most difficult, painful and distressing experience of my life was the breakdown of my first marriage. It was both the most terrible and the most powerful rite of passage I’ve traversed, and I have been ruminating for nearly three years on how to write about this time in a way that will be most valuable. Having gone through this process, I have learned many useful things I am itching to share; about money and the legal system, about abusive relationships, about mental health and about the wonderful rebirth of self.
I am unsure where the boundaries of sharing my experience will lie, and as I’ve been invited to talk about the experience on a podcast in early 2022 I thought I should get to work exploring them. My gameplan is to produce a sequence of valuable stories that will really present divorce in its entirety; from leaving / being left to divorce and financial settlement. What I’ve discovered from speaking with others is that although we might feel our experience during the distress of divorce is unique and individual, the reality is that it is path well-worn. The next step of the bloke on the other side is as predictable as sunrise and sunset much of the time, which is simultaneously deeply saddening and somewhat comforting. You are not alone on this road out. It’s important to acknowledge that I am writing this from a female CIS-gendered, straight perspective for female and female-identifying people of all persuasions. This is above all a feminist project that focuses on supporting women to leave bad relationships safely.
The pieces I’ve planned to write for you are:
The First Two Weeks: What Happens When You Leave A Marriage
A Year of Separation: What To Expect, How To Move Forward
Protecting Your Position: Separation and Finance for Entrepreneurs and Others
Appointing Your Divorce Support Team
These are the topics I’d like to share with you; my goal is to educate women about the process (both emotional and legal) of separation and divorce. I think this journey is by-and-large not documented in a way that breaks down the experience in bite-sized ways that are easier for a cortisol-riddled mind to work through. As anyone who has been through this process knows, your memory is shot when you’re separating.
I will likely also produce a story on putting yourself in the best legal position when it comes to co-parenting with the help of experienced friends and professionals in the space – I am not personally in a position to remark on this aspect of divorce. Of course, this information comes from a lay-person – I’m not a lawyer. But I’ve lived it, and I want to share this knowledge to help others move away from what fails to serve them.
I think I’m ready. I think I’ll start.
Lastly: I dedicate this heart work to those women I know and love who have tread this path with raw grace, or are in the process of negotiating their way forward. To R, to Samantha, to Breeana, to Sarah, to Erin, to Sophie, to Belinda and the valued others.