Light at the End of the Divorce Tunnel
Divorce is right up there with death, illness, natural and unnatural disasters and financial hardship as one of the most traumatic events anyone can go through. But Julie and Amy are here to show that you can get through it.
JULIE: I've been going through the divorce process. I have a jerk of a soon-to-be-ex-husband who thinks he can just walk away and not pay for what he did. He still thinks he can control me, but I will not allow it. I will not walk away with nothing. I will walk away with what I deserve and nothing less. I will walk away with my head up, and I'll be a better, stronger person when it's all done. I will never let another man treat me like that ever again.
When I sign those divorce papers, I will do the freedom dance right in front of him. There is no reason to get revenge. My sweet revenge will be the deduction on his payroll stub for many years.
I have redecorated every room in my home. Every room is me, and I have wiped him out of my life. Doing all this has healed me. As I sit here at my desk in my newly decorated office, I feel a certain kind of freedom: the freedom of not having to listen to him put me down anymore, the freedom of knowing that I can make it on my own. I don't feel lonely, just happy. I feel I can do anything I want and conquer the world.
I'd like to tell all the soon-to-be divorced women to embrace the freedom. They haven't lost a thing.
AMY: You'd think I would have left my husband because of the way he punished our oldest daughter. When she was little, he would make her sit and look at "snow" on the TV for 30 minutes or make her spend long periods of time softly opening and closing her bedroom door after she had slammed it. Lots of kids do that. They're kids, after all, and they make noise! Once, he made her mow the yard -- without any instruction -- and used a belt on her when it wasn't done to his satisfaction.
You'd think I would have left him because he used to spend hours on the internet and run up $500 cellphone bills and $200 landline bills -- all while he was unemployed -- or because of his irrational anger at me for anything and everything, which made me want to be at work more than at home.
It took 15 years for me to admit to myself what I was living with, but I finally took the kids and went to a shelter. There I talked with people who helped me understand that even if he hadn't hit me, he was abusing me emotionally, verbally and mentally.
I now live near my parents, and my daughters have their grandfather as an example of how a man should behave. They see their father every other weekend and never ask to see him more.
I'm not rushing into another relationship, but if I'm fortunate enough to find a man who will respect me and my girls, I'll be thankful for the chance to be with a good man.
Is your life better or worse after your divorce? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to email@example.com. And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not."