There can be positive in something so seemingly negative.
There is no question that divorce is hard. It's hard on the adults, and if kids are involved, it is that much more traumatic, devastating, scary and uncertain.
However, it does happen and there can be much to learn from a major life change. And some of it is good.
I'm still in the trenches, separated in January, still in mediation, but close to an agreement and finding my new normal. I can see, in the distance, and in some cases in the present, some positives.
1. I am gaining strength through adversity.
I have sometimes heard "What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger" and thought, you know what, just go ahead and kill me. But, I'm still standing, albeit in my PJs all weekend with clinical depression trying to kick my ass. It will sideline me for awhile.
I'm not on Match.com and running out to meet a new partner. I'm not starting a new business or polishing off the edits on my next novel. I'm hunkered down, still slogging through paperwork and negotiations and animosity. I am feeling the impact on my body and psyche.
It will be awhile, but I have always been strong. And, I'm getting stronger every day.
2. I am already stronger as a parent; better divorced than I was married.
When you subtract the tension, the dysfunction, the years of unhappiness and compensating for each others' parenting styles, I see I have already become a stronger, more confident and calmer mother to my sons.
Yes, it's hard doing it all. But, my kids are older, so I'm not dealing with cribs, diapers, safety gates and other things than can make you wish you had four arms and eyes in the back of your head. They are 13 and nine. They still need me, but I can divide my time more easily. It's exhausting, but it’s doable.
3. My children will have a more nurturing present father.
I cannot predict the future, nor will I have a say in how he parents them as a single dad. But he seems committed to being in our kids' lives with stability and routine.
Our marriage was not a positive context for that. Not only did we become overwhelmed with our deteriorating relationship, but the dynamic of our division of labor was also such that I did more traditional "mom" parenting (nurturing, care-giving, school-related activities), and he did more "fun dad" parenting (baseball, Boy Scouts). He now has the opportunity to parent in his way, as do I, without either of us looking over our shoulder at a disapproving spouse.
This will be good for everyone: for him and his relationship with his sons, and for me as I get to be more than a mom, with the freedom to explore interests that been on hold.
I want my boys to have a strong and healthy relationship with their dad, not just as fun dad, but as nurturer dad, as picking up from school dad, and as caregiver dad. And I want to be "fun mom," too. Now when we go on family vacations, I'll be the one splashing them in the pool—just me. And we'll have fun.
Change is scary, but it is a part of life. Divorce is terrifying and, in some cases, the only option.
No matter what the vows say, there is no such thing as forever. People change, lives change, needs evolve. Some couples manage to navigate their personal changes and those of their partnership; they stay together. And others stay together due to inertia, fear or other reasons.
I choose change. I didn't at first, but now, I see it is what my next chapter will be. Change, new, mine, scary, exciting and everything will be more than OK. I will find my new normal, happiness, stability for my children and I'll get out of my PJs. I just know it.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project . Reprinted with permission from the author.