She was 40 and had just initiated her divorce. He was 28 and single. They met at a business conference and spent one crazy night together before heading back to their respective lives. She had never done anything like that before, but credits that experience with having given her a much-needed escape from all the doubt, confusion and fear associated with her divorce. It opened the door to possibilities she hadn’t known were there all along. And it was the shock to the system she needed to remind her of all the great things she had forgotten about herself.
It’s easy to lose sight of yourself in a marriage. We’re conditioned by our culture to BE the caregiver wife or the provider husband or the good parent, neighbor or coach. We’re taught that relationships take sacrifice. Too often, those insidious thoughts of who we should be in the eyes of others makes us forget who we really are. As a divorce coach, I see this again and again … and even experienced it myself. It could be 5, 10 or 15 years, but eventually the light bulb over our head goes on and we are struck with the acknowledgement that we’ve lost ourselves somewhere along the way. And this is when people typically make big decisions in their lives … like divorce.
Divorce is freedom – to find yourself again, to re-connect, to be who you want to be. The door of possibility is wide open. And it isn’t uncommon during or after a divorce to jump into a casual fling. Rather than judge or condemn it, consider what there is to learn in that space:
You Contain Multitudes
As Walt Whitman wrote in Song of Myself, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.” You are not just the roles you play in your life – husband, wife, mother, father, colleague, etc. You are not what other people think you should be. You are not one-dimensional. You deserve to live a three-dimensional life. So, why continue to live one-dimensionally? A fling can remind you of all the parts of yourself you’ve forgotten. It can remind you that you contain multitudes. And seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can shock you into remembering all of those parts of yourself that had been buried for so long.
You Are Free
Divorce already puts you far outside your comfort zone, so it’s no surprise that you have the opportunity to do things you never would have considered before. You are free to explore and go places you typically wouldn’t without fear or pressure or consequences. You make all of your own decisions now. And there’s power in that independence. Be safe. Be responsible. Be free. You will learn that you are far more capable than you ever thought you were. Use it so that you can truly own your new life.