Being young and in love is awesome. Until it isn’t.
You got married right out of college because you thought true love could be kindled over Natty Lite and existential conversations spurred by Bill Nye’s Twitter feed. Who else in this universe could possibly like both the color royal blue and Chris Pratt? Getting married was the next logical step in this too-good-to-be-true romance.
But then you realize there are important things that you don’t agree on. You want to move away and get a job in the city, your partner wants to stay near their family and have kids. You love to travel, they’d rather spend the weekend watching Netflix. Suddenly “till death do us part” seems like a death sentence.
If you are part of the unlucky bunch of millennials that got married and divorced before you hit dirty 30, here are 5 ways to move on after a divorce in your 20s.
1. Do what you want.
Part of being married is about compromise, and honestly most of the time it means sacrificing your own desires for those of your partner. That might have been okay circa 1950, but today you should do whatever you want. Always wanted to be an erotic painter? Do it. Want to walk the Rainbow Bridge barefoot? Go for it. Those things you’ve always dreamed of doing? Go do them right now!
2. Get out.
Force yourself to join a book club or a gym. Get a puppy and meet people at the dog park. Become a bingo shark. Read slam poetry at that dive coffee shop. Just do something and put yourself out there. You don’t have to go to the bar to make new friends, but you should get off the couch and pry yourself away from binging on The Blacklist.
3. Get it all out.
Going skydiving with your brand new friends from the bingo hall is great, but it’s time to step up your game. It’s time to accept that you are alone and that it’s actually okay.
After my divorce, I went on a solo trip. I cried most of the time, but it was still a time for me to really come to terms with my situation. A time to realign with the world around me and stop feeling sorry for myself. Give yourself alone time where you can sob/scream/laugh/meditate.
4. Make mad money.
Divorcees are generally in some state of financial ruin. When I got divorced, I was evicted, lost my business, my car was repossessed, and I ultimately filed for bankruptcy — all within a year. I went from making enough money to support a stay-at-home husband and 5 employees to barely being able to support my gas station wine habit. But hard work and some hard choices — like getting rid of my smart phone, driving a 20-year-old car, and living on chicken breasts and bananas — eventually paid off. Do whatever you have to do to get back on your feet. You won’t regret it.
5. Love again.
My heart was scrambled and, consequently, I hated anyone that showed even the slightest interest in me. How could I love someone after what had happened to me?
Then, I read a life-changing book that essentially said don’t take anything personally. Really? Yes! Once I realized that the way my husband had treated me wasn’t my fault, that it was due to some baggage he was carrying, I could see the world with eyes open wide once more.
As Al Capone said, “Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.” Live with a soft heart and thick skin, and those that deserve your love will get it. Those that don’t, won’t.