HOW TO SURVIVE A DIVORCE AT 25

(While I don't think this is a one-size-fits-all kind of situation, I hope there are some takeaways for the 24 and 26 year old divorcés as well)
  1. It helps to have close friends and family in multiple time zones so you reach someone 24/7 without needing to call in the middle of the night or at work.
  2. Listen to what they are saying. Divorce is first and foremost an intensely abrupt dis-identification and it's really hard to know who you are, what you are feeling, and what you want in an objective subjective kind of way. They've presumably known you for a while and/or intimately and can remind you of who you are, often just by being there.
  3. Hopefully, you have lawyer friends. I doubt anyone, with or without a prenup (nothing can prepare you for this moment) can figure out what's worth holding on to/for when their vision for the rest their life has just been shattered. You're too discombobulated picking up those pieces of yourself, trying to collect enough of 'em to get through this.
    I don't necessarily mean get a lawyer, just legal advice.
  4. Don't worry if you haven't eaten in 3 months. You are running on some alternate kind of fuel. And your appetite will come back eventually.
  5. Get busy. Find something new and really time and energy consuming to get into. I picked kitesurfing and going back to college. And I moved, immediately.
  6. Do not start dating until your divorce is final. Too much ambiguity, too much confusion, unnecessary fodder for tension with your ex at a time when emotional sanity, clear communication, and overall equanimity between the two of you is already rocky.
  7. Avoid saying or doing things you know you will regret. You won't have to live with your ex anymore, but you do have to live with yourself.
  8. That said, make sure you say what you need to say. And express what you need to express. I BROKE my toe KICKING my husband (the doc didn't believe me) and I feel okay, like "yep, that happened." No shame. No shame.
  9. Distance yourself from your ex. Not in a cold, severing kind of way but in a wholesome, self contained kind of way. You can be friends later.
  10. On that note. I said to a dear, male, fellow divorcéd friend that I didn't feel comfortable bringing up X with my ex in our divorce convos because I was worried it would ruin our chance at post-marital friendship. He said: if you don't bring it up you'll never have a real friendship. Deep aha moment.
  11. At some point I had to give up on the fantasy that we would continue to be best friends. Letting go of that took a good 2 years. I had to accept that we no longer were in any kind of relationship (mindfuck!) and my internally willing us to be was futile and draining my life force and joie de vivre. It takes two to tango.