Today I have a special guest post / answer to a recent question from a 20-something about recovering from a young, brief but painful divorce. Sarah Levitt, a entrepreneur turned business and life coach offers an insightful and poignant response. After the dissolution of her 17 year marriage Sarah came to see divorce recovery in a new light and began divorce/separation coaching in 2011.
I was married at 19 and divorced by 21 with no children. Although I feel like divorce was the only option after discovering my husband’s painful affair, I still can’t help being embarrassed. The few strangers I’ve had to tell have given me such judgmental looks and comments and it just changes the way I feel about myself. It’s as if I’ve done something wrong.
As someone so young, I hope I can move on with my life and make new friends and possibly new relationships down the line.
My question is, how and when do I tell someone I’m divorced. I’m worried someone will not want to associate with me once they find out, but I do not want to lie. So what do I do?
Divorce is painful and despite how common it is, many people express feeling self-conscious and embarrassed, particularly when it’s still new. There’s a feeling of “coming out of the closet” when going public with the information, whether that’s with friends, family, or aquaintances. And, unfortunately, divorce can make others uncomfortable, depending on where they are in their own lives and marriages.
But, how we choose to relate to divorce is critical in how we feel about it and ultimately, how others see us. If we choose to feel shamed by it, we show that to others. Each of us gets to decide what divorce means to us and what we tell ourselves about it. Will we use it as an opportunity to grow into and become more of ourselves? Nothing embarassing in that! If we’re comfortable with the experience, others will be, too. And, if they’re not, it won’t matter much because we’ll be in a good place about it. But, we also don’t owe anyone an explanation for our lives. We get to decide how much information to share and with whom.
My guess is that as you become more comfortable incorporating divorce into your life as something that brought you closer to yourself, it will become easier for you to share that experience with others, no matter how they might react.
All the best on your journey!
Life and Business Coaching
Sarah Levitt was a successful entrepreneur of 15 years, building a greenhouse operation from start-up to a thriving business that captured 40+% of the market share for North Carolina. This hands-on, from-the-ground-up experience became the foundation for coaching entrepreneurs and executives to cultivate greater success in their businesses, as well as sustain themselves both personally and financially. As part of her separation and divorce recovery practice she runs an 8 week program called “Re-Creating Your Life After Divorce“.