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Divorce in your twenties

It's difficult to know exactly what you want for the rest of your life when in your early twenties.  You totally think you know, but once you get into your thirties, you realize how much you really didn't. foot-in-mouth

In fact, what you want in your twenties is totally appropriate when you're in your twenties. This is the time in your life when you're likely to take the biggest risks and fall the hardest. 

Love and loss are part of these risk taking days.  But, the good news is that while you take the hardest falls, you're still young enough to get through it without long-term damage to your life. 

Those of you who marry and divorce in your twenties are actually exceptionally resilient.  So, when your love life falls apart and you fall with it, get right back up, brush off the "break-up" blues and get back out there.

You have your whole life ahead of you to make corrections.  Life in your twenties is more valuable than those years in your 40's, 50's or 60's.  Ask most people in their 50's if they would like a do-over, and even with all the mistakes and hard work ahead of them again, they would still rather have the chance.  

The next 20-30 years are extremely valuable!  Don't waste a single day of your life in a bad relationship or crying over one.  Some of us meet the wrong guy or gal and just move one.  But, most of us who marry the wrong person, struggle to make the hard choice to end things expeditiously in an effort to improve our lives sooner than later.   Maybe that's why so many of us in our 50's would jump at the chance for a life do-over, because we didn't make the right choices at the right time in our twenties.  

You're worth more than a bad relationship can provide

My story...

When my first marriage ended, I was angry and I felt it wasn't fair that he could keep living his life without me and his daughter.  I felt my world had ended.  I was scared since I was on unfamiliar ground.  I had never had a child before, nor had I been divorced.  But, it didn't take the ink to dry on the divorce decree for me to realize I was the one who was getting the better deal.  I didn't need someone who didn't love me or his own child enough to treat us with respect and love.  Love is a two-way street when married.  Don't sell yourself short by staying in a relationship with someone who doesn't demonstrate their love for you.

How to move forward

The first step is to realize you didn't marry the right person.  It's especially difficult to admit when you've been an advocate for your marriage despite friends and family telling you the marriage is doomed or your spouse is not right for you.  Ouch. 

While you and your spouse are the only ones to make the choices affecting your marriage; sometimes it's hard to see what's wrong when you're so close to the problem.  Don't hold onto a marriage for the sake of being right and to prove others wrong.  If the marriage is making you unhappy, improve it or let go.

On the basis of experience,  I seriously can't imagine what I would have done if I stayed with my first husband when I was in my twenties.  It was scary to leave him and raise a child all by myself.   I hated that my parents were right about him being wrong for me and despite their wishes for me to leave him, I was the only person who could truly make the decision to do so.  I realized later that I confused my feelings of fear and dependence as love for him.   Once I had the courage to leave, I empowered myself to regain control of my life and independence.

After a couple years, I met the right guy that my now, 28 year old daughter from my first marriage, still considers to be her dad, even though my marriage to him ended also.  But really, no regrets.  She was raised by a great dad, even if he and I weren't the perfect couple.  

Reveal your potential

If you don't see it right away, then it's cloaked.   Your gifts and your life can be cloaked by low self-esteem, incomplete education & bad relationships. 

No, it's not fair and no, we shouldn't have to work so hard to find what some people find so easily (love, happiness & success). 

But here's the deal.  You can cry and complain over working harder or you can just go out there and do it.  Get back to school or find a career path that you enjoy and that can provide a stable income.

If you have a child, make him/her your world.  That starts with your own self-improvement.  Work hard and educate yourself to give yourselves the best chance at a great life.  Make friends that encourage your new direction and stronger sense of self, stronger sense of family and success. 

After divorce, become the manager of your life

Here's the hard part.  Don't let anyone lead this dance.  Dating is good, but don't let a new love interest control your destiny.  He/she may be a great person, but if your relationship gets in the way of your personal growth, success and education then it may not be the right time for a heavy romance.  

Stand-up to anyone who has a better idea of what you need, than you.  If I had left my first husband because my parents told me to instead of my own decision to do so, I may have wondered if it was the right decision.  I needed to get to my own personal breaking point.   I wouldn't have owned the decision to leave.  This is a decision that initially induced the feeling of failure and later provided empowerment.  

Unless you're making extremely poor decisions or are in danger, then only you know what you need.  Take control of your life, your parenting, your career.   This is a great way to earn respect while on the path to a better life.

Your do-over starts now.  Remember, make it your own and never ever let anyone claim it.   If there's a great time to learn a life lesson, it's in your twenties.  Get out there and live your life your way.  Life is waiting, but you shouldn't be.


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