How I learned to use my free weekend
As I instigated the divorce, I thought having my weekends free would be amazing and I had big plans of how to fill them and all the amazing people I was going to spend my new free time with. What I hadn’t counted on was a whole turmoil of post-divorce emotions that I had yet to encounter! Trying to go straight out into the world after a divorce just doesn’t work – I learnt that the hard way.
Phase 1 – bitter imaginings
As soon as my ex moved out, I thought fantastic! But then, I’d find myself sitting on the sofa on my free weekend, imagining what he was up to, wondering what he was going to come up with next for the lawyers, and trying to second guess his every thought process. I would literally spend hours doing this until I almost drove myself (and my friends) crazy. Eventually I broke down in tears at work one day.
An inspiring colleague (fellow divorcee) told me that I needed to stop, that I could not control my ex and that I should forget him and focus on me. I needed to feel lonely, feel sad, feel angry, just feel everything however uncomfortable… then let it go and move on. He was right.
Phase 2 – social parasite
Unfortunately, I then moved into a new crazy phase. I thought okay, I’ve let go of him, now I need a new man, and I decided to fill every weekend with other people so I started joining social groups, signed up for dating sites and ended up sitting in pubs, opposite complete strangers, nearly every weekend, feeling thoroughly miserable. When I got home I’d be on the phone constantly to friends just so that I didn’t feel alone. Eventually they stopped taking my calls. I started to feel very bitter – which is ironically what saved me in the end. I thought dates and friends were a waste of time and nobody liked me, so I stopped. When I stopped I realised it was okay to be alone. My friends began to call again and I was all right.
Phase 3 – filling my weekends
Finally, two years on from my divorce, I’ve got through the craziness and the bitterness and now my free time is filled with balance and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I have quiet Saturdays where I watch a whole box set. I go shopping and meet friends for coffee and I spend time with family. I rediscovered my love of reading, and this year I worked up the courage to set up my own business in my spare time.
What I don’t do is feel the need to desperately cram every weekend full. I make some time just for me, to be alone and take stock. I might be alone but I’m not lonely or bitter and there is plenty going on in my life, with just enough room for someone special if he did come along.