I got a divorce after 5 years but am still with my ex-husband. Now our relationship is better than ever.
Divorce doesn't have to mean the end. Jeffrey Hamilton / Getty Images RF
My ex-husband and I divorced and then started dating again while we worked on our relationship.
During our separation, I took refuge in my parents' house and had time for self-reflection.
This article was originally published in March 2018.
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Last summer, it was three years since I finalized my divorce from my nearly five-year-old husband. The process was expensive, painful and, in the end, one of the best decisions I have ever made. But not for the reasons you might think.
Yes, I was happy to close the book on a painful chapter in my life and to have the opportunity to make a fresh start. I celebrated by changing my hair color, dropping a few unwanted pounds, and starting a new job.
What I didn't know, however, was that my relationship with my husband was getting a much-needed fresh start, along with everything else. Today my ex-husband and I are closer than ever - in the truest sense of the word. In fact, we live together, raise our two children, and even try to enjoy the occasional date night when we can.
You may be wondering why we bothered to get married and divorced only to end up together again. Well it's a long story.
I didn't think my marriage was going to end in divorce, but there were factors that worked against me
The likelihood of a first marriage ending in separation or divorce within the first five years is fairly high. Not to mention, almost everyone in my family will get divorced - that is, if they ever get married.
My maternal grandmother holds the record with three divorces in her account. Without seeing firsthand what it takes to get married, I had to put together my own idea of marital happiness.
After watching many love stories and classic sitcoms, I had come to the conclusion that if we kept a size four, kept a well-kept home, and avoided conflict at all costs, my husband and I would not end up in divorce court.
But I didn't think about how all those exercises and chores would affect me - a self-proclaimed career girl who takes her independence seriously.
Like so many single girls, I spent years hoping to find someone who would give me a reason never to come back. When I met a man who was funny and nice and passed my social media background exam, I knew I couldn't let him escape.
Since we were both single in New York City for a while, our advertising went ahead quickly and it wasn't long before we realized we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
The marriage began with a lot of fighting. Marko Aliaksandr / Shutterstock
But after all the "I Do's", our marriage began with a series of bad luck
The ink had barely dried on our marriage certificate as we dealt with issues that could have weighed on even the strongest of relationships.
The 2008 economic recession left us both unemployed and underwater in our homes. And if that wasn't bad enough, we faced a high-risk pregnancy as we prepared for the arrival of our first child.
We barely had time to get used to being two before we prepared to add another little member to our family who would be totally dependent on us for all needs. With little money and no family support nearby, we had to find out everything ourselves.
The pressure to run our home with little money was slowly weakening my sanity. Along with my career, I felt like I was losing my independence, my social network and my identity.
I didn't feel comfortable with the home mom in our Brooklyn neighborhood. Many of them had made a conscious choice to stay home and care for their children, while my decision somehow fell into my lap. I went to every meeting and knew that an impromptu cup of coffee had the potential to completely throw my budget off balance.
I became increasingly frustrated with my inability to make financial contributions. I resented my husband for preferring to be optimistic rather than joining me in my cave of despair. I didn't know what it was like not to work and I felt helpless.
I was jealous of my husband that he could leave the house without worrying about nap times or feeding schedules. And even if he just went to a job he hated, he could do it without having to find the most stroller-friendly route.
Granted, I kept all my feelings to myself until I reached my boiling point and unleashed my frustration in a rambling tirade that led me to distance myself from the relationship and take refuge in my mother's house.
During our time off, I tried as many activities as possible to distract myself to forget the fact that my marriage was over. I became a registered yoga teacher, knitting scarves and hats for everyone I knew, and pondering the choices that brought me back to my nursery.
We struggled with our finances for a while. Crystal Cox / Business Insider
After almost nine months, the smoke began to clear and our communications became much less combative
With the help of a little therapy and many honest conversations, we were able to remember what brought us together in the first place and why it was more important than ever to make things work in the future.
We decided to divorce to close the chapter on a bad situation, but agreed to move forward together in a loving, committed relationship.
The end of our marriage wasn't sad because I knew our new commitment would be even stronger. I've learned that in difficult situations, I should turn to my partner for support rather than withdrawing.
We may not agree on a movie to be seen on Saturday nights or the perfect temperature for the bedroom, but we can both agree that we still feel committed today and to our two children.
We are fortunate enough to live in a world where a family can be defined in many different ways. I couldn't be happier to have been blessed with such a wonderful bunch. Our traditional Catholic families may not understand what we are doing, but they are happy to support our mutual commitment.
And even if we don't look like the Brady Bunch to the rest of the world, we have a lot of love to walk around. And I couldn't be happier not having to vacuum in heels.
This article was originally published in March 2018.
Read the original article on Insider
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