It’s been 6 years since my husband and I split up, and 5 years since our divorce became official.
When we divorced, we reached an agreement whereby I took over the mortgage of the house we’d bought soon after we got married.
It’s been quite a struggle, since then, paying the mortgage by myself, but I’ve managed.
Getting used to living in the house on my own was another story. The whole time we were together, my husband and I worked opposite shifts. I worked nights, and he worked days.
It meant that we each spent a fair bit of time in the house on our own, but my time was usually during the day while I slept and in the afternoon before he came home from work.
After he moved out, I had to get used to being home alone at any time.
Changing My Life
I also quit the job I’d had for 8 years. I’d been looking for another job in the last few years but hadn’t been able to find one. What I knew was that it was easier to stay in that job while I was married, rather than quit it and search for a new one.
But now that I was on my own, I was making decisions for myself and backing myself all the way.
Having spent nearly 16 years working night shifts or shift work, my body and health were a mess. It took nearly 6 months to get my sleep routine back to ‘normal’ and during that time, I repeatedly got sick.
Learning to sleep at night, and be awake during the day wasn’t half as easy as I thought it would be. I had expected it to take about a month, but it was much harder than that.
Clearing Out The Old Life
I spent a lot of time clearing out my husband’s possessions. When he moved out, he took a suitcase, tv and the coffee machine. He actually left behind the PS3 for me to use! But that meant that lots of clothes were left, as well as memorabilia, books and all sorts of things he’d collected over the years.
I gave away some items, and sold some others, but to begin with, I really wasn’t in any state to carefully pick over his things. It took me a while to start sorting out his things, and I was in no rush. But I also knew I wasn’t up for making more decisions, certainly not big decisions.
We were still in contact, as we talked through the changes we were going through, individually and as a former couple.
But, while he went off and lived his new life, I was living my new life surrounded by our things. That took a lot of getting used to, all the while as I was getting my life back on track. I went back into the workforce, and tried new jobs that I’d wanted to do. Gradually, I began dating again, and got used to the new life that I’d gotten for myself.
However, as frankly as I talk about it, it wasn’t easy. The scars remained, and I was exhausted. Every day was a struggle in its own way. Some days I had to learn so many new things that I had no time for anything else.
Old Dog, New Tricks
While we were married, my ex and I had divided up chores. Now I had to do everything myself, including learning how to maintain the house, doing the jobs he’d done when we were married.
It was okay, and it was partly what I wanted, but it meant that I had very little energy for deciding what to do with what was left of his and our things. I’d already sold a heap and donated 11 boxes to the op shop, but we’d built a life together and there was more to clear.
In phases, I did more, but there were long gaps when I didn’t do anything. The house looked pretty much the same as it had while we’d lived together.
Then, as I got the rest of my life going again, I realised I was paying the mortgage on the house of a married couple, not a single- divorced- woman.
And just like that, I began to change my life- again.
Want to know what I did next? You can read it here.
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