Few things in this life are common to all.
That's about it. (Maybe not even the taxes, if you're one of those live outside the grid types.)
Then there are those milestones and rites that some, many, people have in common.
Childbirth. Education. Home ownership. Marriage.
People will tell you that they "can't possibly imagine what you're going through."
But when they go home, and sit with it, and get quiet, they can. They imagine what you're going through. And they put themselves in your place. They run the scenarios, and add their own personal bent to them. And whether or not they realize it, they can, indeed, imagine it.
They can, if left to their own devices, tell you what you should be doing.
Do it fast, don't look back, rip the band-aid off, get the hell out.
Go slowly, think about what you're doing.
The kids will be better off.
The kids will never get over this.
Try to be open, believe that love exists.
Do not, under any circumstances, get involved with anyone. Be alone for at least (insert suitable amount of time here).
I didn't plan to like anyone. Not that it was the furthest thing from my mind. But I emerged from the shit cocoon that was the first bit of divorce with a half-assed plan.
I would get out of the house, the marriage. And then, I would slut it up. Go out and have all the sex that getting together with my ex at 18 had precluded me from. Raise my self-esteem by feeling attractive to someone, anyone. This would last for approximately a year.
At the end of that year, I would search, in earnest, for a man. Who had money. And was older, thereby enabling me to be an ersatz trophy wife. He would treat me well. I would be secure. I most likely would not love him. But I would not be hurt again.
(I didn't say it was a good plan.)
I met someone. Hadn't even had the chance to try out the slut plan. Walked into a friend's apartment, into a casual evening, and I knew there would be a single friend of a friend's boyfriend, but it was most definitely NOT a set up.
And as the night progressed, my brain started screaming.
He didn't fit the plan. At all. But I wanted to be with him, in spite of it all.
I wanted to squash everything I felt. I wanted to ignore the fact that he had so many of the qualities it had belatedly dawned on me that I wanted in another person. I wanted to tell him to come back in a year.
But I didn't.
Very, very few people think I'm doing the right thing.
I question my own judgment.
I like him. He makes me happy.