Blogger Lori Perkins recently brought up a topic that every person who has experienced a divorce will connect with at some point in the healing process — when to quit calling yourself “divorced” and to start calling yourself “single.”
Perkins writes: “I don’t feel that my terminated marriage defines me any longer, nor should it. I have done so much in the past fifteen years that the fact that I was once married should be a footnote to my life. I realized this quite suddenly when I filled out some official paperwork by simple checking off “single,” and kind of marveled at how easy that was to do.”
There is so much truth in Perkins’ statement, and it’s worth remembering whether you have quit calling yourself divorced already or you’re just now getting back out on your own. Let’s break it down a bit to see how it can help you determine when the right time to call yourself “single” has arrived.
1. “I don’t feel that my terminated marriage defines me any longer, nor should it.”
Perkins reached a point where she no longer thought of her divorce as the major event of her life. She got there because she was being productive with her life and finding other means to fulfillment. She quit thinking about her “status” so hard and instead focused on her life.
2. “… the fact that I was once married should be a footnote to my life.”
Right again, but it’s only when Perkins realized this and decided to own it that the divorce truly became the footnote she wanted it to be. If you can look at your life and say, “No, that’s not who I am any more. It has no bearing over the decisions I make,” then you’re well on your way to being “single” instead of “divorced.”
3. “I realized this quite suddenly when I filled out some official paperwork by simple checking off ‘single,’ and kind of marveled at how easy that was to do.”
Typically, you will come to the realization of No. 2 through some specific moment. In Perkins’ case, it was a small moment but it had huge implications. It was the moment when she said, “Divorced no longer,” and all it involved was filling out a form. When you can take that step of calling yourself “single” and it truly is an “easy thing to do,” then you can be single with a clear conscience.
One caveat: when you start dating again, you might want to be upfront with the divorce, no matter what. Some people have religious objections to divorce and it can be a huge deal breaker. But if it doesn’t bother you, it shouldn’t bother them. And if it does bother them, then it shouldn’t bother you to give that person their walking papers, so to speak.
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