Divorce hardens you.
I don’t think divorce changes the core of your personality, the process of divorce only emphasizes personality traits that are already there.
If you value money above all else, your actions of fighting for the last penny or crock pot will speak louder than your words.
If you are a control freak, this will show up in co-parenting situations.
If you are a nutbar level 7, this will show up in stalking and other crazy behaviours.
And so on. Those behaviours are not new to you, you didn’t change, you now have the opportunity to express them without excuses. Release the hounds, if you will.
But no matter how you choose to deal with your divorce, divorce hardens you.
According to many psychological tests, on a scale of 1-100, 100 being the most stress you can ever experience, divorce or death of spouse is a 100 stressor.
I disagree. Divorce is more stressful than death.
As tragic as a death is, the widow(er) doesn’t have to ‘fight’ for half their life accumulations. They get it all, without question.
They get the house. Moving is a choice, not a necessity.
They get all the money, no need to wonder how to survive in retirement on half of what you saved or half of your pension.
They never have to wonder if this is the month the support payment is late or doesn’t show up at all.
They also never have to see their former spouse kiss another partner. Or hear they are remarrying, noting the new wife has a bigger diamond than you were ever given.
They don’t have to share the children at Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, or vacation.
They don’t have to fend off rumours, lies and gossip.
They never have to defend their actions and choices.
They don’t bring a shitload of baggage (trust issues, lying issues, money issues, ex issues) to the next relationship.
They don’t have to compartmentalized their friends and family into 1) Here for me, 2) Wasn’t here for me, 3) Never have to deal with again and 4) GFY.
They get meals brought to them and invited to people’s homes for Sunday dinner, out of sympathy.
They don’t have to hear of your family inviting the ex for Sunday dinner because ‘we’d like to stay friends’ as you quietly note you haven’t been invited over.
They don’t have to deal with dividing lines in any way, shape or form.
They cry just the same.
They miss them just the same.
They find it difficult to move on, just the same.
If you have children, the ripple effects of divorce last your whole lifetime, until one of you dies. After raising the children, you will be sharing the weddings and the grandchildren. It never goes away. Divorce moves sideways in your life, laterally along, forever.
Losing a spouse to death, using time as the great healer, one day the sun will shine a little brighter, the songs will start to get happier and food tastes better once again. Yes, you miss them with all your being but the death is the rock bottom, you can only move up from losing a spouse to death.
But they don’t get hardened. If anything, they eventually soften, learning how precious life is and to embrace love, life and happiness every day and in every which way because they know it can all be taken away by death.
They don’t get hardened. They don’t learn to hate their partner and wish them dead.
Divorce hardens you, in ways you never see coming. In ways you never imagined. In ways you would hope it wouldn’t. It colours everything you do. But it doesn’t change you.