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Divorce Actually Makes Us Stronger

My friends call me the "Divorce Poster Child".

At the age of 20 I was married, and by 22 I had our first child. My husband was away at work every weekday, so it was just myself and the baby, keeping each other company from seven in the morning, until five thirty in the evening, every weekday. Eventually (7 years later), my husband and I found ourselves with three children, and life was extremely hectic, with both of us now working in the same industry. We worked for the same company (his company), and he was still away at work every day, while I managed to work from home for his company, while taking care of the house and the kids.

We worked apart, as do most couples, for the duration of our marriage, and our relationship got to the point where, when we were together, we had very little to talk about besides the kids, and work. Eventually, there was even less to talk about, because it would seem that my ex-husband to be, was getting more and more distant. I sensed the distance, and sat him down and had the following conversation with him, "If you're feeling like you want to be a single man, and you want to be doing the things that your single friends do, please do me a favor; don't go behind my back, and sneak around because you want to be with someone else. Don't let me do all of the detective work that I see those poor women on T.V. having to go through before finding out that their husbands are cheating on them. You know me better than that. If that's what you want, then go. Let's cut our losses now, and do it amicably." To which he replied, "I would NEVER do that! I don't want to be single. I love you guys. What would make you say that??"

Apparently, at about the same time that we had that conversation, my ex-husband was slowly and quietly developing younger woman syndrome, and eventually decided that he actually would rather be a single man (and the detective work that I mentioned in our conversation? I did it all). So, to make a very long story, somewhat shorter, I wasn't about to leave the home that I raised my children in, so I told him, "There's the door. See ya!" (I wasn't even that diplomatic, and that's the Coles' notes version.)

We've been divorced for five years now. I went through many phases. The first was definitely blinding anger, followed closely (actually overlapped) by betrayal, which came before overwhelming sadness and feelings of failure, which were replaced by apprehension. Apprehension stepped aside to welcome self-pity. Major self pity. But self-pity was quickly replaced by revenge. I went on a spending spree, maxxing out his credit card twice (he was not happy, but oh well). Each stage came with it's own set of ups and downs. I was beset by everything from uncontrollable crying, to unexplainable joy, to periods of quiet reflection.

I completely believe that I was meant to go through each of those phases. I've learned so many incredible things about myself because of this experience. I have friends and acquaintances who are going through the same things at this very moment, who (I'm flattered to say), come to me for advice, or merely need an ear, and it surprises me to hear them saying that they're having the exact feelings and thoughts that I had in the various stages of my journey. It also pleases me to say that there is nothing wrong with these phases. There were times when I thought that I was completely loopy. But we all go through them. I found that mine were therapeutic, and in hindsight, educational. I honestly believe that we're meant to learn something from each phase. I learned that I'm much stronger than I thought I was. I learned this when apprehension came to visit me. I learned that I have a lot more patience than I ever thought I could have. I learned that I CAN be the bigger person (when I have to be). I learned that as long as I take care of myself, my children do wonderfully. I have full custody of 3 children, and I never imagined in my wildest dreams that I could do this on my own. Don't get me wrong, "the ex" is a regular visitor in my children's lives, and we got to be pretty good friends, once I grasped the lesson that what happened wasn't about ME. It was his mess. It was his mental and emotional mess. There was nothing wrong with me.

I'm happy with my life, and with who I am at the end of the entire divorce process. I'm running my own business, and for the first time in my life, I'm in complete control of every aspect of my life. My children are happy. If I want to eat Frosted Flakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I can do so without having anyone berate me for it. If I want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a pair of amazing shoes, I will without a second (unwelcomed) opinion (Mr. Visa loves me). And last but absolutely NOT LEAST, I don't have anyone asking me "What did YOU do all day?" when they get home from work.

All's wonderful in my world. I proudly bear the title "Divorce Poster Child". I think I just might put that on a tee shirt.

Debbie Burgin.


Debbie Burgin is a Vancouver handbag designer, and mother of 3 children, who believes that sometimes life hands us lemons, and it is our duty to find a way to make wicked lemonade from them.

"Because of my divorce, I started my own business, Debbie Burgin Design ( I'm thankful every day for my divorce. Martinis for everyone!!"

"Take care of yourselves Ladies!"

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