Divorce Can Lead to Self-Improvement.
Leo Averbach

I went through the divorce mill and came out the other side better for it. However, it was not plain sailing. The breakup was tough, really tough. Firstly, I was shocked to learn that my wife was having an affair. It hit me like a train; I was torn apart. Secondly, divorce was not in my script at all, so when I saw my marriage crumbling beyond repair after nearly twenty years together and three kids, I was totally disoriented.

In fact, my whole life disintegrated. My family was in tatters; I was no longer a husband or life-partner and was struggling to remain a father. I lost all sense of who I was and my confidence plummeted. I felt completely deskilled instead of the reasonably competent naked at the counter of life. For me this was loss on a grand scale. Most of all, I felt emasculated and impotent in all senses.

Somehow I managed to turn the situation around. It took time, of course, and I was fortunate to have help, in the form of therapy. The therapy helped me to rebuild my confidence, to start believing in myself and to put myself center-stage. I shed a lot of my emotional armor and began to develop an awareness of my feelings. This fundamentally changed the way I functioned, shifting me from being 'in my head' to being 'in my heart' more; from looking out to looking inward. I gradually came to the realization that "it's all in me", that we see the world as we are, not as it is.

As I lifted the lid on my emotions and got in touch with my anger and my grief, so I found it easier to deal with my situation, particularly vis-à-vis my 'wife'. I moved from a position of feeling weak and powerless to one in which I felt passionate and powerful. This turnaround stood me in good stead throughout our protracted divorce. In addition, I got the whiff of freedom in my nostrils; colors suddenly seemed brighter, smells sharper. My kingdom was smaller but at least it was mine; I was in charge of my own life. I learned to enjoy my unmediated contact with my children and not having to consult another person constantly.

My battered ego was given a boost once I started dating other women. I began to feel like a sexually attractive man, something I had not felt in relation to my wife, even in relatively good times. Just going for a walk and holding hands with a new woman was exciting. Naturally, I did not hit it off with every new woman I met, but I did with a few, which was enough to show me that alternatives existed. There are lots of fish in the sea.

While in the throes of divorce, I was sure my days of despair would never end. But as my story indicates, there is a way through the trauma of a breakup. Handled correctly and with a bit of help it can lead to real growth. At first, divorce can feel like an amputation but it is no exaggeration to say that later you can grow beyond your wildest dreams.

Author's Bio: 

Leo Averbach
Potter, teacher, furniture designer, translator and writer. Born in South Africa, lived in the UK, where he married, fathered three children, got divorced and remarried. Now lives in the Jerusalem hills. His divorce journal, a chronicle of the breakup of his marriage and recovery, became his book BREAKUP: enduring divorce.