The Post-Divorce Rut…and Getting Yourself Out! (post 1 of 2)

Posted by Swati on Jan 4, 2010 in Divorce |

It’s been called the post-divorce rut, the single parent the rut, and a few other choice things…whatever you call it, one thing is for certain: it’s no fun being there.

I had been waiting and waiting and waiting for sixteen long months for my divorce to end.  Every single day felt endless, like I was the smallest hamster on the hamster wheel.  Motions, court dates, piles of attorney bills. 

And then POOF!! SPUTTER!! SPUTTER!!  It was done. 

A simple stamp on my divorce decree that said “FINAL” branded me as a single mother, branded my daughter as the child of a divorced household, and branded her father as a single dad.  It was surreal. 

My first emotion?  Being utterly, down to the bone, down to the marrow in my bones, tired.  Not too tired to smile, mind you.  

Friends took me out to celebrate.  I had dinners, I had drinks, and, I had desserts.  Lots of people called, visited, and emailed.  It was a whirlwind.  Then, a few weeks later, “regular life” started.  And I had no idea what to do with it.  Before, I would go home and there was so much stuff that had to get done.  Now, on the two nights a week when I didn’t have my daughter, it occurred to me that not much really had to get done.  I worked out.  I walked to the bank.  I went to the grocery store to get string cheese and apple juice.  There was no hustle and no bustle unless I created it.  I had waited so long for the divorce; and now that it was done, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. 

It was peculiar to me that marriage had somehow provided me with security and a sense of purpose.  In actuality, my marriage did nothing to foster any of these attributes.  In fact, the personality of my marriage had swallowed me whole with its negativity, its meanness, and its lack of loving.  So I couldn’t figure out why it ever made me feel safe and settled.  I guess matters of the heart often don’t make sense. 

Somewhere in that twelve years with my ex-husband, I had lost myself.  Granted, daily life as a single parent didn’t leave me with too much time for introspection.  But I had a hollow feeling inside.  A kind of emptiness.  I was in a rut.  Some days, I would drift off from whatever was happening around me; yet, I wasn’t thinking about anything either.  On other days, I couldn’t feel anything; my emotions were a foggy gray mess, like over-cooked oatmeal.  Then, I would do a complete 180 and I would be dying to be social, to meet new people (see previous post, ”My First Night Out as a Single Mom”). 

But the empty feeling about not knowing who I really was still followed me.  I buried myself in single motherhood and work for a few years before I got out of that rut.

In my next post, I’ll share how I did it.

–          Swati

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  • Jennifer says:

    I can’t believe you’re going down memory lane to that time in life, Swati! Ugh, it’s terrible, isn’t it? I was in a rut too but I handled it completely differently going out when I didn’t have my kids ALL THE TIME. It’s so hard to figure out how to get out of that rut. Looking forward to the next installment for your hindsight synopsis.

  • Tiffany says:

    I don’t know much about divorce but I can surely understand the feeling of losing oneself. Ever since I’ve had my children, I feel that way. I’m doing my best to get back on track.

    Following you from MBC–stop on over and visit!

  • Robin Arthur says:

    I’ve been there, too! But you know what? You also get that sort of weird empty feeling after your kiddo moves off to college. I really do think the key is to stay busy. The lonely, reflective moments are the toughest to get through. But…neither a divorce nor a kid moving off to school are the end of the world, right? :-)

  • Jillian says:

    Hello Swati,

    I can only try to imagine the adjustment that one has to face when facing such a large transition in their lives. It is good that you are a strong, independent women!

    I enjoyed your article in, especially since I have been practicing yoga for over ten years and it is the meditation that keeps bringing me back. It seems that we have had similar experiences with trying to calm the monkey chatter in our heads. Come visit at

  • Lesley says:

    Hi Swati-monster!
    Forget anything deep and meaningful from me – just silliness!
    I keep reading “post-divorce RAT” for some reason – maybe Freudian, and got to thinking that rats really DO make better pets than ex-husbands. They are caged and don’t have attorneys. They only live about 2 yrs (not 12), are furry & affectionate and will instantly look darling to you compared to your ex, and they only cost $6 at the pet shop – far far less than the divorce. Unlike your kids, they eat everything you give them! As an added bonus, I think it’s safe to assume that if you carry a rat around with you in your purse, you are bound to get brisk service as people try to avoid you and free meals in restaurants where you brandish your rat! smile!

  • Swati says:

    Tiffany – such a good point…it’s so hard to not lose yourself once you become “mommy,” regardless of your circumstances.

    Robin – as always, you are so right, lady! Chin up, chin up….!

    Jillian – Thanks for coming here and to my Working Mother Mag blog. I so appreciate the support! I am impressed you’ve been doing yoga for 10 years…will be right over to read about it.

    Lesley – as always, you crack me up Babe!

    – Swati

  • Swati, what a great piece. I was married before I married my current husband and though we did not have children together, I can identify with much of what you are saying. Well-written – thanks for being real and honest about a sad topic that makes many of us feel conflicting emotions. Also, I tried to leave a comment for you on the Working Mother site but had trouble doing so. Loved your Raj Yoga piece – I need to do this!!!

  • I just added your blog site to my blogroll, I pray you would give some thought to doing the same.

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