Friend to Friend: 10 Things I Would have Told 27 Year Old Me–> Going Through a Divorce.

There is so much heartache out there.  I get many emails each week from women out there that are hurting.  From loss or divorce, from breakups to loneliness.  I find myself at my computer crying just reading about some of the things you are going through.

Here are a few of the things I would tell myself at 27 (and a few things that I did do) back then and maybe it will help any of you that are going through a divorce/breakup/separation:

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1.  “Go forward in great faith.  The best lies ahead.” -Gordon B Hinkley.  It seriously does.  I remember my early morning runs gave me the biggest testimony of that truth.  Each morning I would be out in the complete darkness for my run.  It was so dark I could barely see my hand in front of my face without a headlamp ha.  At some point along the way, whether that was 1.5 miles into the run or 9 miles into the run, the sun always came up.  It never didn’t come up.  It was my daily reminder that whatever we are going through, the light does come.  It might take a lot longer than we hoped for but at some point it comes.  At some point you will be grateful that things happened the way they did.  At some point you will have to put your sunglasses on because it’s almost too bright out there while you are running.  Move forward and get excited for goodness ahead or at least not feeling what you feel at that moment.  I sure wish during that time I could have peaked into my future ahead with the addition of Andrew, Knox, Skye and Beretta into Brooke’s and my world but I didn’t have the details of our future… I just knew that we had a lot to look forward to.

2.  Another relationship is not going to make you feel whole or complete.  I was POSITIVE at the time that it would… which is why I started dating way too soon after I left California.  I look back on that time and realize that dating and searching for someone to fix me quickly made things worse.  It made the drama more extreme and the heartache triple at times.  Just know that you can start dating again whenever you are ready.  Whether that be 6 months or 5 years.  You know your heart, you know what’s best for you but take time to remember that somebody else isn’t going to fix you.  I feel like we can’t find the right one until we have fixed ourselves on our own.

3. Feel every little thing that you need to feel.  Don’t try to numb it, don’t try to find a buffer to get you through the day to avoid all of your feelings, F.E.E.L. it.  I am the expert at finding buffers to avoid feeling the stuff that really hurts but I wish I could go back to that time and grieve when it happened, rather than a year later.  God gave us those feelings for a reason so when they come you gotta just figure them out and move onto the next one rather than bottle them inside and let them explode out a year later.

4.  To go along with the above suggestion… I think our society is currently obsessed with being busy.  Being busy is another buffer.  I look back at that time of hurt and see that I booked myself to the max.  I think I had each meal of the day packed with friends or going places and kept moving from the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep.  My real healing didn’t come until I slowed down.  It allowed me time to think, feel and renew.  Being busy is just another buffer for me that keeps me from feeling what I need to feel.  I would go back and tell my 27 year old self to keep including some time with people and doing the things that helped me to feel better but to cut out all of the extra so I had time to rest and process.

5.  Find the little pieces of joy in each day.  SEARCH for them.  When life hits the fan it is easy to only see the rain clouds but if you look for the bright spots, you can absolutely find them.

6.  Your worth has absolutely nothing to do with what somebody else thinks about you.  Nada.  Zilch.  <— Please do not forget this one.  There is no one on the planet that can take away your worth so remember that what other people think of you is none of your business.    No matter what they did you to in the past, DO NOT let their actions/thoughts/words to you continue to take you down.  Don’t give ANYBODY that power.  This is definitely something I wish I understood better when I was 27.

7.   Healing takes work.  Uggggg.  I would have hated hearing this one back then ha.  I just wanted it all to eventually disappear.  And while time does help in so many ways to lessen the pain, it takes work.  It took therapy for me, it took journal writing, it took study (religious for me personally) and it took cutting things out that weren’t helping me to heal.  Expect to do some work to get through it.

8.  Trust God’s plan for you!  This one might not be for everyone but for me it really helps especially now that I can look back.  God’s plan is beautiful.  If I look back on the last ten years of my life I can see exactly how perfectly things have worked out even though it took a bajillion lessons to get there (and I’m sure there are even more lessons than that up ahead).  He knows what we need to learn and how we need to get to become the people we are meant to be.  It takes some refining and it’s usually different than we would have expected but it is perfect and I’m so incredibly thankful for the turns my life took.

9.  Cut the relationships (or at least put them on pause) that do not help you and only hold you back.  Whether there is a lot of drama with your mutual friends or your old in-laws or whatever… your relationship is done, you do not need people adding to your sadness at this point.  I think I would go back and tell myself that I always need to be kind to others BUT I do not need to put time/feelings into relationships that bring me even more down or even more into the drama.

10.  You can do hard things.  You’ve proven it to yourself 100% of the time in your life so far so feel confident in your ability to bounce back eventually because you will again and again throughout your life.

11. (I thought of another one:) Create a plan.  That plan might not actually happen but dream big to give yourself some hope.  I remember that I decided my new normal was much different than I expected it to be but that wasn’t going to stop me from creating some HUGE goals.  I made the goal to go back to school (didn’t happen), grow my blog to X amount of hits per month and work with some big brands (that did happen),  religious goals (that did happen) and a few more.  Having goals for me as AN INDIVIDUAL got my heart pumping again, looking forward to the future and realizing that I now had the chance to go for the things I wanted and it was amazing.

***BONUS:  Please spoil yourself a bit.  Take yourself to dinner.  Go to your favorite yoga class.  GET THE PEDICURE (often).  Stay in bed on a Saturday and read all day.  You are going through a lot emotionally right now and you need this right now.  Say no to the things you don’t want and say YES way more often to the things you love.  For me, running was my favorite way to spoil myself during this time and to take time each day to focus on myself.  It helped me immensely each morning to get up and go meet my running friends for a run.  BUT I know that taking a break from running is needed for a lot of people during hard times too.  Pay attention to what you need and do it.  Running is there to help you get through the rough stuff but it will always be there when you are ready for it if you need to take some time off.

Remember, the relationship is over.  There is no need for anymore drama (YIPEE… I remember that feeling so nice when I would go to bed at night in my parents’ basement after leaving).  Now is the time to show your strength and who you really are.  Follow your instincts and show off your class.  More growth will come to you during this time than any other time in your life.  This is your chance to become the person you’ve always wanted to become and I’m sure you have a lot of eyes watching you along the way that see you as an example.

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Who has been divorced?  Separated?  Through a crazy break-up?  

What has gotten you through the really hard things?

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110 comments

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I so needed to read this. My husband left me after 26 years of marriage. I was blindsided and shocked. It has been the hardest time in my life. I didnt have the energy or heart to run very much, but am finally getting back on track. I will hopefully be running my 10th marathon this spring. It helps to know I’m not alone and that other people have made it to the other side strong and happy. Thank you for your wise words.

Val

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Val. Oh my goodness. 26 years. I want to cry for you. You are NOT alone. There is so much brightness up ahead but it is sure going to hurt to get through this time. I would love to be your email penpal whenever you need someone to talk to that understands a bit (my 1st marriage was not 26 years though). Praying for you.

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Thank you for your kind words. I say haven’t been to church in a few years, life got busy, but would pray every night. I prayed so much when my life fell apart , and lost faith when it seemed prayers did not help . It’s hard to have faith when ones world has crumbled. Curious, other thoughts?

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Wow! Like Val, my husband left…also after 26 years, too! (Conspiracy?? ;) This was a little over three years ago. And like Janae and Val, running and marathons, family and faith kept me going. My running group was key. I didn’t necessarily need to share everything with them (though I could’ve in total trust), but the routine of showing up every day to run with them kept me focused and grounded, and they found many different ways to remind that I’m okay and I will continue to be okay. And while I agree it’s important not buffer ourselves or hide from our feelings, I also made a huge effort not to get stuck in the anger and resentment. Sometimes, though, without my asking for it, my group would vent for me the angry feelings I trying to move through. :)

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WOW… 26 years too. I can’t even imagine what you two have been through. I am SO grateful that you had that running group to meet with each day! You are so right about making the choice to not get stuck in those negative feelings, thank you for sharing. I hope you are doing well and I wish we could all go out and grab some ice cream together tonight and talk.

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Val, I am so sorry. I am 40 years old and have never wanted to get married… Partly because I’ve wanted to protect myself from heartbreak. I just wanted to let you know that IF you decide to love again, then I wish you all the happiness. But please know that being on your own CAN be wonderful. I wish you much strength and I know that after some time, you will feel whole again.

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What a great post on a tough topic. Thank you for sharing your story and advice in such a positive way! I survived a divorce – almost 10 years ago. I definitely agree to spend the time to work on yourself before you start dating. It took me four years before I was ready to date. I spent a lot of time on myself and my family and developing female friendships during those 4 years. It wasn’t until I was comfortable knowing that it would be OK and I would have a great life even if I ended up alone that I was ready to date. And once I was dating I used some very good advice a wise woman taught me “If he’s a maybe he’s a no”. If I had any question at all in my mind about whether a guy was right for me I trusted that God was speaking to me and quickly moved on. It worked for me and I remarried about two years ago! And as happy as I am remarried, I look back on those single years after the divorce as some of the best years of my life!

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Okay, your advice is PERFECT.

I have about 10 friends I am going to share ‘if he’s a maybe he’s a no.’ Thank you Jo for opening up and I am so happy that you were able to learn, grow and develop some amazing bonds during that time and that you are married to an amazing person now! Have a beautiful day. and I agree, those friendships during those single years are incredible.

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I have not been through a divorce or big breakup in years BUT I think this is such great advice for anything in life that ends and is difficult. What a wonderful thing to share, lots of hugs and so so so happy that you are in such a better place now.

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Oh thank you Beth! I hope you have a wonderful night!

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I am a single mom to a 16 month old little girl named Lily. I have been reading your blog for years and relate to you now more than ever. Thank you for sharing your life and being such a positive influence. You are a ray of sunshine for those of us going through difficult days!

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Lily is so incredibly lucky to have you (I LOVE her name). Keep me updated with how you are doing and I’m always here to chat when you need. Thinking about you and thank you so much for your comment!

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I love this post! I was married at 19 & left when he became physically abusive six months later. My parents had divorced (after 26 years) and I swore I’d never do it! Little did I know what was up ahead. I look back and wonder how that 19 year old girl had the strength to get out, but I know I was carried out by the grace of God! I never regret getting myself out of that nightmare. I’m happily remarried to a great guy for 18 years now and we have 5 beautiful children. I wish I would’ve had more therapy after the first marriage but I have learned it’s never too late to get help from trauma. I love that what I went through has helped me to empathize with others going through separation/divorce.

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Thank you so much for sharing Sarah! You are a strong woman and I am so happy that you are in a beautiful situation right now.
I’m so grateful you got out of that situation, how awful!!!
Your kiddos are so lucky to have you as an example of continuing to be strong, help others and get help when you needed it. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful week!

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I haven’t been through a divorce or separation, but know a few that have, and someone who really needs to leave a very toxic marriage. This post is so perfect for her!
Thank you Janae!! I look forward to more of your Friend to Friend posts ❤️❤️

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Thank you so much Wendy! Sending prayers to that friend of yours!

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Hi Hungry Runner Girl,
Thanks for the god send post. I just had the worst week because I made a mistake at work and some people have been terribly unkind and this incident totally shook my self confidence and my perspective. I have been feeling so sad and tearing up every time I think about it. so your points about being able to do hard things and that the sun will come up have been really encouraging. thanks for the post and I’m so happy that you found your sunlight!

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Annie, I AM SO sorry and upset at these people for being so mean to you at work! YOU CAN and will do hard things and hopefully they start to be more kind and forgiving about what happened. Thinking about you and keep me updated with how you are doing please.

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Excellent advice and insight Janae! I always like the remember that there is JOY after sorrow….just like the sun rises every day.

Keep on being a ray of sunshine Janae!

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Sure love you and thank you for helping me through those tough times. Your friendship is so important to me!

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Thank you so much for this post! Within the past week I split with my live-in BF, who I thought was forever. At the age of 40. On top of being a caregiver for a family member in hospice. While I know life is cyclical and this is just a down turn, it’s hard to not be consumed by it all and lose the ability to see happiness. Thank you for bringing hope, guidance and positivity into a dismal situation. I am so appreciative.

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Penny. My heart is broken for you. I am so incredibly sorry. You are in my prayers and I’m ALWAYS here if you need someone to email with you. Thinking about you.

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I’m in the process of a divorce. My husband and I are separated, but we speak every day. Our marriage just crashed in the last couple of months to where he and I weren’t getting a long. We fought each day, struggled to communicate, and forgot how to love one another. We tried so hard to fix our marriage, but it was exhausting. I was (am?) married for 8 years and with him for 10. I had a fantastic marriage. I’m so proud of it. It was as close to perfect, but when the summer of 2018 came, my husband had a stint where he got into trouble and went to psychiatric care. He was never the same and we just couldn’t mesh. I loved reading this though and it’s comforting to read there is hope. I’ve been going through the 5 stages of grief and I’m finally over the sad part. My heart is ever so slowly healing. But I’m thankful I still have my husband here to allow me to get happy, sad, and angry at him. He supports me and I him. It’s a weird thing we’ve figured out. But I’ll always love him. But there is someone out there who will love me the way I deserve.

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Brooke, I am so incredibly sorry for everything that you have been through since this last summer. I am so happy you are healing and through the sad thing. It sounds like you are both figuring out what is best for the situation and I hope you’ll keep me updated with your future and all of the brightness up ahead. Thinking about you Brooke!

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Favorite post. ever. <3 <3 Thanks for being so open with us! Jesus. Girlfriends. & taking time for myself (2 small kiddos) made all the difference when it came to my divorce! I knew I couldn't pour from an empty cup so scheduling some "me" time was key!

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Oh course Katie! Your little ones are the luckiest to have you and yes yes yes to what you said! I hope you are having a wonderful day Katie and I always love hearing from you (and your picture always makes me want to be on a beach:)

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Thank you <3 Have a great weekend too! & Yes! Let's go to the beach! I know it's so cold here & where you are!

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We went through divorces around the same time. Only I was in my 40’s. My ex-husband finally revealed to me a year after separation that he was transgender and at this time he lives as a woman. I like to pride myself of being very loving and excepting of all people. I really struggled between hating him and projecting that on all transgender people. It was quite a difficult course and I was so mad. Everything you list is important. Luckily at my age I wasn’t worried about finding another relationship. This was my second marriage and my 4 kids were from my first marriage. I could never have imagined my life being this amazing and I’m grateful I made it through strong. My quote was, “this too shall pass”. I’m not religious but this mantra gave me my sanity.

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Kathee, you are amazing. That quote is everything and 100% right. You sure have been through a lot and I love that we’ve been able to cheer for each other along the way!!
Can I be creepy and show you what you said to me a few years ago….
“I work a ton and my own blog has suffered because of my divorce that started in December and was final in June.
Big hugs and I hope you find peace in your heart. I do know how it feels and the only advice I can give you is to be strong and know that you can do whatever you have to do, no matter how difficult the task may be.”

I hope you know that you helped me a lot with your words and knowing I wasn’t alone and I still remember your words.

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That is so awesome! It may be virtual hugs and support but it really does help! It’s not creepy at all and I am so glad you read it and it helped. I love to see how happy you are now.

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As of yesterday I have been divorced for two years after 19 years together. One thing I’ll add to your list is to let go of expectations. I expected to “be fine” sooner than I was. To be dating within a year. None of that has happened but I am doing good most days. And when I have a bad day, I follow your advice and FEEL it, eat ice cream and watch it pass. I never thought I’d be strong enough to do that a year ago. To all the others reading this, you are not alone!

And there’s nothing like exercise to change your mood! If that fails, ice cream!

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YES. YES. YES. Oh I completely agree with this advice. You are doing an amazing job and I want to mail you some ice cream right now. Keep me updated with how you are doing!

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Thank you for this! I’m not going through a tough time in my relationship, but I recently had a miscarriage and SO MUCH of this advice is what I needed to hear! I’m working on the not packing my schedule, saying no to things I don’t want to do, and staying away from people who say toxic things. Thank you, thank you <3

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Oh Erin. This breaks my heart. I am so incredibly sorry and I pray for so much brightness up ahead for you. Miscarriages are incredibly painful. I’m thinking about you.

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LOVE this, Janae! And I love seeing how you’ve been so strong through your journey and were able to find Andrew.

God has definitely gotten me through the worst heartache I’ve ever had. I think part of the reason that He brought me out to California was to heal my heart and to remind me that He is sufficient and all I need. He’s surrounded me with so much love and trained and equipped me in ways I never could have imagined.

Thank you for sharing your heart, my sweet friend.

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I totally agree with you… California was just what you needed! Go enjoy some Menchies and a sunset at the beach today:) .

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I love how your comments can apply to any rough times or relationships. A few years back my husband and I went through a traumatic period with one of our kids. It was awful and I still have some PTSD but it’s amazing looking back and seeing how the path was necessary and perfect. Glad for a calm in the storm now, and that child is doing amazingly well, and set to graduate from college next year.

I shared your paragraph about people not controlling our emotions with another one of my kids this AM. She’s having some pretty major issues with some former friends. Thanks for the reminder and great perspective! 😊❤️

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Oh Jan, that sounds absolutely terrible but you are so right about that path being needed and part of the plan. I’m so happy that child is doing so well. Tell her that all that matters is how she feels about herself and how God feels about her (which is unconditional love:) . Thanks for your comment Jan and I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.

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I walked away from my first marriage after a very tough time. And I had so much guilt. That’s what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to feel guilty for doing something that would make us both happier. But I found that I had done such a good job hiding the bad, that everyone was surprised by my filing for divorce. So they assumed it was a quick decision. So my advice is to know your story. Know if you tried to make it better, know if you worked hard to save that relationship. And if it didn’t work and you ultimately had to make the tough decision to leave, know that is the best thing for everyone. Don’t let anyone dictate your story.

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Okay. This advice is absolutely perfect. Thank you for sharing this…. because in situations like this everyone thinks they know what your relationship is but that can’t matter… KNOW YOUR STORY. Thank you Megan and I hope you have a beautiful day.

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Megan – thanks for sharing this. I’m also going through a similar situation. I left after an unhappy 5 year marriage but I hid alllll the bad so people are surprised. He’s even surprised. Know your story. Stand tall. Be courageous and make your younger self proud.

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Megan this sounds a lot like my divorce a year and a half ago. I was the person who left, knowing 100% in my heart that it was what was best for BOTH of us in the long run. My marriage wasn’t bad by most conventional standards, I just knew that my husband and I were enabling each other to not strive for more out of our lives. I am not a “sharer” and my divorce filing shocked my family and friends . I struggled with so much guilt and shame that others projected on me, because they did not know the full story. I was also accused of making a rushed decision. I learned so many lessons, one of them being to not shut out those who care about you and to let people in more. Another being to not let anyone tell you how you should feel. I love what you said “my advice is to know your story.”

The other fun part of my divorce story is that I work with my ex sister-in-law :) So you can imagine the challenges involved in that relationship. Overall I am a better person after my divorce and I truly believe that everyone has to learn certain lessons in order to make it through their life, how we learn them though is variable. Thanks for such a great post Janae!

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Thank you for this post- wise words.

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Oh thank you Kimberly. I hope you have a beautiful day!

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I absolutely love this post. I went through a nasty divorce a few years ago. I never wanted to get divorced (who does?!) But I found myself married to an abusive alcoholic and I had to get out. It was terrible and the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m happier than ever. I have gone back and re-read your divorce posts and single mom posts a LOT. One thing I struggle with now is feeling alone – my ex has moved on with a new family and on my side of things it’s just my son and I. My only advice there is just to focus on the things I CAN do which is just be the best mom I can and make the most of our life – which is peaceful, happy, and secure, which hopefully is one of the best gifts I can give my son. Really really loved this post and your honesty.

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Oh Samantha, that is terrible … I am SO happy that you were able to get out of that situation. I can totally relate to that feeling of loneliness (it was SO hard) but I love your advice. I look back at that time with just me and Brookie and I’m very thankful. It was a time I could spend so much time with her, learn more about myself and have so many great memories. Keep me updated with how you are doing. Your son is so lucky to have you!!

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I am about 4 years past a divorce (we were together 25 years, married 15) and I can say it was emotionally the hardest time of my life. It was hard to continue to care for my kids, go to work and just live. BUT, with a little self care and time, I got through it. What worked for me was starting to focus on my individual goals. Finding some joy in some things just for me and doing them. Staying busy and focusing on fun things got me up in the morning and kept me motivated. Don’t underestimate how the stress of the separation/divorce will affect you. I had serious fatigue for about a year after my husband moved out from the intense stress of it all. I cut way back on exercise and got a lot more sleep. It’s what I think my body needed. Listen to your body and do it. If that means working out super hard-do it. If that means taking off 3 months from the gym-do it. Know that the hard times will pass and brighter things are coming your way but you have to get through this to get to the good stuff. Just because this relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean another one won’t. Listen to your heart and body and take care of yourself. And, I wholly agree with not dating too soon. Dating can be fun but it also can be emotionally stressful. I waited 18 months to start dating and by that time I was looking forward to seeing who was out there. Don’t date until you are sure of who you are and what you want. And, if you have kids, try to always take the high road in co-parenting. It’s VERY hard sometimes but you’ll be proud of yourself in the end. Your kids didn’t ask for this divorce so don’t make them suffer for decisions the adults in their lives made. And, finally, you are strong enough to get through this, but if you need help, ask for it (from mental health professionals, friends, family, etc). Help is out there and can be invaluable in getting over bumps along the way.

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Wow, Elizabeth… 25 years together. You are a strong woman and your kids are lucky to have you for such a great example. That is VERY true about the effect of stress on our bodies (mine showed up in crazy stomach problems). I LOVE your advice. Thank you for sharing… I hope everyone reads this!

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What a beautiful, helpful, and positive post! I also had a terrible experience in my 20s and had to leave an abusive long-term relationship — the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I wish I had read this post at the time, it took me a long time (and several mistakes) to recover from it. Thank you so much, this is a beautiful post.

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Oh thank you Natalia and I am so sorry about what you have been through. You sound like an amazing woman and thank goodness for the lessons we have learned along the way. Keep in touch with how you are doing and I hope you have a beautiful day!

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Great post – I like the friend-to-friend section a lot so far! :) I think we all have been through some times in our lives that we can relate to your post. I personally went through a breakup from my fiance about 6 years ago (now I’m married and grateful for the new beginning). One thing that I did that got me through my sadness was I wrote down some scripture or quotes (religious for me) that I would keep in my purse and anytime I felt the sting of tears coming on because a memory was triggered, I passed him driving on the road, etc. I would take out the quotes and read them over and over to myself. My very favorite thing that I would say to God on repeat is “God please be my strength, because I have none” and he WAS and IS my strength. God brought me to the fire and THROUGH the fire and out the other side and he will do that for ALL of us at ANY stage throughout our lives. (Sorry for YELLING – I get super passionate about God). Thanks again for sharing, have a happy day!

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This gave me goosebumps. EXCELLENT advice Sara. Thank you so much for sharing this and I will use it in my future if I’m going through something hard. Beautiful words and I love your passion.

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YAY that we (sometimes) get to read two posts of HRG daily! I’ve been divorced twice and I’m 33 – I have times where I’m like wait what?! How did I get here?! But I agree 100% about God’s plan. You can’t see it when you’re going through it, but everything does happen how it’s supposed to happen. It helps me to take ownership of the small decisions that I made along the way that led to how I got here. And now I can take ownership of who I’ve become and how I can shine my light on others. Thanks for sharing how you got through your hard times – and you’re right, the sun ALWAYS comes up!

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Isn’t it crazy when our lives turn out so much different than what we pictured them to be when we were kids/teenagers!? I love what you said about taking ownership of those decisions, yes and yes. Thank you for sharing Miranda and thank goodness for that sun!

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First, Janae, this is an amazingly well-written, thoughtful, spirit-lifting post. (and I am not even feeling down! :) )

I’ve gone through one hard break-up after 2 years of dating. That was back when I was 22 and now I’m 40! I have not been in a serious relationship since then. What helped me the most at that time and basically from the age of 22 until this day was that after that break-up, I decided to remove ALL negativity from my life. Basically point 9. of Janae’s list. It was so freeing. I had a friend who also knew my ex-boyfriend and she was a negative seed so I just cut all ties. Even to this day, I ask myself “do I feel better after being with this person? do they bring joy”? If the answer is no, I don’t spend time with them (unless it’s the obligatory family member. ha!). This may sound selfish but it has worked to make me a very happy person.

Honestly, I LOVE being on my own. I know we are all different and I LOVE to see happy relationships (like Janae’s now :) ). But watching other peoples’ happy families with kids running around and people around ALL the time also makes ME (personally) feel claustrophobic. I know I am a rarity. I love cheesy romantic movies and can appreciate OTHER peoples’ romantic happiness. Because most people (I am an odd one!) want to be with someone. So when someone is searching for love and finds it, I am totally happy in my soul for them. And I love visits from my friends and their children… and I also feel a sense of peace when we part. ha… but getting to the point:

I just wanted to give some hope to people who are feeling lonely after a break-up that you CAN survive and be very happy without a significant other/husband. It’s a different perspective from the norm… So even if this is just a brief period of singledom for you before you find a new love, know that this CAN be a wonderful, freeing, renewing time. REMOVE the negativity – all of it. I remember a quote from an inaugural speech, paraphrasing: “pick yourself up, dust yourself, and begin again.”

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AMANDA! I love learning more about you and your story. Thank you for sharing and you are 1000% on about cutting out that negativity. A question I need to continue to ask myself… thank you for that!
You are doing the exact right thing for you and I LOVE that. Isn’t that what makes life so interesting and exciting, we all want/love/need/crave different things. It’s beautiful. Thank you for this encouragement and that quote is PERFECT for so many situations. Thank you Amanda, your comments are always so uplifting and thought provoking. I really appreciate you.

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I was blindsided when my boyfriend of 13 yrs left me while I was pregnant with our 3rd child. I just had to focus on the baby and try to find joy in her. I tried many different things to help me feel better. I could write a book. Therapy, meditation, prayers and novenas, lots of reading self help books, I even talked to a psychic and went to a shaman to discover my “spirit animal.” It has been 2 years since he left. I didn’t feel better until about 3 or 4 months ago. I’m not sure what flipped inside of me to finally release me of the pain, the anxiety, and the hope that he would realize his mistake.
It takes a long time to heal. That’s not what anyone wants to hear, I’m sure. Just take things one day at a time. I’m with someone new now and I still have some anxiety that what I went through will happen again, but at least now I know I can get through it.

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Oh Sarah. Your story put a pit in my stomach. You are an incredible woman and your three kiddos are so lucky to have you. You are so right, it takes some serious time but I’m SO glad that you are feeling like you again. That is another post I was planning on writing about because I went through some major PTSD/anxiety when I got married to Andrew worried that the same thing was going to happen again. You are not alone with that. I went back to a therapist that helped me a lot and I’ll share all about that soon! You are doing amazing and you are so strong.

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There is more than one blessed path. I’m so happy you found yours. I did too!

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Thank you Leah… I’m so glad you did too. Have a wonderful day!

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I made the decision to leave my first marriage the day before my 27th birthday, and the next couple of years were everything you described- scary, thrilling, sad, invigorating, EMOTIONAL. I’m now very happily remarried with a toddler, and EVERYTHING was so worth it. I am so grateful for my marriage and my life now, because I know what a bad marriage feels like. I love everything you wrote here, Janae! I would just add one more general piece of advice- use your experiences to help others (just as you are doing with this post!)! We help ourselves heal when we use our hard-earned wisdom to support others.

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Oh that is so so true… Andrew and I talk about that often! We don’t get mad over the little stuff because we know what the big stuff feels like ha. I love that piece of advice. I am so happy for you Katherine and I hope you have a beautiful day!

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I went through a divorce at age 29, after almost 6 years of marriage. It was one of the hardest things I have ever been through. The one thing I now know is that people always want there to be a bad guy in a divorce, and that isn’t always the case. But it does make you realize who belongs in your life, and who doesn’t.
One thing I wish I could have told myself then is to allow people to help me. I went it alone and it destroyed me for awhile. When I let family and friends back into to my life, I began to heal.

I love your list, especially to trust in God’s plan. My life is so much better than I ever thought it could be. I am remarried to the most amazing person I’ve ever met, I have a career, SO many goals, and most in importantly, I am HAPPY. God knows what he is doing 😊

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That is excellent advice, thank you so much for sharing. it sure can be hard to be vulnerable and let people help… I get that for sure. I am SO happy for you and your last line… 100% YES.

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I went through a separation then divorce a couple years ago and it was honestly one of the hardest yet best things to happen to me. My relationship was super toxic and abusive and getting out was one of the most freeing feelings, but still came with a lot of heartache and stress (divorce process stress). One thing I found funny about the whole thing, prior to getting married – i used to think I would find so much happiness with a ring on my finger – and getting engaged/married did provide me that feeling temporarily. Finally getting out of that marriage made me realize that the ONLY THING that can make me happy is ME loving myself – not a ring on my finger or “being married.” I am now engaged again to an extremely wonderful guy, and I could care less about the ring, because I am truly happy and in an amazing relationship!

Thanks for sharing your story, Janae! I don’t comment on here much anymore, but I read often, and am so inspired by you! <3

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Krisine, girl… you are strong. I am SO happy you are in such a better place. You deserve the best of the best. The lessons we learned during that time… wow. Love hearing from you and so happy for you.

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Thanks so much for this post. It was so wonderful and inspiring to read. You give me hope that someday I will find happiness.

I have been divorced for almost 4 years now after being married for 18 years. I haven’t dated anyone since and it has been really good for me. At first I was lonely, sad, and trying to figure out how I was going to manage everything all alone with a child to support and no help from family or friends. I have survived and have come to realize that I am a strong, capable, independent woman and that I needed this time away from a relationship to have time for myself to heal from a very bad marriage.

It has not been an easy road for me to travel, but I still get up each and every day to conquer any battles that may come my way and appreciate the small little things that make me smile or bring me joy. I would say for anyone going through a rough time right now, just don’t give up hope, know that you can do it, it will get better and it will be OK.

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Lisa, thank you for sharing your story. 18 years. Wow. I am so glad you have stuck to choosing the right thing for you during this time. You sound incredible and I am very happy you are out of that bad marriage. Keep showing the world that strength and your last line… best advice there is. Thinking about you and praying for so much goodness up ahead for you!

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Thank you for starting this new portion of your blog!! This post could not have come at a better point in my life!! Although, I haven’t experienced divorce and hope to never go through but your advice can apply to many challenges we go through in life. I am at a whole different stage of life, I am caring for my mom who is experiencing dementia and one of my siblings does not agree with how serious the situation is and is quite a bully for lack of a better description. The part where you talk about worth is especially insiteful to me as he is attacking my character. ” There is no one on the planet that can take away your worth so remember that what other people think of you is none of your business. No matter what they did you to in the past, DO NOT let their actions/thoughts/words to you continue to take you down. Don’t give ANYBODY that power. ” This part spoke to my heart today and I am grateful for your posts and what an excellent example you are!!

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Shirley. Oh this must be incredibly hard. I can’t even imagine. Keep me updated with how you and your mom are doing and keep sticking to what you know to be true.

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I have been divorced twice. Ugh. I hate saying that. My first marriage lasted 6 months. My most recent marriage we were together for 8 years, married 6. We have officially been divorced for 2 weeks but we have been separated since September. I got the ball rolling in July 2018. I never thought that we would get divorced. I have loved him since I was 18, I am now 36. We have a beautiful 4 year old and she is my world. I started going back to church when she was 18 months old. I hadn’t been since I was in high school. For me, religion was a huge part of my decision. He loathes the church and it was hard being in a household where satan was so strong. Obviously there is more to it than religion but I learned that I didn’t have to be unhappy. I didn’t have to feel like I was walking on eggshells all the time. I could be a priority to someone. I prayed and prayed for answers on if I should get divorced. It wasn’t until I changed my question to if he would support me in going to church, possibly going through the temple. I just wanted the support. He didn’t have to go with me. I know a lot of couples where one is not active and the other is. I know it is possible. The very next morning after changing my question I had my answer. He texted me and said that he would never support the church and what it stands for and if I couldn’t accept that then we would need to go our separate ways. I can tell you that when I went and filed paperwork to get divorced it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe again. It’s never an easy thing to go through but like you said, we can do hard things. I 100% believe that. Sorry to give you a novel to read. I love reading your posts. You are inspiring and just so real. I love it. Thank you!

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Rachel. You can breathe. That gives me so much happiness. I am so glad you figured out the right thing for you and your little one and I’m praying that everything is going well moving forward and working as a coparenting team. You are amazing and I’m always here if you need to talk to anyone. Thank you for sharing and letting people know they aren’t alone.

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I’ve never been through a breakup–I’ve never actually been in a relationship, but I’ve definitely experienced heartache. It is SO important to let yourself feel the things that need to be felt. For me, journaling is the best place for me to do that; writing my feelings down helps me understand so much better than just thinking or even talking about them.

I know when I was struggling with some major health issues a couple years ago, it was also really important for me to get outside and be in nature. I went on LOTS of walks. I think then I also found a good balance of being alone but making sure I wasn’t alone too much–it’s so important to find those people who are good for you and not cut yourself off. Even just texting good friends who lived far away made a difference! Ben and Jerry’s also helped . . .

Thank you for sharing, Janae–you give great advice!

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Kristin, thank you for sharing your advice. Journaling really is such a therapeutic activity and 100% yes to nature. That is such a good one and friend balance/ice cream yes yes yes to all that you had to say. I hope you have a beautiful day Kristin. PS I hope you are feeling well!

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Wow. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but never commented. This post, and specifically this statement: “Follow your instincts and show off your class. More growth will come to you during this time than any other time in your life” have more meaning to me personally than I can find words for.

You’re so right with all of the above. I’m 13 months out from leaving a 5yr relationship after suddenly finding out he’d been cheating- a lot. I’m out of the woods of grieving now, but I still find such comfort when I connect with others who’ve mourned the loss of a central relationship and all the dreams that it contained.

You don’t need to hear it from a stranger but I need to say it- you are such a strong, strong person. I admire you! How beautiful is it that people can inspire strength in one another during hard times? It gives me such positive good will towards the world, and especially the women in it <3

Thank you for being vulnerable and brave and helping people the way you do. All the best to you and your amazing family.

Susie

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Susie. Ug. I am so incredibly sorry about what you have gone through with your previous relationship. It’s not right. You deserve the best and I’m always here to connect with. I am so happy you are out of the grieving stage now and all of the brightness you have now and up ahead (and it must be so nice to no longer have to worry/think about what he is doing like you had to when you were together). Thank you for your sweet comment… it means the world to me. I hope you have a beautiful day! Please keep in touch. You are amazing.

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#6. I needed to hear #6 today. I’m not going through a break up but I am going through personally changes and I’m sitting at my desk crying because I needed to hear #6. Thank you so much.

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If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m your woman. Thinking about you Katie and don’t forget #6… it is 100% truth.

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I absolutely love what you said about the sun rising without fail. We can move forward, though hard things, with support or by our faith, and each new sun moves us farther from where we’ve been and closer to where we’re headed.
When I left my ex (at age almost 26), I had just finished grad school (and supported him during law school), got my first career position, and moved back to the county where I grew up. The night I moved everything out, my best friend and I sat and talked, then I had a long, detailed dream. I woke up thinking, “I never should have been there in the first place.” The meaning in the dream was of a physical place/someone else’s home, but I took it to mean that the dishonest “place” with him that lacked all integrity was absolutely not my place. I think I had been processing that for many, many months that we were having problems before I left, so that’s probably why it became so crystal clear to me within hours.
In 6 months living with my parents, I started running–at first to give my dog exercise, but then to see how far I could go, learn to set goals, and revel in accomplishing something else hard that was making me a stronger me.
Thank you, Janae, for sharing so much and encouraging others through your experiences.

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Corey, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. Wow, that dream… gave me chills. You have a beautiful story and I am so happy that you found running through it all. You are AMAZING. I hope your day is a beautiful one.

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I went through a tough break up about 5 months ago. It was tough because it was totally unexpected, not because it was mean or because of an argument. I was in pure shock. I felt more lonely than ever and I didn’t allow others to help me. I kept quiet because I didn’t want people to think I was having a pity party. I also let my relationship with God slip. I didn’t spend time in His word which ultimately made me feel even more lonely.

My breakthrough came when I sat down to read the Bible. Not because I was at church or a women’s devotional. I did it on my own time. Then I realized how much I was missing God and how He is the only one that could fill that void I was feeling.

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Sloan, I am so incredibly sorry about what you have been through the last few months. Loneliness is my least favorite feeling. I LOVE what you found to help you and I could not agree more with you. God can get us through everything and fill us up with peace and hope. You are amazing, thank you for sharing.

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I believe that God will not give us anything we cannot handle. He knows our strengths and strengthens us as we turn to Him and put our faith in Him. We may think we have a plan but God has His own plan for us – even if we don’t always like the path it will lead to where we are supposed to be.

I have been married for 18 years now and there have been many rough patches but we have made it through them together and I know there will be rough times ahead. Even in the thick of the ‘bad’ times I look at my husband and I still love him and he’s the only one I want to be having these fights with.

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“He’s the only one I want to be having these fights with”. <-- I love that. Congrats on 18 years and I love what you had to say. Have a beautiful day Erika!

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My husband walked out on me after 13 months of marriage. I had no idea and was totally blindsided. I actually reached out to you via email and you were so kind when I really needed someone to talk to. I am happy to report that I am officially divorced for more than a year and very happily dating someone. I could have never pictured this for myself… but i can definitively say I have grown more than I could ever have imagined in the past 2 years. I oddly wouldn’t trade it for anything.
xx

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Alison. Thank you for emailing me previously and letting me know how you are doing today. You are incredible and I got goosebumps with your last sentence. I completely agree.

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Thank you so so much for this post! I got divorced in 2011. I got remarried in 2015 to an awesome guy. Those years leading up to and after the divorce were SO HARD. Your positivity and hopeful take on things is really uplifting. Thank you for this great advice and thank you for allowing us to be part of some of your journey of healing.

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Thank you for your sweet comment and for sharing your story. I am so happy you remarried such an awesome guy. It’s amazing the things we learn from going through hard things. I hope you have a beautiful day Amanda.

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You write with such wisdom, sometimes I forget you’re a mom in her early thirties;) I broke up with my boyfriend of over a year this summer, right after I was diagnosed with stage 4 Melanoma (brain, right lung and liver metastasis). Needless to say it’s been quite the journey. Our breakup was due, and tbh a relief. The spreading of my cancer was a shock and catastrophic. These 10 points, most of them can help someone going through difficult times. They resonated with me and were very helpful. Taking each day, one at a time, and trusting Gods plan has been the most useful, and sometimes most difficult, advice. Anyway, I’m doing good, my chemo meds are working and God is good. Thank you again for your words of wisdom. I’m sure you’ve helped many others. God bless.

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Angela, I’m crying. I am so sorry about everything you are going through. You are incredibly inspiring to me. God is good. I am so thankful your chemo meds are working and will you keep in touch with how you are doing? I am praying for you. If you are in Utah I am coming to wherever you live to take you to dinner and give you the biggest hug. Thinking about you and I’m always here to talk to !

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Hi Janae, Thank you for the kind words. I live in Ohio, about an hour from Columbus. I’m feeling much bettter and will absolutely update you on my progress. I love your blog btw, good luck on your (crazy!!) run;).

-Angela

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Thank you so so much! I’m cheering for YOU and if I’m ever in Ohio, I’m calling you up. So glad you are feeling much better!

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Great post Janae. Thank you.
I spent nearly 10 years w someone who most likely loved me but didn’t like me. I gave up my apartment and my job to move out of state w him. It ended within 6 months because it wasn’t right. I had to move in w my parents again and start a new career.
I met my husband during my recovery from this and found my career in nursing. We’ve been together 16 years and married for 14. I’ve been a nurse for nearly 13 years.
I remember one night during the bad relationship where I felt utterly alone. I was walking my dog and sat on the sidewalk w him sobbing. I had to keep going, for my dog at that moment. But then for me. Because I deserved love and light. Hope.
Hugs to anyone feeling alone.

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Your story gave me the chills. You are a strong woman and I am so happy for the direction that your life took. Those completely hopeless moments are what make us so strong. Thank you for sharing, I hope you have a beautiful day!

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How do you deal with your feelings about taking Brooke to see her dad? I find that situation so hard!

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I’m not sure it will EVER get easier to say goodbye to Brooke. I am very lucky where I am with Brooke for the majority of the time. I cry, I miss her and I usually do something nice for her that she’ll be excited to see when she gets home (ie I organize her room or make her a treat or add something to her walls). When I got pregnant with Skye Andrew took over taking Brooke because I was so sick and with work/Skye he has continued to take her to California and he just gets a lot of schooling done on the airplane. But when I take her to see him in Utah we all chat for a few minutes and Brooke is so excited to see her dad and step-mom and then always happy to come back to us. In 99.99999% of cases (I think abuse is probably the only thing that it isn’t the case) I think that it is absolutely the best thing for the child to have both of their parents in their lives so when I’m missing her or anxious about her leaving, I think about that a lot. I want Brooke to feel all of the love and know she is loved by all of us. I’m praying for you that this situation gets easier for you. You will never stop missing your little ones but the drop-offs/pick-ups will get easier.

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Write a letter to yourself on futureme.org… outline your dreams and hopes for the future; tell yourself how proud you are of you; and schedule it a month, year, 5 years in advance. This made me smile and remember how far I’d come.

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I LOVE THIS…. I’ve never ever heard about this. I’m going to check it out! Thanks Lora.

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Thank you for this post! I just got divorced and happen to be 27, so your thoughts couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thank you for being so open and honest and encouraging!

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I am so sorry Emily about what you are going through right now. I’m cheering for you and I’m always here if you need someone to talk to.

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Janae, your heart and authenticity are helping so many women – and not just ones going through a divorce or separation! I’ve been married for almost 17 years and have a beautiful relationship with my husband and our five children; however, I have suffered from other losses, threats to my feelings of worthiness and my identity, etc., and I believe a lot of your advice and wisdom can be balm to people in all sorts of heartbreaking situations. Like you, I have a faith that reminds me that hope isn’t just some glittery unicorn to chase in the sky. It’s a theological virtue, purchased with the blood of Christ and made real in His resurrection, and we must always cling to it even when life seems bleak.

I started reading your blog ages ago as a runner. Then I faced a long, frustrating string of injuries and then a new pregnancy with a risk of premature labor, so I didn’t hit the pavement for a lot longer than I would have liked. I had to quit reading running blogs, etc. because they would get me down – except for yours! I kept returning to your words because of your authenticity, your tenacious optimism, your love for life (and not just running), and because I like to eat a whole lot, too. Ha! Now I am grateful to be running again, but I know that even if I have to take another running hiatus, I’ll still pop in here from time to time for a bit of beautiful Janae. Keep sharing your heart, your faith, your running, your hope, adorable pics of your kids, delicious eats, podcast recommendations (Cold is creeping me out but so well-done!), your honesty, dreams, and encouragement. You are a gift! Xoxo

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KATE, it is so good to hear form you and I completely understand giving up running topics when you can’t run (thanks for reading mine though:). I am so happy you are running again and I wish we could go on a run together. Thank you for sharing your story Kate. It is beautiful and we are so lucky to have our hope through Christ in all times, especially the darkest spots. I hope you are having a wonderful Saturday!

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Thank you for your kind words. I would love to run together some day, but you’d kick my old tail. :) Also, I’ve been feeling sheepish and guilty about mentioning my marriage in my comment after this post, especially after I saw so many women sharing their stories of heartbreaking divorces. I was trying to show how universal your wisdom and advice are, Janae, but I could have done so without mentiong my own marriage. To all the broken-hearted out there, this too shall pass. I pray that anyone who feels lonely, abandoned, and/or rejected can find joy, peace, and true love. But even when life doesn’t go as we hoped and planned, we have worth, value, and beautiful lives worth living.

Thank you to Janae and all your courageous women who have shared your hearts! What a beautiful community Janae has built here!

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Love this post and all the suggestions, and I so appreciate your openness and honesty, Janae. (I’ve been reading since college, so probably 8 years now…just one of the shy ones who never comment.) I’ve been through one big breakup before my current boyfriend (who is a complete answer to prayer and I thank God for him every day). That big breakup had a lot to do with broken trust and substance use, so it might be a little different for others, but going to Al-Anon meetings was a huge help for me. (Al-Anon is the group for family/friends of alcoholics.) It helped me to realize that I was NOT crazy, it was GOOD that I left, that I DID deserve to be treated well, it was NECESSARY to set boundaries to protect myself, and I did NOT owe loyalty to someone who had given all of his love and loyalty to his addictions. At the time, those meetings gave me hope, even if it took a long time to really heal.

I think forgiveness for myself was also a huge piece. My relationship with God felt a little rocky on my part for awhile after that breakup, and I definitely made some bad choices because of it. Knowing God forgives us and loves us in spite of our mistakes – and not just knowing but ACTING on that love I know He has for me – completely turned around the way I live and I’m so so grateful for that.

PS: As a therapist, I definitely suggest therapy! I was not able to afford it as I didn’t have insurance at the time, but I have had many clients who are going through breakups/divorce or experiencing the effects years later, and they have made tremendous progress by being able to process and grieve in therapy!

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Dominique! Thank you SO much for sharing your story. I got the goosebumps from reading your story and your knowledge of God forgiving us… I totally agree. YES YES YES to therapy! I have seen therapists over the last 10 years on and off and they have helped me in so many ways. Thank you for helping others!

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A great post Janae. My divorce was the hardest thing I have ever been through, but looking back now I know it made me stronger. Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, it helped me to really find myself again and these days I truly believe it needed to happen in order for me to find the love and happiness I have now. To anyone going through this right now: stay strong. You can do this and you WILL feel better day by day.

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I’m clapping to your comment and I totally agree… It really does help you to find out who you are. Thank you for your advice for others. Have a beautiful Saturday Allison.

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Janae, thank you so much for this post! I’m in the “messy” middle right now as my husband asked me for a divorce back in September which rocked my world and caught me by complete surprise. I had never thought I could be divorced at 33. No legal action has been taken yet so I am hopeful and pray everyday that we are able to seek professional help and get counseling to restore our marriage. I have turned to God in this difficult time and it has been so freeing and peaceful knowing God has a plan and He would not have allowed me to walk through this difficult time if It weren’t for my good. While it’s incredibly painful and hurtful and difficult to see the good in my situation, I am becoming stronger and a better person for having gone through this. However God determines my future, whether that’s to restore my marriage or not, I have faith and trust in Him that he knows what’s best for me. It’s Gods way, not mine.

You’re story has been such a light of hope that wonderful and amazing things can come out of darkness. Thank you for your openness and willingness to share your story!

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Emily. This makes me so sick… I totally get it. I really hope things are able to get worked out. You sound absolutely amazing and your faith inspires me. Thank you for sharing and I would love it if you checked in with me on how things are going for you! You are in my prayers.

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I loved this post and so much good advice collected in one place.
˝Remember, the relationship is over. There is no need for anymore drama˝- so true and this thinking would spare me many tears. I was in a relationship that ended one month after it started, I grieved looong. I tried dating one month after the breakup, put on my best fake smile I could master however my heart cried inside. Then 6 months later I met my now husband. When we’re having rough times, I find myself thinking of my ex and crying and creating more drama.
And I also love the thought of finding pieces of joy in each day. And prayers, exercise, positive mantras…thank you for the reminder! You have great strengh!

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