The First Christmas After Divorce

Posted on December 20th, 2013 by Dr. Nancy

merry-divorcedA life time of magical Christmas Days can create unrealistic expectations for feelings of happiness and joy. When we’re children, we’re eager for Santa bringing gifts and all the goodies to eat and drink. As teenagers, we’re excited to be out of school, spend time with our friends and PARTY! As adults, we assume responsibility to create those same magical memories for our children. But life doesn’t always cooperate and even though we think we’ve steeled ourselves to endure Christmas and make it a happy event no matter what, our emotions can surface in tumultuous ways.

I just finished the first Christmas after my divorce. I never expected or wanted to be divorced. Does anyone? I had planned to stay in the marriage until “death do us part.” But after 42 years of marriage, I found out the kind of news that makes a good Soap Opera. You know the really juicy ones so many people love to watch. Boy meets girl; boy meets another girl and well, you know the ending. None-the-less, It seems strange to me that my family is separated and fractured by a divorce.

To say Christmas for a divorced woman is not the best day ever is definitely an understatement. But I’m a strong, resilient woman. I’ve dealt with my emotions through a very traumatic year. We pulled together to create a loving Thanksgiving for our seven beautiful granddaughters. So when my ex-husband suggested having Christmas at his house and include the extended family, I agreed. The more the merrier, let’s all go back to his house, which used to be our house, and have some holiday cheer. I really thought I would be able to maintain my composure while being surrounded by all that I had left behind, even the two beautiful dogs I was not willing to share custody of.

When I saw him on Christmas Eve, I found out that I may be a professional psychologist, but I’m human too. All of my pent up emotions surfaced and I literally raged at him. I had no idea of the amount of anger I harbored regarding him, and most important, what I had allowed it to do to me. He has moved on and feels no sadness and no regrets. He has found love with his girl friend who happens to be younger than our youngest child. I wonder if he should marry her or just adopt her.

 The Younger Woman Syndrome—Nature or Culture

As they grow older, why do so many men seek to retain their youth through the age of the women they spend their time with? Their attraction is definitely not to “the younger woman’s” high intelligence or fascinating personality. I am so disappointed with the example this sets for my children and grandchildren. And I wonder if my ex-husband’s new girl will stick around to swipe the oatmeal off his face when his physical control declines. Will she still be young enough to find her next “older” man? Is this some form of evolution and survival of the fittest? Once the wife gets beyond child-bearing years, the husband moves on to a woman of child-bearing age to keep the species growing? Whatever it is, it is too common and trite in our society.

Women Must Support Women

I am so tired of women not supporting one another. We are so chained to the media hype that has created this belief among women that what is important is who is the youngest, the thinnest, or the prettiest woman in the room. This set of values has hurt both genders. It’s creating a strain on families that becomes too apparent during the holiday season, which we set aside to show our love for one-another.

I feel like the women in the book, The Red Tent, who are sent from the safety and the pampering they receive during childbirth or menstruation. The younger, fertile, child producing women lie in the tent, drink tea, and enjoy being a girl. Once those days are over the women are sent out to beat the clothes on the rocks, bake the bread, and carry the fire wood to camp. I felt like one of those women who had been kicked out of the tent. However, I am not going to let it get me down. I am going out and getting my own tent… and while I am at it, I’ll get a whole city of tents.

I’ll build a monument to myself and the other women in my life: my girls and my granddaughters. And I’ll fill it with the finest furnishings, delicacies to eat and drink, and most importantly, I’ll fill it with men and women I love and who love me. It is time for women not to fall prey to the emotional discharge of men who cannot love themselves and who fear their own death and dying so much that they need something or someone new to make it all better.

Inspiring Stories from Powerful Women Who Change the World

As we mature, women have such amazing gifts to offer the world. My next book is called LEADING WOMEN: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life. The book is filled with stories of amazing women who can inspire and lift you up to believe in yourself again and to soar and help you take all your passion and desires to make this a better world to live in.

Wake up if you are feeling dismissed, or ignored; wake up and shine and show the world who you are and why you are here. Don’t miss a day to celebrate who you are and what you are made of…grace, style, beauty and a power that you also can use to change the world. I was once told, “Love yourself; love your life, and then love someone else.” That says it all. When you’re faced with a traumatic situation and life seems to have turned upside down, remember the beautiful, lovable woman you are. When you love yourself completely and unconditionally, you have a fountain of love to share with others.

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