Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Just one more thing...

(Title to be read in the voice of Columbo)

Hi friends.

It's been a while.

More than a while.  It's been a year and two months.

I felt like there was one more issue that I needed to discuss.  An issue that affects more expats than we like to admit, because we all think we're going to be the ones to stay on the "right" side of statistics.

And that, dear readers, is the issue of divorce.

Living in a new country, in a place where the language is different and the rules for everything are different... Well, it will make a person question nearly everything.  Being newly married also does the same, but being newly married and in a new country is far more intense a crucible than some relationships can handle.  If you're not careful, or if both parties aren't completely honest beforehand about what they want (for themselves, for the other person, and for the relationship as a whole), the issues magnify quickly.

As difficult as it is, I think this can be a good thing.

As much as divorce can be truly awful, it's just as awful to stay in a relationship that should not continue.  I firmly believe that if a relationship is going to go wrong, it's best that it happen after only a couple of years, instead of waiting for all of the issues to slowly bubble to the surface.

So that both parties can move on to happier things.

I won't go into the process of how the whole thing works, as ours may have been unique, since I live in the US now.  Suffice it to say, it's a long, emotional process.

But I have been lucky.  When I moved back to the US, I decided to try living somewhere new, and it is a decision that I have not regretted for a second.  I've been happier here in Seattle than I can ever remember being, and I have found scores of amazing friends who have been incredibly supportive and just downright amazing.

Is it possible to feel blessed if you're not even remotely religious?  Maybe not, but I do feel grateful.

Divorce is hard.  Neither party usually comes out of it looking particularly good.  But it definitely forces you to take a hard look at yourself and the kind of person you want to be going forward, and the kinds of people you want to surround yourself with.  And as someone who has always been an advocate of self-honesty, I think that's a wonderful thing.

I say all of this mostly to give you hope.  Those of you who are struggling with a relationship that is struggling to handle the crucible.

My advice is this - Do what you can to make it work, but also recognize when you've done all you can.  And then find somewhere that makes you truly happy, and people who make you feel grateful to be alive every day, and hold onto those things.  Change is scary, but being stuck in a bad situation is even scarier.

I flew to Denmark one last time this past weekend, and my divorce became official yesterday.

And I'm okay.  I'm more than okay.

You will be also be okay.

And you will be a wiser, more confident person than you ever thought you could be.

And those are invaluable things.

Good luck to you, reader.  I hope you find the things that make you happiest and that you get to enjoy those things for the rest of your life.