How To Overcome A Divorce In Your 20s | sheerluxe.com
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At just 27, Alice Judge-Talbot found herself divorcing the father of her two young children and the man she’d been with since she was 18. Sad as that sounds, Alice says it was the making of her. From how it inspired a career change, to how she rediscovered her freedom, here she tells us more…

I used to think divorce was the lowest you could go…

When I was growing up my parents had a wonderful relationship, and their example was a big contributing factor to the aspirations I had for a family of my own. I never imagined I’d get divorced, let alone before most of my friends were even married. In actual fact, my divorce was the making of me. Having been with my ex-husband since I was 18, I’d never been an adult alone, so finding myself single at 27 has been a journey of self-discovery which has turned me into the driven woman and loving mum I am today.

You find out who your friends are…

The acquaintances I’d made through my children seemed to back off, as if they were scared my divorce would be infectious. Certain friends and family members backed away too, sending polite yet distanced condolences while giving the impression it was more comforting for them to keep away and draw their own conclusions than discuss an uncomfortable truth. This hurt the most; relationship splits are shocking and sad to all involved, not just the couple, but it’s essential to be surrounded by support and love to get you through it.

Some of my good friends really stepped up and were my rocks in ways they hadn’t been before, and these incredibly close friendships are some of the things I treasure most in my life now.

With two children under two, falling apart wasn’t an option…

Regardless of getting divorced, I still had two young children to support, so I threw myself into my work (which was in advertising at the time), and between making sure my children were happy and launching myself back up the career ladder, I didn’t leave much scope for feeling sorry for myself.

I rediscovered my freedom on a spontaneous trip to New York…

When my divorce was imminent, I booked a spur-of-the-moment ticket to visit a friend in the US. Being away from my husband for the first time in ten years helped me find the spark I’d lost, and I started to feel comfortable regaining my former freedom. I realised that although I’d fallen out of love with my husband, I was still in love with myself. My trip was a time of self-discovery; the city itself now feels so important to me I’ve made a point of returning every year.

When you’re married, it’s so easy to get stuck in the monotony everyday life. Taking yourself away – whether to New York or even just New Malden – is a great way to gain perspective on a situation.  

I realised I’d been living in the shadow of my ex’s career…

My former husband was a very successful live music promoter; following our split, I realised I’d unconsciously been putting his career ahead of mine for a long time. Two years after my ex-husband left I was promoted from an Account Director to Head of Marketing and I couldn’t believe the joy I found in my own success – I began to have faith that I really was capable and strong enough to handle anything life threw at me.

I became a bit of a feminist…

As well as becoming my family’s breadwinner, I found myself taking on ‘man jobs’; I’d never put up a shelf, taken out the bins or tackled the council tax before – but I felt empowered doing everything for the house. I’d never have described myself as a feminist before but now I know women are the strongest beings. 

The children have got used to spending time between homes…

They were so young when we split (twenty months and six-months-old at the time) and they’re now used to the enforced time apart. When they’re with their dad and stepmum I know they’re in good hands. That said, they’re starting to get twitchy about when they’ll get to visit America with me.

I pursued a career change – twice…

I loved working in advertising but the long hours and travelling meant I felt I was always letting someone down – whether it was my team by leaving work early or my children by getting back late. I decided to quit my job and launched my own freelance marketing consultancy, A&Co, where I worked on strategies for clients including Penguin Random House, Thai Leisure Group and Somerset House.  But despite working flexibly I was still clocking 60 hours a week, and with my blog bubbling away in the background as my true passion project, I was desperate to be able to focus on it full-time – with its mix of writing, creativity and business, it ticked all my career boxes.

Eventually I made the jump. At first I was concerned that in giving up my valuable clients, I’d miss the regular payday or wouldn’t find blogging as lucrative as my consultancy. Thankfully I’m still loving it and I’m on track to net more for the second half of 2017 than 2016 – I also have plans to write a book next year, which will fulfil a life-long ambition.

I now promote mothers at work as much as possible…

A focus of my blog – More Than Toast – is advising women, particularly mothers, on getting ahead. Sexual discrimination is still very real, particularly in the sectors I’ve worked within, and I’m passionate about empowering other women to know they can enjoy as much success as their male counterparts.

Of course, there were hard times…

When I was mid-divorce I felt somehow a lesser person, a bad mother – I got bogged down in my own failure and spent a long time feeling guilty for letting my children down. But on the contrary, by separating before our relationship got so bad we couldn’t bear each other, my ex-husband and I did the very best thing for all concerned. The kids have a lovely dad who might not live with us but is as involved to the best of his circumstances, and they’re being brought up by a hardworking mum who’s dedicated to giving them the best childhood possible.
 

ALICE’S TIPS FOR OVERCOMING DIVORCE…

  • Avoid comparing yourself to others: There’s a sense of competitiveness in everything, from our careers to our friendships, family and social lives, and if you’re not operating at 100% all the time it can feel like you’re failing… it’s exhausting. Do things your way and focus on yourself.
  • Give yourself headspace: It’s so important to step back from this incessant train of life and give yourself headspace – try to build this into your daily routine.
  • Remember to treat yourself: Find the small things in life that bring you joy – whether they’re in nature, friendships, a hot soak in a bath or clean sheets – and remember to stop and appreciate these things, or life will just pass you by. I’d be nothing without my weekly time out to watch The Good Wife in the bath!
  • Keep your chin up: Most importantly, remember you’re doing the right thing for yourself and you can do this.

 

 

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