The following is part one of a three part series featuring an excerpt from Tamsen Fadal’s book, The New Single: Finding, Fixing and Falling Back in Love With Yourself after a Breakup or Divorce.
“It’s better to be alone, than lonely with someone.”
In 2007, I was married in The New York Times. In 2012, I was divorced in the New York Post. Not exactly a Cinderella story, but it is my story. In this flawed fairy tale, Prince Charming and I ran a matchmaking business. A young couple, married and in love, helping other people find love. What could be more perfect?
To top off the romance, we wrote two books together teaching women how to date. Why Hasn’t He Called? was the first, followed by Why Hasn’t He Proposed? When the story of our divorce hit the papers, the joke was that our third title should be: Why Didn’t I Leave Sooner? There were many nights that I asked myself that very question — but I wasn’t laughing.
There are many things I learned from co-running a matchmaking business. Everyone wants to find the one. Everyone thinks about it, talks about it, dreams about it, and even pays for it — both literally and metaphorically.
Most people are also willing to do just about whatever it takes to find and hold on to the one. If and when things go wrong, no one seems to know what to do next. You’re not supposed to want to start over in your thirties, forties, or fifties, so the marriage experts don’t usually put that part in the manual — I know we didn’t.
Because my divorce played out in an embarrassingly, mortifyingly, nauseatingly public spectacle, I found that I had to take control of my suddenly single new life in a hurry. I had to learn that being a newly divorced woman brought out all sorts of craziness in myself, my friends, and in the men I eventually started dating.
Everyone had advice for me. Some of it was quite good and some of it was simply dreadful. It was up to me to sift through endless, and sometimes hurtful, “suggestions” about how to live my new life and decide what made sense for me. I’ve written this book to share what I learned from others and my own experiences about starting over in the twenty-first century. I wrote this book especially because I came to understand the importance of regaining your emotional, intellectual, and physical wholeness if you want to successfully recover from a divorce.
Think about it. You were one-half of a couple before you were divorced. You saw yourself as a part of a larger whole, but that whole no longer exists. Who you become now is up to you. Will it be your own true fully actualized self, or a diminished version of the person you could and should be? I hope you will choose the former path, as I did. This book is here to help you along the way. I didn’t tell most of my friends or any of my coworkers about my separation. I lost weight. I never slept. I wasn’t myself. I cried a lot. I kept to myself. People thought I was upset because I was over forty and trying to have a baby. Little did they know the reason for my private anguish: the end of my marriage.
Tamsen Fadal is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.