As part of a documentary on dealing with adversity I interviewed several women on going through a divorce and raising children on their own. Naturally a divorce brought with it plenty of anxiety, doubts and worries and all of the women had to make some very difficult choices but ultimately prevailed and became stronger and happier in the process.
For Lynanne from Houston, who is raising her two children on her own now, the hardest part is making the right decisions, while teaching her kids how to become responsible and happy adults themselves. There is a natural tendency to second-guess her choices because there is no partner to provide feedback. But as with anything in life there is always a solution to every problem and for her it is friends and family who provide feedback and assistance. This may not be ideal and it was certainly not what she had had in mind, but given the alternative; such as being stuck in an unhappy marriage, constantly arguing in front of the kids and teaching the children that it is better to remain unhappy instead of making difficult choices, being a single mother was certainly the much better option. According to Lynanne, reaching out to friends and family also showed her who her real friends were and brought her closer to her family. It also made her a happier and stronger person as she realized her own strengths and she now feels much more able to express the person she truly wanted to be.
While Lynanne is fortunate to have a well-paid job as an orthopedic surgeon, Hitaji, an African-American woman from Houston, had to choose homelessness and went to a women’s shelter with her 3 children, so she could escape a violent husband. But according to her the alternative would have been shooting her husband or even dying herself, just as one of her relatives had, in which case her children would have ended up in the foster care system. So even in the darkest of times and the most challenging of situations there is always a ‘better’ choice. As a way of coping with the situation she found that helping others and giving to others in similar situations was a way to keep her spirits up.
There was also, Karine, from Los Angeles, who had married young and who worried about her appearance and about being too old to get back into the dating game, but she found a rather surprising solution in the form of Tinder. The popular dating-app may have a bad reputation as a vehicle for one-night-stands, but perhaps after leaving an unhappy marriage this is just the right tool to find your way back to confidence and realize that you are indeed still attractive and that men desire you. Because she had married young, Tinder gave her the opportunity to express her sexuality and even have some interesting sexual adventures, inspired by the famous Fifty Shades of Grey. While she no longer uses the app it nevertheless gave her back her confidence and allowed her to rediscover herself. She, like others, is now a much happier person who sees life as an adventure that allows her to be free and travel the world. She also helps middle-aged women to deal with divorce and according to her: ‘women should not be afraid of divorce and it is never too late to start a new life.’
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