I see you there, under the covers with your swollen eyes and a nose as raw and runny as your recently broken heart. Darling, I can see you because I’ve been you.
I also see dead people. And right now you are a zombie. Numb inside. A card carrying member of the walking dead.
But you will re-join the living—I can promise you that. How do I know? Because I too crawled out from beneath the smoldering rubble a divorce—and lived to tell about it.
And as your future self, I can assure you that not only will you survive—you will thrive!
Am I an expert? Well, yes. Yes, I am. Even though no two divorces are alike, once you’ve lived through one you are part of a select group who can speak about it with authority. Kind of like plane crash survivors or those unfortunate souls who are born with a third nipple.
Besides, I am your future self. I am older and wiser and I deserve your respect.
Listen, everyone on the planet has had their heart broken at least fifteen times and very few (less than one percent), fail to fall in love again. So it goes without saying that the odds are in your favor that your dried up raisin of a heart will eventually heal enough to try this love thing again.
You may even get re-married—but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I can assure you that once the initial shock wears off you’ll silence the Adele, stop eating raw chocolate chip cookie dough straight from the roll and get back to wearing pants instead of pajamas bottoms. Your skin will clear up, you’ll get the best haircut of your life, and on a random Thursday night, you’ll finally agree to meet friends for drinks. Once there, you’ll only cry a little when someone brings up the holidays. Later that night, alone in bed, a turning point will be reached. You’ll have the realization that for the first time in like forever—you actually had—what’s the word? Fun.
Now a word of warning. Everyone and their cousin will try to fix you up with someone they know who’s “perfect” for you.
It is the craziest thing! No one can stand to see a divorced person single for more than five minutes. It’s just a fact of life so accept it. Now, this is either going to become a great distraction—or send you to bed for a month. Don’t get discouraged. I’m here to tell you this immediate aftermath is not the phase where anything meaningful happens so don’t worry about it. Take a lot of bubble baths, drink tea, catch up on your reading, watch every Nora Ephron movie, and eventually send out a search party to find your sense of humor—you’re going to need it.
Because here’s the thing. You will want to date again!
I know, right now that sounds about as fun as walking barefoot on hot coals, or picking them up and putting them in your mouth—but hear me out. Eventually, you will meet someone you really like and when that initial rush of excitement hits you it is going to feel like a combination of Christmas Eve and the Fourth of July. The body has sense memory where this is concerned. Trust it. You may be tempted to go slow, and that’s probably advisable, but after your protracted post-divorce hiatus from fun, laughter and (gulp) sex, this new attraction will feel as refreshingly delicious as a tall glass of ice water in hell.
We can talk about sex if you want to. I think we should.
I know it’s making you throw up a little in your mouth, but that’s all the more reason you will need to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Probably not right away…but sometime this decade. There’s just no way to get around this so I’m gonna give it to ya straight. Sex for the first time with someone besides your ex is going to feel extremely weird and titillating, and awful, and wonderful, uncomfortable and ridiculous.
A confusing mixed salad of emotions that will be difficult to overcome.
There’s no denying that. But you must. And you will. Please, I beg of you, don’t listen to your self-sabotaging brain chatter. It will only fuck things up—in a bad way. I am here to tell you this can be exciting as hell and you will definitely be On. Your. Game—so don’t worry. You will feel present, awake and alive which I’m just guessing is very different than what was happening in your marriage just prior to your split.
Listen, I’m your future self, so I already know what went down. No judgment here. I only want to congratulate you on the progress you’ll make.
Listen, I thought this would be a good time to come talk to you in order to assuage your fears, dry your tears, and at the very least help you to crack a smile because, hey, it’s a start. It means you broke through the numbness and felt something. Something besides sadness, shame and anger.
I also highly recommend breathing and putting one foot in front of the other because that helps too, just keep moving forward.
I can promise you, the more time that goes by, the less you will look behind you at that jackass who doesn’t deserve you, and the more enthusiasm you will start to feel toward the future.
I can promise that because I am you. Only, I’m in the future. I am healed and whole and happy as shit—and I’m waiting for you here.
Janet Bertolus is a writer, teller of stories, giver of hugs, singer of show tunes, lover of laughs, dogs, chocolate, travel and motorcycles. She tweets from @JBertolus. This article is culled from HuffPost.