One of the things the "experts" on divorce say is that it takes one year of healing for every four years of marriage. But like all rules of thumb, this one leaves enough wiggle room to spin it however you want.
For instance, my ex-husband and I were married in May 1993. He moved out in November of 2006. But we weren't legally divorced until March 2009, and in fact, we had a brief attempt at a reconciliation the summer of 2007. Given those facts, can you answer the following questions?
1. How long was I married?
a. Two months shy of 16 years
b. Thirteen and a half years
c. Fourteen years and three months
d. Some other length of time
2. When did/will the allotted time for healing end for me?
a. March 2013
b. November 2010
c. February 2011
d. Some other time
3. On the date when this "healing period" ends, what will I then be ready to do?
a. Get remarried
b. Begin dating
c. Start noticing men again
d. None of the above
Scoring and answers: Give yourself one point for any answer you chose, since any one of them could be correct, depending on how you spin the facts!
Is the period of separation counted in the years married? Is the healing time counted from the date of separation, the date of divorce, or some other date? Must one include time for "extra" years, beyond the number that is divisible by four, and what about partial years? Do they need to be counted as well? And perhaps most important of all, at the end of the "healing period," then what? Is that when one should begin dating, or is that the point at which one is ready to remarry?
The most helpful book on this particular topic was The Fresh Start Divorce Recovery Workbook, which I was introduced to at a Fresh Start weekend divorce recovery seminar I attended. In that workbook, the participant named the date at which s/he knew his/her marriage was over, and that was used to calculate the approximate date when the healing process would be complete.
For me, that date was August 16, 2007, meaning that I was married for 14 years and 3 months, and my "healing time" should've ended sometime in February or March of 2011.
Last summer, I would've argued that I was already ready for a new relationship, and I jumped into one. But last fall when that ended, I realized that I had jumped in way too soon.
So am I ready now? I'm not sure if there is any way to know until I try again, but I do know that I am more ready now than I was even six months ago. I also know that healing is an ongoing process. I finally feel as if I am reaccquainted with myself as "just me," not as "somebody's wife." I think I have figured out why I married him in the first place, what warning signs I overlooked both before and after the marriage, and how I contributed to the breakdown of my marriage. I have a clear idea of what I want and don't want in a future husband and what I think makes a good relationship.
So maybe I am ready.
But there is no need to rush.
So I am waiting.