I blog about infidelity with the manifesto "leave a cheater, gain a life." But if you've ever suffered the misfortune of being cheated on, you know that it's pretty easy to get caught up in the "leave" part the equation and neglect the "gain a life" part.
The logistics of divorce are hellish. It's painful and draining. Understandably, you can get sidetracked from the important work of rebuilding a new life when you're still stumbling around in the ruins of the former one. But that's where the pay off is -- the new life.
If you've ever tangled with a narcissist (and in my opinion, cheating is narcissism), you know the default channel for your life is set at "narcissist." Their needs. Their reactions. What fresh hell are they up to now? We scramble around and waste precious time and energy trying to appease them, or decode them, or commiserate about them.
But what about you? How does it feel to have this idiot out of your life (or almost out of your life... keep going). Does the air breathe cleaner? Have you felt the relief? Does it feel a bit disorienting?
I know some days are lonely as hell. But take the opportunity to enjoy the free fall. The raw nerved excitement/terror of "what next"? And build, build, build! Make this new life yours and fill it with awesomeness. People who love you right. Activities that you feel passionate about. Parenting with your values and your traditions.
Oh shut up Tracy, I hear you saying. My life is an endless drudge of single parenting and luke warm, limp Hot Pockets for dinner. No one is skipping the light fandango here.
Well, that's on you. Only you get to control your degree of awesomeness. They can cheat on you, lie to you, steal your 401K, malign you to the neighbors, and dress your kid funny -- but they can't take away your awesomeness. That's the investment you get to control -- how much you put into this new, improved life. Whether that's making it through each day right now without sobbing on strangers, or going back to school, or buying new bed linens. (Get all new bed linens, you know that right? Burn the marital bed if you can, but at the very least invest in a dust ruffle.)
It's hard work. It's important work and you've only got so much energy. So when you feel yourself obsessing over the injustice of your divorce, or what stupid thing the nitwit is posting on Facebook today, put that energy back on your new life. It needs you. Get cracking!