Advice for Single Parents—from a Parent Who Knows

advice for single parents

ReclaimedMormonBlog_Large-3Divorce sucks.

Oh, how I wish there was someone who has walked in our shoes, who could speak directly to us and say exactly what we need to hear:

That divorce sucks, but it happens.

It happens to devoted Mormons and devoted parents. It happens to the wavering and the righteous, the young and the old, to short marriages and long term. It happens because of free agency, because of temptations, because of LIFE.

It happens and it will, sadly, continue to happen.

So, why aren’t we talking about it? Why aren’t we acknowledging that so many of our brothers and sisters are facing this roadblock?

This is for all the single parents who have ever cried out:

Why am I alone?

Why do I feel undesirable?

How am I going to do it on my own — I am not enough.

My kids are going to be so messed up — it’s not fair to them.

This is too hard.

When am I ever going to feel ok?

I failed.

Living this new life is an adjustment. Take it day by day, planning ahead no longer feels practical because now you know just how unpredictable it really is.

Here is what I wish I was told:

Fill your network with those who love and support you. Any toxic relationships you have been holding onto now need to be let go. You no longer have the time or the energy, and if you are unsure, the gossip mill of your divorce will soon determine if they should stay or not.

I remember six years ago biting the bullet and picking up my phone to tell my siblings. I have six of them.  I started with the oldest and made my way down, “Robyn, I’m getting a divorce.” Those five words scratched my throat and drowned my eyes in tears. “I’m going to be okay,” the mantra that I played over and over in my head aching to believe sounded rehearsed and phony. Just five more phone calls to make.

I had their unconditional love and support, I had their prayers and I had their reassurances. These were my people, the ones I needed most in my life, the ones that could never be taken away from me. My true friends were by my side and I felt not so alone, not so isolated. Not so different.

You’ll be embarrassed, you’ll feel guilt, and you’ll be humbled but NEVER feel shame. The first Sunday in my new ward I thought it would be easy. They didn’t know me, and they didn’t know my story. My son and I walked in at the very last minute, sat in the furthest pew and we did us. It wasn’t until the beginning of Relief Society that a wonderful sister introduced herself to me and asked, for the whole room to hear, “and is your husband with you?”

I smiled, I said no, then I waited for a spell and quietly walked out of the room. Sensing something was wrong, that same sister followed me into the hall. For the next hour I cried in her arms as she apologized over and over. She knew exactly how I felt, she had been divorced too. She had since remarried but she still knew. And that’s all I needed was for someone to just get it.

You’ll feel a lot of conflicting emotions, mostly at the same time. The more you tell people the more numb you’ll feel. In the real world telling your friends and explaining to your kid’s teachers is embarrassing. Admitting it at church is humiliating. In the real world it is the norm; nobody flinches, but at church where the Proclamation of the Family is branded into every corner you feel like a joke. This will pass.

Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s easy to look out at married couples around you and wonder how many of them are happily married, how many are succeeding at this spouse and parental stuff. How you seem to be the only one who crashed. Don’t. Just don’t. It’s not fair to you and it’s not fair to them.

Keep the Spirit in your home. This is your life-line, your connection to God. Set a routine of family prayer when your children are with you. Be consistent with church attendance, even if you think it will be hard for you and your littles. Family Home Evening can be done any night; pick a day that works for everyone and it will be something they look forward to each week.

Make sure the Priesthood is available to your family; keep your Home Teachers and Visiting Teachers close. For any questions your children pose, seek them out together with prayer, scriptures and through church resources available on-line. Your faith, your testimony, will be a reassurance to your children while insecurities start to creep in.

Make sure there is laughter in your home. It’s so easy to try to over-compensate with gifts, the latest electronics and saying “yes” more than you should. You shouldn’t fill the void with things, but with love and time. With laughter, silliness, playing and dancing. These are the moments that will salve the deepest of wounds.

Don’t rush into a new relationship to ease the loneliness. Figure out who you are, what you are capable of, and what you deserve. Take the time to get to know your children in this new environment. Divorce uncovers new sets of needs, and your kids will express themselves differently. Listen, learn, love. Your kids also need to adjust to you and your new role as a single parent. A new addition when it’s not the right time just complicates things further. Yes you will miss the companionship—but if it’s not right, it just isn’t worth it.

Counseling is awesome! I don’t understand the negative connotation that if you need a counselor then you’re weak. As a single parent, it’s an hour of your voice and your voice only. The only whining is coming from you and is heard by an experienced listener. Your friends and family are great, but they can only handle so much, and it’s not fair to unload EVERYTHING on them. And let’s be honest: there’s a lot you just don’t want them to know. Find a good counselor who you feel comfortable with and listen to his or her expertise.

You are not alone in this. As you pray, as you cry and plead and beg, remember that Heavenly Father knows you and He knows your needs. He will send you the people who can help you. He will guide you to the right resources to better help your children. You will witness everyday miracles of His love for you, even if they’re small and almost unnoticeable. Take the time to notice the simple joys of a quiet morning, marshmallows in your hot cocoa, and Netflix. Re-read your patriarchal blessing; the meaning will be different to you and you’ll be awe-struck of how appropriate it has become for your new circumstances.

You’ll never stop being a Child of God, so hold your head up high! You’ve got this.

 

Megan is a thirty-something single mom blogger who lives in Portland, OR. She has worked in Pharmacy for the past 15 years and spends her free time free-lance writing for parenting blogs and writing fiction. When in "time-out" (of her own accord) she reads and writes, then reads some more. Her historical fiction novella is available on Amazon The Max Effect.
  • Nicole

    Oh, how I wish someone had written this article a long time ago when I was divorced. (1991). THANK YOU for a great article. I remember feeling every one of those feelings you describe. Your article is right on the money.

  • Bongi Ndlela

    Its 8 years since I filed for a divorce but now and then there is a sharp reminder that I have failed after being in a marriage for 30 years . I have adopted the coping mechanism of cherishing the good times of my marriage and focus on the blessings it has brought to me . I find it very therapeutic than being angry and being bitter , but having said that I cannot underplay the pain that I have endured within 5 years of my divorce it was intense , especially at church where one was known as a family . My bishop was amazing and my home teacher was our Stake President . It is a difficult path to walk on we as we have walked on we need to reach out to those who are still battling with the early stages of divorce . I will also like to add that the Savior has always been with me every step of the way .

  • Anonymous

    I have been an active member all my life. I was sealed to my wife for 25 years when she decided she wanted out. It was an experience I was not prepared for. The rumor mill was horrific. Members I had known for over 20 years would have nothing to do with me. I was no longer included in regular events, outings, or simple night-outs with my member families and friends. The feeling of being an outsider never left me for all the years I was attending church as a single adult. It was rough, but I chalked it up to people being people. The gospel was still true and I never wavered in my commitment to the gospel. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with most divorced men in the church. The inactivity rate for divorced men in our stake eclipses all other demographics at about 85%. Unfortunately neither the members or the leadership know how to address the plight of those being divorced. Having been in many ward and stake leadership positions for over 20 years, and sitting through countless meetings, there are only a handful of times in my memory where the “divorced” demographic was even discussed, much less addressed beyond the occasional dance and pot-luck. It is VERY easy for a divorced individual to get lost in the church, and remain lost. There are only a few “labels” that follow members throughout their lives in the church, and being divorced is one of those. It’s a part of our permanent record in Salt Lake. Certain callings are permanently off-limits to divorced men. And it doesn’t matter whether a man has kept his temple covenants, and tried his very best to live an exemplary life, the label is permanent. It hurts to be excluded from being able to serve in the temple, and to have the big D branded on my forehead by the church. There are things that could be done to help divorced people in the church, but that can’t happen until mindsets change–particularly in leadership. Most of those in leadership, as good as they are, simply don’t understand what it’s like to be divorced in the church. It doesn’t help when the the church for the most part doesn’t look to divorced people for advice or to fill leadership positions. (To be honest, the upside to being divorced is I never have to worry about being called to serious leadership positions. It’s being labeled as inadequate or unworthy in some way that is disconcerting.) Even those who stray in the gospel, and break virtually every temple covenant they made in the temple, are not under the same restrictions as the good member who was unable to save his marriage and ended up divorced.

    • Jon

      Brother,
      I have to say being divorced now for 9 years I understand many of the issues you bring up in your comments. However in the past 3-4 years I will say that I have not “been fortunate” as you put it to not be called to positions of leadership. I have was called to be the High Priest Group Leader and then after that to the Stake High Council. I agree that the only reason I was called to those positions was because the current stake leadership doesn’t have the traditional view of divorced men and women in the church, but please know that there are those in the church that see in us the same light as they see in God’s married children. We’ve just had a slight dimming because we don’t have our eternal partner to share life and love and joy with that help us shine brighter. Know you are loved and know God has a plan for you. Just continue to stay worthy. That is what I struggle with. So I hear you and empathize with you. There are many like us and many that struggle to stay active because of the challenges of being single in the church.

      • Megan Ann Steyskal

        Thank you for your perspective- its encouraging to know that the support is out there, and it is growing.

  • esmia

    Thank you for your article. As a spouse looking down the possible abyss of divorce, it’s nice to know that, should it happen, there is still hope.

  • PJ

    This was a wonderful article Megan; thank you! I believe each circumstance is as unique as the individuals experiencing them. I have had both positive and negative experiences with other church members as a divorced single mom with young children and now as a “younger” widow. Life is difficult for all of us regardless of our marital status. We need to be the one to create the environment of love and acceptance even if we do not feel loved or accepted. The relationship we are developing with the Savior and accessing the blessings of his Atonement is why we should go to church – life changes when we focus on what truly matters and stop comparing, blaming, etc. Thanks again Megan!

  • Pam

    Two days ago marked the one year anniversary that my husband came home from work and demanded a divorce. He met a woman at work, “fell in love”, was unfaithful to me and now wanted to divorce me for her. Our divorce is now a few weeks from from being final. My heart is still completely broken. I feel alone. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don’t feel any normalcy in my life. I am angry, hurt, confused and unlovable. I still cry every day.

    When I met my husband he was the High Priest Group Leader in his ward. I knew nothing of the Church. After a number of years had passed we had an affair. This led to his excommunication and divorce. We got married soon thereafter and I joined the Church. He made me every single promise ever written that he would never, ever leave me. Over the years we had sought clearance to be sealed in the temple. After fourteen years of marriage this was still the desire of our hearts. In January 2015 my husband was in our bishop’s office to discuss our sealing. Four months later my husband demanded a divorce because he was in love with someone else.

    Although my story is not unique it is still fresh, raw and painful. I have yet to find that forgiveness for him, the ability to embrace my circumstances or the peace that leads to moving on. I have done all that I know to do… I moved to live near to my daughter and grandchildren, I am in counseling, I am on medication, I attend church and go to the temple. I pray and I plead and I beg my Heavenly Father to PLEASE make this awful pain stop! I feel that all I am capable of doing is existing, as I have forgotten how to live. I have forgotten joy.

    I don’t mean to be so negative, but it’s just where I am. I so hope that you are all right in your descriptions of how the joy of life will eventually return. Right now I am trying to trust in that and pray that the decisions I make each day won’t be the wrong ones. Thank you all for sharing and offering your experiences and support.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      It took me six years before I could even write about divorce, you have my permission to take all the time that you need to get through this. The healing process is different for everyone however just because you feel you haven’t moved on doesn’t mean you haven’t progressed.

    • Sheryl

      Oh Pam,
      I am so sorry for what you are going through and the terrible anguish and pain you are in. I can truly say I have been there because I have and still am going through a lot.
      I was married to the love of my life for almost 19 years when he “fell apart” so to speak, and told me he needed to move out. But before he even did that he went and filed for a divorce completely unbeknown to me. I found the papers in his backpack after a prompting led me to look. We had a temple marriage and he was on our stakes high counsel.

      He too had promised he would never ever leave me and we had been through so much together (infertility, adopting a baby girl, having a lot of issues with her as she struggled with ADD and other behavior/ emotional problems. Also our own health problems/surgeries, and then we were even blessed with a miracle baby when I became pregnant (without any medical help) and had a beautiful baby boy who was the light of our lives!
      All these things bonded us together and I thought we had a really good relationship and marriage. He was my best friend! So no one was more shocked than me when he left. We had never even had a real fight. Just normal disagreements like every married couple has. Our family, friends, ward members and especially our two children (ages 14 and 7 at the time) were all shocked because they also thought we had a good marriage.

      My husband told me it was all his fault and not mine. He said he had been holding things in for years and never shared them with me. He said he basically had been doing that his whole life. He started it when he was a child and felt like he had to please everyone especially his parents. So he had decided he had enough with being that way and he was going to “be selfish now” and do exactly what he wanted for himself!
      It has now been almost 3 years since he left. He got married to someone less than 7 months after our divorce was finalized and was getting a divorce from her 7 months later. He said he knew about 6 weeks into the marriage that he had probably made a mistake. You think!!

      I was so heartbroken and devastated when he left and when he remarried so quickly, that I wanted to die and could barely function. Dr Daniel Amen, a well known psychiatrist in the US says that,”Divorce can be a source of the most severe kind of stress possible for a human being to experience”! My kids were also very upset. So many of the feelings you described Pam, I experienced too and still do at times. I have had wonderful support from my Bishop and ward members. I know I am blessed because they didn’t gossip and showed me so much love. I’ve also had a very good therapist and I’m on antidepressants. During these 3 years I have also lost both my parents and had 2 major surgeries along with other struggles and issues. I have prayed and prayed, cried myself to sleep hundreds of times and begged and pleaded with the Lord for some comfort and peace. And several times, that comfort and peace have finally come. But it has most definitely been the most difficult 3 years of my life and I’ve had several other years of trials in the past.
      There is a wonderful conference talk in the May 2016 Ensign that has been a great comfort and help to me. It is called, “The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness” by Kevin R Duncan. Read it! It will help you. I’ve read, listened to and re read it several times. It has helped me (more than anything else) feel than I can forgive him through the healing power of our Savior’s Atonement.
      May our loving Father in Heaven and his beloved son continue to comfort and heal you. And may the church continue to work on helping divorced men and women much more than they have in the past.

    • Joesy Roberts

      I can relate to everything you have shared. Sadly as much as we want our marriages to be successful, people have their agency.

      It has now been 15.5 yrs since my husband left and there is no pain, disappointment loss or grief. I feel more whole than I did in my marriage..
      I was never not good enough but instead way too good .
      Pornography is mostly at the root of the plague of divorce. It wrips families apart.
      I know that the lord hears and answers prayers and has your best interest at heart.

      I promise you that one day there will be no more pain associated with this experience. I know that doesn’t help you right now. Sending my love and prayers for you. Only the saviour knows your pain perfectly. There are angels around you to bear you up.
      XXXXX

  • Ralph

    I’ve come to know that there isn’t really 2 sides to divorce and NO, it doesn’t take two to cause a divorce. There is in fact almost always a villain. I know this first hand. People need to know that approx 1/2 of mid-life divorces are the woman’s fault. Yes FAULT. Mid-life crisis are as common in women as they are in men and mid-life crisis is the overwhelming cause of mid-life divorce.
    If you see someone who is still active in church after a recent mid-life divorce, chances are that they are NOT the villain. The villains generally shy away from church.
    HOWEVER, mid-life villains often repent. About half will come back to church eventually. Sadly, the vast majority will have destroyed their lives before they come to an awakening and repentance.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      This article deliberately stayed away from the “blame” game. Unfortunately I feel that many people who have gone through bad experiences (especially from what I’ve been reading from these comments) from other members in the church are due largely to those members feeling the need to blame, to judge a situation they know nothing about so they can either pick sides or make sense of it all. At the end of the day it isn’t about judgement or blame but simply offering support and friendship even if we fully don’t understand. Divorce is a complicated situation and can’t be simplified by a blanket statement (even if it is fact) of who is to blame.

    • jbtuck

      Although this CAN be true, it is un-necessary information.

      I was divorced in 2004, and though I was not the cause of my divorce, my Ex-Wife is a Daughter of God, who deserves love and kindness, and if she repents God will grant her forgiveness.

      But that is between her and God. The rest of us are commanded to “Love all (Wo)Men” and to forgive others, as we have been forgiven.

      Regardless of whether or not a person is the “villain” or not, everyone deserves love and support. Each of us is called to be the Angels of Comfort for those that Morn around us. We have been commanded to “Morn with those that Morn” and “Comfort those that stand in need of Comfort.”

      This is true of both people that are involved in a Divorce, and their children. In these cases the Healing process of the Atonement doesn’t bring the divorced couple together to remarry, but rather brings their heart to be one with Him who is the Savior of the World.

      The best way to help those that have been Divorced, is to Love them like Our Father and his Son, Loves us… despite our imperfections, sins, and mistakes.

      If you are innocent of the Divorce that has broken up your family, it is of little comfort for the pain that is raging in your life. You still feel like a failure, you still feel pain, and you feel incapable of loving again or moving on.

      TL;DR: Everyone needs the Saviors love. Each of us is commanded to give that love to everyone, regardless of whether or not they are responsible for the divorce or not.

  • Anonymous

    I feel the Church has compassion for the widow, widower, and single parents. I divorced after 26 years of marriage after enduring years of abuse, pornography and cheating. I have been divorced for 17 years and have not gone back to my ward. Members who knew my ex and thought he was so great, look away from me and avoid my “hello”, even in the neighborhood . During my marriage, and seeking counsel and help from 2different bishops, I was told ” Oh! I don’t think he would do that!” And “Maybe you just need anti-depressants. ”
    I occasionally go to church with my grown children in their wards, and will always love the church.
    I have been in 4 wards in 40 years (same house) and NEVER had a bishop visit, call, or reach out in any way.
    They think my ex was wonderful……(in public, he was) therefore, “it must have been MY fault”
    Members, you just don’t know, or want to know the whole story. 💔

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      From my own experiences and from that my close friends I understand too well what you have gone through when it comes to the judgments of people who you are supposed to be able to trust. And you are right- for those watching on the sidelines: you just don’t know, and shouldn’t know but that shouldn’t keep them from being supportive all the same.

    • jenny sparks

      I understand completely what you mean that the church members do better with those who have lost a spouse through death than divorce. But that is the fault of the church members who are simply being human – imperfect. Sometimes one has to go through a situation before they can understand and have empathy for it without judgement. I got divorced back in mid-70’s and during that times divorces were in the church but not as many as today so a lot of the members didn’t know how to react. Heck, I didn’t know how to react. I left my husband when my son was 3 weeks old. Members were nice enough but I always felt that some of the women stayed back – as if it was a disease they were going to catch or because I was young and pretty I would be after their husbands. There are also those who think when we divorce we fail more than those who are still together when maybe they have spouses that are long suffering with them and/or they make as many mistakes as we did but just are fortunate. Our “failures” are more obvious and for some reason that makes us less to some. But again, that is to some members – not to the church. However, I do believe the church might be a little bit more supportive as when I was divorced and a single parent all I heard about was the widows needing help. The young divorced women with children (with fathers who either gave them up and/or weren’t active in the church or their children’s lives) needed as much or more help. That needs to be recognized more.

  • TLC

    Thank you for your article. I’m just double checking. Is the column heading “Reclaimed Mormon” or Relcaimed Mormon”? It’s a cute name and I like the art. It just seems like the header is misspelled.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      thank you and will definitely get that fixed, oops 🙂

  • S. Jewkes

    I was married 18 years and have been divorced for longer than I was married now, 26 years!~ seems amazing to me. It took ten years after my husband left that I experienced the “miracle of forgiveness”…but it will always come if you seek it. I have felt the Lord and angels with me from day one. My husband is now with wife # 3 and I have raised five beautiful children and seventeen precious grandchildren. I’m getting ready to retire and serve a “senior sister” mission. I’ve had tender mercies when I thought I could not get up from my knees……….wet my pillow many nights with the longings of having a companion and the prayer that my children would be okay. But I can honestly look back and see that when I recognized agency and let the Savior help me burden my heartache, I made it day by day. I consider myself a survivor now and love the Lord with a deep and immense grateful heart. I want to lay everything I have on the altar for what he has blessed me with.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      What an amazing attitude and testament to your faithfullness and hard work, thank you for sharing a small part of your story.

  • Interesting how most of these type articles are written from the “innocent wife” point of view. People assume a divorce is the fault of a rascally “adulterous husband”; pretty much a forgone conclusion. My X had been involved in perpetual community education classes for some time where she had met some rather dissolute people and became uninterested in church, one Friday, while I was at work, she packed up and left without so much as a word, she wouldn’t answer her phone, and it took several days to find out what was going on. Yes, I suspected she had been breaking our (her) covenant for some time because of her behavior; she had. She ended up “moved in” with a person she described as “bisexual”. (I didn’t know this was physically possible in the human species.) Together we had four sons and the youngest was still at home. Since she did not want him to be with her, I suddenly became a single parent. By the way, I love my four boys and the privilege of being a father. (However… being a single male parent is an experience few can relate to.)

    In your article you mentioned embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, shame, etc. Ha, you don’t know… At church that Sunday, the RS president asked me if X would be at church; I told her “I don’t know, I’m not sure where she is.” One would have thought I had just arrived from Mars. The following Sunday when asked the same question, I said “nope, she moved, we are getting divorced”, suddenly I was that heartless dirty rotten good for nothing rascally male space alien from Mars who hadn’t showered for a month of Sundays. This was my home ward of six years. When I asked; the Bishop refused to talk to her, and didn’t really want to talk to me. At the time I had a faithful testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of his teachings, the plan of Salvation as taught by my LDS faith; nothing wavering. I believe my testimony and the love of my sons is what saw me through those dark times. It’s been about seven years now and in due time, the new life forms I encountered upon my arrival from Mars have become more amiable and accepting of this divorced male who attends church. My sons are all married and have successful careers, now I love being a father and Grandfather, and continue to fulfill my church callings and have not wavered in my testimony of what I know to be true.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      If it came across as the “woman’s” point of view, well, I am a woman. But nowhere in my article did I refer to mself as “innocent” nor did I blame any one gender for the destruction of a family. I didn’t because I wasn’t an innocent bystander, I was one half of an equation where the solution failed. In a previous article I share that story and how I handled the consequences of my own actions. This article was intended for both single mothers and fathers and never focused on blame. There is no “cookie cutter” divorce experience, this was just an attempt to reach out to someone, anyone, who has or will experience this. And to go so far as to ever compare levels of shame, as if mine would be greater than anyone elses, wouldn’t help to the “relatable” aspect I was going for. We all have different reasons for divorce, have handled them differently and have been affected differently but the core of my piece was to focus on a few traits we all have in common: that it isn’t easy and sometimes just knowing someone else in the church has gone through it as well might make it a bit less isolating.

  • C

    There is another aspect of what divorced people have to go through. Our son attended a church owned college with his then wife. After a couple of months she told him she didn’t want to be married anymore, that she didn’t really believe in the church and lied to get a temple recommend. After finally getting a divorce and trying to get back to school, he was treated terribly by the administration. He was forbidden to get the school approved housing and summoned to the housing office every semester to explain his “status”. He told me he had to explain his innocence, then when he finally protested he was told, ” We have to make sure your Bishop is aware of you.” Then he finally met he true companion and tried to get married in the temple, we had to wait until his last wife gave permission. I’m sure there is a reason for having to clear things through the “ex-spouse” but it sure makes thing difficult.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      That is horrible, but sadly I’m not surprised, the church really doesn’t know what to do with divorcees which makes it difficult to find support and understanding. I’m finding that different people’s experiences are bringing to light different ramifications that faithful members are having a hard time navigating and your son’s experience is one of those examples. So happy to hear that he found love again!

      • C. White

        It is not “the Church ” that doesn’t know, it is individuals, given authority to judge, and every one of the is flawed, is very capable of unrighteous dominion, is capable of believing conventional wisdom which is often wrong and these Church leaders can and do make bad decisions that affect people for the rest of their lives. How would you feel about listening to the advice of a Bishop that you discovered later was not only having an affair at the time, but was also molesting his teenage step daughter. The Church is a construct, and has no power or ability to do anything. Every action by the Church us actually performed by the Church Leadership – either individuals or small groups that make decisions and then enforce the. To be sure, the majority of these men are above average and are “righteous” by most standards, but as there are also very wicked men in positions of power, it tends to cause some of us to feel certain amount of cynicism, especially when we have been on the receiving end of bad advice, unrighteous dominion and witnessed such high levels of hypocrisy.

  • Poignant and true! Excellent counsel as well. Very well-written Megan. Hugs to you!

  • Tammy

    Wow! What a wonderful article! I wish I had been able to read this 3 & 1/2 years ago when my life fell apart. I’m grateful for your wise words. They are true. Especially about not feeling shameful. I was married at 18 and thought I had it all – the wonderful, faithful, priesthood leader husband, two great kids and life was great…and then it wasn’t.
    But with the atonement, I have blossomed and I am finding out who I am. I share 50/50 custody, and whilst that’s not ideal for me, I make lemonade from these lemons. I try to enjoy the “me” time I get every second week…it seems to be working! 😊
    Thanks again for your lovely words.

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      It does feel like a shock, one moment you’re leading this ideal life with a picturesque happy family then all of the sudden you’re alone with nothing but your faith -and that’s how the lemonade becomes so sweet!

  • Dee

    Its 18 years since i divorced but this still rings loud and true. Thanks for writing and doing a great job with it. I’d like to add, look for the advantages…. They are some blessings in there! when you find them, voice them aloud! You get to teach your children to love what you love with no interfetence. You dont have to compromise on what you’ll choose to do or what you’ll spend your (little but well earned) money on. When the chance comes to go out to eat or a movie, you only have to pay for one!! Same when you can take a trip or a vacation! Oh i could go on….

    • Megan Ann Steyskal

      Absolutely! I cherish the one on one time with my son and I’d be fibbing if I say I didn’t enjoy having my own space. Thank you for understanding that there are other paths to happiness available to all of us, even if it isn’t the conventional route.