Here Is How I Empowered Myself Financially And Emotionally After An Unwanted Divorce
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By Stacey Freeman, Featured Columnist - July 12, 2017 - Updated July 31, 2017

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My marriage was over. I knew it, sort of, though I would continue to spend the next few months trying in vain to save it. I assume my husband knew it, too, since he was the one who surprised me by declaring out of nowhere our marriage was over.

The world, however, did not know it and I had no intention of telling, at least not yet. After all, why would I want my marriage to end? I liked married life – from the perfect house and perfect family right down to my perfect eternity band and engagement ring my husband had reset for me five years earlier.

In the weeks after my husband left me following a 24-year relationship that included 16 years of marriage, three kids, and a cat, I continued to wear my rings. Looking back, keeping them on my finger was a weak, if not foolish, attempt to hold onto some vestige of our life together and the hope I could somehow get that life back. But with every day that passed, it became increasingly apparent that was not going to happen, and keeping up appearances began to feel more like I was perpetrating a fraud – against others and, most importantly, myself.

WHEN I DECIDED TO RING OFF

It took a few weeks, but one ordinary day I slipped my rings off and placed them in a drawer for safe keeping until I figured out what I was going to do with them. It was time to move forward, and what better way to start than with a symbolic gesture?

For the longest while afterward, I will admit I ran my thumb over the bottom of my ring finger where the rings had once been and each time felt a pang of sadness with their absence. In addition to being a part of my daily wardrobe, my rings signified my place in the world – as a wife, and as that title implies, someone who was loved and taken care of by her husband. No longer the case, I now needed to begin rediscovering who I was personally and professionally.

Like most newly divorced women, I suddenly faced financial challenges I had never known before. Though I received limited duration alimony and child support, the shortfall I experienced each month in my budget required I return to work sooner than later. I had also set new financial goals for myself, including saving money for my future, which deserved attention as well. Suddenly, the material possessions I had acquired during my marriage had a whole new value attached to them, and it wasn’t only sentimental.

During those early days after my husband and I separated, it seemed every material possession I had acquired during my marriage could evoke a memory, mostly good ones, and I wasn’t willing to part with any of them. At first, I looked at my married life with rose-colored glasses, but as time went on, I was gradually able to put distance between the life I lived and the fantasy I had recreated in my head after the fact. What I realized is that for many years I wasn’t happy in my relationship, and I now had the opportunity for better.

More importantly, I understood I deserved better.

DIAMONDS ARE A DIVORCED GIRL’S BEST FRIEND

Because I am a firm believer in being proactive about my future, I set off to create that better life for myself by myself. Of course, the goals I set – starting my own business, improving my appearance, and becoming stronger emotionally – were going to cost money, money I didn’t presently have. So, I got creative. I began working. I also started taking a more minimalist approach to my life, inventorying items around my house that I no longer needed or wanted that could be sold, particularly those weddings rings now sitting in a drawer, and whose proceeds could be repurposed to fund my latest personal and professional projects.

That is when I discovered Worthy.com, a unique online auction platform providing women with the ability to sell their diamond jewelry in a safe, transparent, value-adding way while allowing for more flexibility and greater control in the process. A company that recognizes the importance of new beginnings and building a solid foundation after divorce, Worthy’s programs and scholarship opportunities are designed to educate and empower deserving women looking to make a fresh start, just like I did.

LETTING GO BECAME PIECEMEAL

One step at a time as I felt ready I began to let go emotionally and of those belongings that no longer suited my new life. Minimalism should never be about throwing away your stuff for the sake of it or because someone else told you it is what you should be doing. If a book, painting, memento, or piece of jewelry continues to bring value to your life, then, by all means, keep it.

Real minimalism embraces a much broader concept; it means reassessing your priorities to the point where you can comfortably say goodbye to those relationships, thoughts, pastimes, objects, and wedding rings that have been keeping you tied to your past and preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself. Only when you let go will living with less ultimately turn into living with so much more.

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