Picture this: the bright lights of Las Vegas, the sound of Elvis Presley’s voice echoing through the Graceland chapel, and me, standing there with my new partner, ready to say “I do” for the second time. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I couldn’t resist sharing this incredible experience with you.
You see, after my first marriage ended eight years ago, I never thought I’d find love again. I was plagued by doubts and negative thoughts, thinking that I was destined to live the rest of my life alone.
The Turning Point: How One Question Changed Everything
My marriage had been on the rocks for a couple of years, so I’d come to terms with the idea of separation and divorce. But it was the thought of the impact on my kids that had me worried sick. Then one night, after months of the mental torture I’d been inflicting on myself, a question popped into my head. I don’t know where it came from, but it gave tremendous clarity
The question was, would I want my daughter to be in a relationship like mine?
The answer, of course, was no. Absolutely not. I would hate her to suffer like that. And then I started to think about what example I’d be giving her growing up in a loveless marriage. That was the turning point for me. It made the decision to divorce easier. Certainly not easy, but easier.
We finally separated a few months after. The biggest pain was not seeing my kids every day – that was very difficult to come to terms with. And the overwhelming feeling I had was one of embarrassment.
I felt like a failure and beat myself up over my inability to keep a marriage together. I was in a pretty dark place with all kinds of thoughts going around my head:
I’m never going to meet somebody else.
I’m going to live the rest of my life on my own.
I’m never going to be happy again.
I’ve ruined my life…
But my main priority was my kids. And although I didn’t know it at the time, focusing on something else rather than worrying about my own problems was a very effective way of dealing with the anxiety and stress that the divorce brings.
Focusing on Self-Care: The Importance of Looking After Yourself
By the time I was satisfied that my kids were settled and happy, my outlook on life had improved. During this time, I’d focused on looking after myself, eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding other relationships, which can get in the way of the healing process.
I was ready and excited to take advantage of what life had to offer. I often say that my own divorce was an awakening for me. I’d been living on autopilot, work, mindless TV, sleep and repeat. Now single and lonely, I was forced to rebuild my social networks and find activities I enjoyed.
From Solo to Partnered: Finding Love and Life After Divorce
Life after divorce was good, and I didn’t need anyone else in my life. I certainly didn’t need anyone else in my life to be happy. I was happy on my own, but when you’re not looking for love, love has a habit of finding you, and that’s exactly what happened, at 36,000ft on a flight to Singapore.
I’d always thought that you have to work on a relationship. That’s what we are told. And certainly, as a man, I never spoke about the problems in my marriage, so I thought my challenges were completely normal. But how wrong I was. I had no idea you could be in a relationship that I was, well, so easy, no hassle, no arguments, no guilt tripping, just effortless. It was a revelation.
I never thought I’d get married again, but after six years of being with Ana, it was important to celebrate our love in a special way. That’s why we decided to tie the knot in Las Vegas, with Elvis officiating the ceremony. It was so much fun and memorable, and now we have an excuse to go back to Vegas every year to celebrate our anniversary.
So, take it from me; life is too short to be unhappy. There is life after divorce. Focus on living your life on your own terms, and you never know what surprises and joys await you.
You can watch our wedding at the Graceland Chapel here.