DIVORCE
25/05/2016 7:39 AM AEST

This Was By Far The Hardest Thing I Had To Learn After Divorce

"It took a long time, but I have finally found a way to embrace being alone."

Thomas Barwick via Getty Images
Blogger and writer Jessica Kahan shares what helped her get through the divorce process. 

If there’s ever a time you need a little distraction in your life, it’s during the divorce process. That’s why we launched our Divorce Care Package series. With each post, we’ll show you what things — books, movies, recipes — helped others relieve stress in the midst of divorce, in the hopes that a few of their picks will serve you well too. Want to share what got you through your divorce? Email us at divorce@huffingtonpost.com. 

Blogger Jessica Kahan's 2015 divorce after 14 years of marriage brought a lot of firsts: her first time living alone, her first time going to a bar by herself and her first time cooking for just one person. 

Below, the mother of two shares what those experiences were like and offers her recommendations to others going through a split.

  • The Experience
    The Experience
    Tommaso Tagliaferri
    "After almost 40 years, I had to learn to cook for just myself and be comfortable going out to dinner or sitting at a bar -- alone. This was by far the hardest divorce piece for me to learn -- aloneness. I have never loved being alone and never lived alone. All of this was so new. The first time my kids were with their dad for an entire weekend, I thought I might jump out of my skin. Nothing felt right. The first time I sat a bar by myself, I felt like everyone was staring -- like there was a scarlet 'D' on my chest. It took a long time, but I have finally found a way to embrace being alone. It will never be my preference, but the dread is gone."
  • The Community
    The Community
    shutterstock
    "Quickly after I got separated, I started a private divorce group on Facebook. The intent was to surround myself with other women in my community who had been there and done that. I felt so isolated and alone. So few of my close friends were divorced. The group grew organically and several women have been added over the last two years. Some I have formed deep friendships with, and others I have yet to meet. One thing has remained consistent: What happens in the group stays in the group, no feeling is too much and as hard as it is, we never judge someone else's story. We support, we suggest, we provide a virtual therapy session and we get it."
  • The Big Buy
    The Big Buy
    Getty Images/OJO Images RF
    "When my ex and I divorced, we decided to sell our family house. It would have been easier and cheaper to rent. I was committed to keeping my kids in their school and spent months looking for a house I could afford alone on a self-employed salary. Our house closed and I had to live in a Best Western for several weeks as well as move from Ohio to New York for a time to stay with my parents. When I finally found the right house, borderline hoarders lived there. It was almost impossible for me to imagine it without stacks of papers and wall-to-wall furniture. Needing my parents to co-sign on the mortgage was also very difficult to wrestle with. Two years later, all of that seems like history. Everything in my house is mine and my children's. Every bill and payment is made by me, and me alone. Every color on the walls is the next chapter we are building. Every time I walk in the door and look around, I breath it all in. I feel completely at home."
  • The Songs
    The Songs
    Guido Mieth
    "There were two songs that played on repeat for me. One was 'This Woman's Work' by Kate Bush -- her words about little bits of strength being left and unsaid words could have been my own. It also felt like something I wanted my daughters to understand. The other was 'Say Something' by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. That one is all about admitting you are giving up on someone who you just couldn't get to, and holding on with everything you've got that it gets better on the other side."
  • The Book
    The Book
    Amazon
    "'The Wild Oats Project' by Robin Rinaldi. This book, surprisingly, is not about divorce. It's about a woman who decides to spend a year in an open marriage, or as she describes it, a midlife quest for passion at any cost. It was not the topic, per se, that resonated so much, but rather the need to find one's self. The need for passion. The need to defy the boxes and labels. I laughed and cried while reading it. Most of all, I found her to be vulnerable, real and heroic in her own right. I think those were reminders I needed more than the 1,000+ available books on divorce."
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