If you’re a twenty-something divorcé, your marital status may not be something you enjoy discussing. “It was rash decision but we were in love at the time,” you might tell those who ask about it.
But instead of dwelling on the negative and shying away from the subject, why not focus on all the things you learned from the marriage? To that end, we recently asked HuffPost readers and bloggers to share the biggest lesson they took away from divorcing in their 20s.
1. You learn what love is — and what it isn’t.
“My 20s was a decade of epic mistakes. Looking back, I see how I was forcing perfection out of a truly toxic situation. Our doom was inevitable. Do I regret the marriage? Absolutely not. It taught me a hell of a lot about love. Did I rethink my next steps? Oh, hell yes.” – Amy Kristine
2. You learn it’s better to be alone than to be with the wrong person.
“The greatest thing I learned from my marriage at 23 and the ensuing divorce is that it’s better to wait for exactly what you want than settle. Nothing is more lonely than being with the wrong person. I don’t think I’d understand that without my divorce. Today I’m much more content waiting for the right one knowing full well that person will absolutely be worth the wait.” – Joni Erdmann, blogger at Abandon Status Quo
3. You discover that love isn’t enough to keep a marriage afloat.
“I learned that love is not enough. You have to trust — really trust — your partner.” – Susie Moore, life coach
4. You learn that divorce can strike again.
“Getting divorced is painful. But good things come from pain, even if you’re not Adele winning Grammys from it. Perspective is a very valuable thing. You realize that getting divorced is not like getting the chickenpox. You’re not immune after you have a divorce under your belt. It can happen again. Hopefully you learn a lot from the divorce and end up being one of those people who’s happy and fulfilled in middle age because you wised up when you were younger.” – Jessica Wernz, blogger at Everyone Gets Divorced
5. You gain some perspective on your own shortcomings.
“I figured out what areas of myself I need to work on most as a spouse (going with the flow, compromise, patience). My second marriage has benefited immeasurably because of my first experience.” – Susie Moore
6. The experience can spur on personal reinvention.
“Dealing with the catastrophe of divorce shook everything up and made me get creative — I’d never have started my own business without it! Divorce in your 20s teaches you that you can’t procrastinate in life: Get on with it, live, love, marry, divorce, have your babies and get into all kinds of scrapes. It’s what you don’t do that you regret. Excessive caution is the path to a lonely and rather dull life of stunning mediocrity. So far, I’ve had a blast and I have no regrets.” — Ayesha Vardag
7. You might have some great kids to show from it.
“I was in love. I wouldn’t change a thing; I got a beautiful daughter out of it.” — Paul Can’tu
8. You learn what to do — and not do — the next time around.
“My first marriage gave me the knowledge of what not to do in my next. My divorce forced me to look at myself in another light. In the end, I don’t regret it because there is no point in living with regret.” – Aly Marie
9. Being on your own again is a crash course in independence.
“Life outside of a relationship made me more independent. In just a years time, I have purchased a new home and a new car. I got to make my own decisions and choose where I wanted to live. It was such a overwhelming feeling to rely on myself. It’s the little things even like going to get groceries and finally buy what I want and not have to worry about someone else. I’m thankful it happened; it made me more appreciative of who I am and what I can do for myself.” — Alicia Marie Caballero
10. In spite of all the outside judgement, you learn that leaving is sometimes the best, healthiest choice.
“My marriage lasted a year and a half but it taught me how important it is to communicate all the time and about everything. Many people judge you for being divorced so young but being aware that the relationship was not healthy and leaving was the best decision I could have made for both of us.” – Dijana, blogger at The Funny Nanny
11. You learn that life goes on.
“Marrying in my early 20s and getting divorced in my mid-20s had its advantages. It was a good conversation starter — especially during those seven or eight months when my ex and I had split up but were still legally married. (It’s always amusing to answer ‘well, sort of!’ when a person asks you if you’re married.) But the best thing about an early 20s divorce is that you quickly learn a lesson that can take other people years to realize: Even when you feel like your entire world has fallen apart, it hasn’t. You will be OK.” — Jessica Wernz, blogger at Everyone Gets Divorced
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