Exactly 365 days ago, my husband, our nearly two-year-old toddler and I handed over the keys to the place we had called home to go our own ways. We experienced so many emotions as we went on to find out what life after separation had in store. It had been a long time coming. Our marriage had actually ended a few months earlier following a decade together. It wasn’t an easy decision but, I had high hopes for a rosier life after separation for us all.

So, how did it work out? In some ways, I was right. In my life after separation so far, I have laughed a lot and spent plenty of time in the company of great people. However, it’s also been really tough. This was unexpected. I thought 2018 would be full of fun as I reclaimed my freedom and rediscovered myself. Here’s a look back on each area of my life and how it has changed since last August.

Home life after separation

After handing over those aforementioned house keys, I was technically homeless until just before Christmas. The purchase of my own place fell through at the last minute. So, I started my life after separation scouring the Right Move website again. Then, luckily, the ideal flat came up and it was back in the village where I had grown up. Solicitors acted at their usual snail’s pace. So, I split my time between the homes of my two best friends and my parents, as well as the occasional stopover at TJ’s dad’s new flat.

Thankfully, that was soon over as I collected the keys to my new place. I even managed to get a Christmas tree up just in time. Since then, TJ and I have made that house into a home. Each room has been lovingly decorated with the extensive help of fabulous family and friends. I built myself a space to have a life after separation and TJ and I have made memories here too. This includes TJ moving into a big boy bed to turning the lounge into a tip as we play with every toy under the roof. I hope this continues as my little man grows up in the comfort of our own home.

Living on my own when TJ is with his dad has been a mixed bag of emotions. Sometimes, I relish the thought of a night on the sofa with the TV remote to myself. On other occasions, it feels weird leaving work at 5pm and knowing I probably won’t speak to someone again until the following morning. But, it has forced me to do some stuff to change that, like join a choir and take out a gym membership. That can’t be a bad thing.

Work life after separation

This was a rocky road, for all the right reasons. I don’t like to blow my own trumpet (OK, that’s only half true) but I was offered some fabulous roles with some great organisations. The problem I had was that most of them were based in central London. That would have meant a long and pricey commute from my new home in suburbia.

Then, an old friend from school got in touch and offered me a job with her marketing agency, which was based 10 minutes’ drive from home. Perfect. Since day one, I haven’t looked back. A great group of girls keep me smiling every day doing a job I enjoy and which uses my skills to the max. Kiki Queen Sareta and my new workmates have even crossed paths a few times. This is largely related to the UK Blog Awards, where The Typeface Group picked up an award too, as did Kiki Blah-Blah (twice).

Friendships

Things could have gone one of two ways when I moved back to the village which I grew up in. I knew a few people from my school and college days still lived in the area but I hadn’t seen them for nearly two decades. So, I took the bull by the horns to change that.

I have met up with lots of familiar faces and become firm friends with a handful. I have shared gallons of wine with a fabulous girl who has also been through divorce. She gives me hope that I, too, will find love again as she has a beautiful engagement ring on her left hand. I have done more than a small number of play dates with friends who have children around TJ’s age. One of the people I have had a pint or three with at the village pub is an ex-boyfriend. Although this time around, it’s purely platonic.

I already had some great friends in the area who I regularly visited before making the move away from London. Those friendships have strengthened and deepened. We have relished being able to spend quality time together on a more regular basis. That’s something which I will never take for granted.

Relationships

Ah, the big one. Where do I start? If you have read my blogs before, you will know most of this story already. But, to bring you bang up to date, in the last two months, I have been ditched mid-date and ghosted after three seemingly successful dates by someone I really liked. It hasn’t been the romantic life after separation which I was hoping for. But, I am still optimistic that the best is yet to come.

There’s obviously two people in the breakdown of any marriage. I spent the early stages of life after separation wracked with guilt that I had pushed TJ’s dad back to Square One in the game of life. Well, if it is a game and there is a winner, then that would be him. He’s months into a relationship and TJ has met this new partner too. So, it must be serious.

This is understandably stomach-churningly difficult, painful and downright strange. I don’t have any regrets about finishing our relationship when I did. But, seeing someone you used to be in love with be in love with happy and coupled up with someone else hurts, no matter what the circumstances. I do wish them well and I hope that love will happen for me someday soon too. That way, my original intention for TJ to have four happy parental figures instead of two unhappy ones will become a reality.

The future

So, what will the next 12 months of life after separation bring? Who knows. There are only a few things which are certain. Life will continue to march on ahead at a speed that I can barely keep pace with. TJ will consistently amaze me as he grows up more and more almost every week. I will definitely drink more wine than I probably should for a somewhat responsible 35-year-old grown up.

The things I hope for are for those friendships to flourish, for my career to keep progressing and for love. In Carrie Bradshaw’s immortal words, I am looking for ‘ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t live without each other love’. I know, I know, I want it all don’t I! Hell, why not?! I think I deserve it.