It's official: you are divorced. It's no longer an in-between state. You're no longer separated. You're no longer married. You are a complete and total free agent!
The stages of "divorce joy" are uniquely special. You've finally ended the long, arduous process, and you're still standing to talk about it.
Stage 1: The "Pinch Yourself" Phase
Is this really it? Did the judge just pound a gavel? Do I really never, ever, ever have to live with that person again? Am I really Mrs. Maiden Name again? Or, am I really never responsible to manage her PMS fits again?
You pinch yourself. You wonder if you are real. You remember those bad dreams you have in which you had to be married to this human for eternity and even enter hell chained to this person. Is this perhaps just a very good dream? You pinch yourself so hard that you scream bloody murder.
Oh yes, my dear—it's official: you are divorced!
Stage 2: The Hesitant Celebrant
You are ready to scream and shout! But then you remember those legal fees. Ohhh those legal fees. Or perhaps if you mediated, the long mediation session in which you wanted to pull your ex's hair out, or your own.
You panic—what if you have to do this all over again? What if – what if? Eek! No—it's done! You smile and breathe deeply and realize that no, most likely, you will never have to deal with that again.
Stage 3: The Jump Up & Down Stage
It's legit! You are a BAS—a bad-ass single! You never have to do the dishes "just how she likes it" again. You never have to pretend to like sex with that "sexy guy" in his dirty, ripped up, wife beater tank top that he's had since he hit puberty. You won't have to listen to her nag you about oh, everything. You never have to pretend to like his mom again.
You are jumping up and down like a toddler on a trampoline. Life is damn good.
Stage 4: The Sexual Realization
You are thrilled! Finally—you can have your hands on your hot young personal trainer. He's been eyeing you and waiting for "the news." Finally—you can meet up with that hot number you call your admin assistant. If you're a gay man, you've got your Grindr blowing up.
You are ready to jump and hump anyone's bones. You don’t need to worry about any backlash like you did during the separation period. Go buck wild! Go ahead. We're not judging. Well…be careful at the very least.
Stage 5: The Hallelujah Moment
Yes, yes, yes! It's finally done! Finito. Concluded. Over.
You are now officially, and most happily, divorced! You break into gospel song. Even if you are Jewish. Buddhist. Hindu. You could give a whole church choir a run for their money with your praise and exaltations. You are divorced. It is a miracle.
Free at last—free at last!
Written by Laura Lifshitz
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, writer, comedienne, and single mother. Laura will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women's issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women's Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango and numerous other sites. Her own website is FromMTVToMommy.com.