Make a Dating Checklist- Trash the Dress Excerpt Chapter 4

Hi friends!

Today I bring you chapter 4 of my book, Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s.

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Make a Dating Checklist

Any newly divorced woman will tell you that re-entering the dating world is a frightening situation. Eventually, we have to face the scenario when we’re first lured by a new man’s bait. After we’ve been caught, we find ourselves gasping for air while he contemplates whether he would like to get cookin’ or toss us back into the cold, crowded waters. He’s playing the game, and we’re so revitalized and ready to find a worthy love and get back to where we were in life that some of us are already envisioning walking down the aisle again.

It’s natural to get overly excited. Most of us have been deprived of romance for so long, that we’re eager to kick off our panties for passion. So we do. And then, the man who popped our post-divorce cherry won’t reply to text messages for three days. Or, we’ll see on his social media profile that all his new friends are hot women he seems to have met on a dating site. 

When this happens, ladies, refer to your dating checklist. This document should compile all your requirements in a future mate.

Were you ignoring the fact that he lacked goals or disliked children because you drowned every time you looked into his oceanic eyes? If so, consider a dating checklist your lifeguard.

These bulleted items will not only help you find Mr. Right, but comfort you each time you encounter Mr. Eh, Mr. Playing-The-Field and Mr. I-Really-Thought-He-Was-The-One-This-Time-Even-Though-I-Only-Dated-Him-For-One-Week.

Divorce is a rejuvenating experience.  It’s a chance to explore interests and goals that have been simmering on the backburner of your brain.  It’s an arrow shot straight from cupid with a note attached that reads, “This is your second chance to get everything you want and deserve. Go for it.”

Both your “Good Riddance” list and your dating checklist will be therapeutic and inspiring guides for this exciting new journey. Sometimes the “Good Riddance” list will act as your inner conscience and scream “Move on!”

One day, your dating checklist will have every quality marked off and you’ll find yourself over the moon, not only with the person you’ve found, but also the person you have become. It happened to me.

My post-divorce dating checklist was rather simple. I wanted someone who:

●      Was goal oriented

●      Had a good job (or was taking action towards getting one)

●      Was hard-working

●      Had his own hobbies

●      Appreciated all my hard work and supported my goals

●      Loved my dogs

●      Was open to fostering shelter dogs

●      Embraced the straight-edge lifestyle or was close to it (Social drinking is OK. Getting drunk and using drugs are not. I’ve never smoked or had more than a sip of alcohol).

●      Perhaps had tattoos

●      Enjoyed the simple things in life

●      I didn’t have to chase or make all the first moves with

●      Would happily take pictures with me (Max complained every time and even stomped off during our engagement photo shoot!)

●      Enjoyed hanging out at book stores

●      I didn’t have to change who I was in order to be with

●      Did not have stretched earlobes (Hey, it was a trend in my “scene!”)

●      Was not a musician (Touring all the time? Groupies? Always struggling financially? No, way!)

Eight months after I left Max, I met someone who met all my requirements!  His name is Frank and at the time I write this chapter, I can state that we have been happily committed for over two years. I’ll tell you more about Frank in a bit, though.

Right now, I want to share how I got back in the game.  Judge me however you would like, but I went out on a date about a week or two after I left Max. Hey, it’s not like I was mourning the end of a great romance! I was celebrating my rebirth. Yet, I let go of a few of my closest friends because they didn’t approve of my decision to date so soon. Their loss, not mine! I can only have positive, supportive people in my life.

Anyway, I met up with a friend from college—let’s call him Kyle—who had just gotten out of a long-term relationship, too. I had always crushed on Kyle, but unfortunately nothing ever progressed between us in college or that night. It was a bummer, but just not meant to be! However, it was nice to get dressed up and break into single life.

Since I’ve always been a bit of a homebody, I wasn’t sure how to begin dating again. Luckily, I had a little help from friends, old and new. First, the Planet Verge girls came to my rescue. A few told me to sign up for a particular dating website, noting they met some decent guys. If nothing else, I was told the emails I received from site users would make me feel good about myself.

Within my first week on the site, I met Rick.  It turned out we attended the same high school and had mutual friends. Having a connection between the virtual and real worlds made me feel a lot more comfortable about going on a date.

That night, Rick let me choose the restaurant, so I picked my favorite vegetarian establishment. Afterwards, we went back to his place. That resulted in my post-divorce one-night stand. Boy, did that make me feel alive! Of course, I didn’t plan on our rendezvous to happen at all or for it to be a one-time deal, but it happened. And I don’t regret going all the way. How could I resist such passion when it was lacking in my own life for so long?

I was crushed days later when I saw Rick tagged in online photos celebrating New Year’s Eve with another woman while I was home alone with my dogs, hiding from society! My stomach sank every time I looked at their faces. Their tryst destroyed me for a few weeks. Vulnerable, I was convinced I was meant to meet Rick and my whole divorce happened so he could enter my life. If only I had my dating checklist together at that point! What was I thinking? He had a cat!

My spirits lifted when an old friend from high school, Molly, reached out to me. She saw my online status change from “married” to “divorced” and sent me a private message expressing her sympathy. We made plans to meet for brunch.

Over pancakes and coffee, Molly slowly approached the subject of our mutual online friend, Rick. She asked if he was the guy I was referring to having recently played me out. It turned out that Rick was Molly’s ex–boyfriend! We bonded over our dating experiences. So, I have Rick to thank for not only making me feel like a sexual being again, but bringing a new confidant into my life.

Molly wasn’t the only schoolmate who reached out to me during my dreaded status change. Another acquaintance of mine commented, “Sorry to hear, but believe me, life after divorce is so much better.”

As horrible as it sounds, I was thrilled that this girl was divorced. I was no longer the lone wolf! I was slowly forming a pack! We met for coffee, exchanged stories and laughed about our ex-husbands. She played an integral role in helping me deal with my divorce. Sure, friends and family help, but only another young divorced woman can relate to all the emotions we’re feeling as we navigate the post-divorce world.

This friend was also dating online. We helped each other write bios and choose photos for our profiles. Whenever we went on a date, we made sure to take all precautions. I’ll discuss online dating more in-depth later, but basically, we would investigate other dating sites to see if the guy kept multiple profiles. Then, we checked social media sites to make sure he was “normal.”  Once a date was set, we e-mailed each other all the details of where we were meeting (always a public place) and the guy’s vital information including phone number, full name, email and home address.

            I only met two other guys from a dating site. The first was a heavily tattooed hipster who worked on Wall Street and had just broken up with his girlfriend. We talked for months before I went into New York City to meet Mr. Hipster at his job and then accompany him to a going away party for his friend. He was adorable, but younger and very shy. I don’t think he was ready for another relationship. The poor dude was really heartbroken. That was fine with me because he liked girls who wore glasses and minimal makeup. On dates, I wear contacts and Urban Decay glitter-specked eye shadow. Next!

When May rolled around, six months after Max and I split, I decided to pay a visit to Ajnira, a spiritual healer. Below is the transcript from my tarot card reading. Please note, Ajnira did not receive any prior insight on my situation, yet nailed my relationship with Max.

“You’re freaking out,” Ajnira told me. “There’s a lot of things that are happening to you—ideas and thoughts from all directions.”

She continued, “You have a problem with someone. They’ve been thinking a lot about you. You’re estranged from this person. There’s been a rift—even though you’re actually still in contact, you’re separated, alienated. It feels as though you’re living in separate worlds.”

Ajnira seemed to be reading my mind when she said, “You’ve been standing on this conviction that you are right and no matter which way you cut it, you are right. There’s no disputing. You’re not apologizing and there’s no going back. There’s nothing to rehash, your mind is completely made up. It’s so completely made up that as far as you’re concerned, it’s over.  It’s in the past, it doesn’t exist for you anymore; you cut them loose and you cut this whole situation out of your life.”

Wowed, I listened intently as Ajnira elaborated, “You are trying to bring yourself together with all the things that you want to be involved with.  The things you want to be involved with are things that provide you the opportunity for long-term security: financial, emotional and practical. There was a deal-breaker situation. That’s what we make changes for. That’s why there are situations that evolve that show us someone’s true colors. It’s good to see when a situation shows you how much time you’re wasting and how little common ground you thought you had and also that your expectations and their expectations and beliefs are completely different.”

At that point, I informed Ajnria of my pending divorce. She then continued her reading.

“In your very near future, it looks as though you’re going to be overwhelmed with a passionate situation,” Ajnira said next. “You’re going to be very highly involved—sexually, passionately involved—with somebody. You’re going to be focusing on that.  You have the time and focus now to participate in that more. That brings you a lot of happiness; it’s a good situation. You’re finding your feet on the ground again, where you can actually move forward and you can feel the feelings that you should’ve been feeling all along in your marriage, but it took this to wake you up to let you know that what you were getting in your marriage wasn’t the way it really was supposed to be.”

“Whoo!! Finally,” I thought to myself.


The reading continued. “Now, all this energy that you have should be focused on things that matter to you—things that have heartfelt significance, things that you care about, and only those things.  Wherever you put your energy, it drains your life force if it’s not fulfilling or if it’s not returning to you equal and appropriate energy in exchange. So your spiritual guides are basically saying you’re doing the right thing because you’re not wasting any more time, you’re not going down any more roads that are bringing you nowhere and that the things you focus on expand.”

 After taking a moment to mentally thank my spiritual guides, I turned back to Ajnira. “The fabric of reality is very fragile. Every minute it could just dissolve and your life could fall apart or it could come together in amazing ways. Despite appearances, the things that you’ve asked for are in the process of being achieved. Very shortly, you’ll be standing on top of the world because you made certain goals your object and they are being achieved. Then, you’ll have to make new goals.”

Once again, Ajnira was dead on when she noted, “It does seem that your husband doesn’t really believe in the divorce.  Is that true?” 

That was indeed true! I recently ran into Max at a concert. He got so upset upon seeing me that he relocated to a different section. Later that night, he called and tearfully said he thought we would still go out on dates after our split! He wondered what would happen if we worked things out. I told him that I never planned on seeing him again. He respected my honesty and remorsefully told me that if he knew what he wanted in life, this never would’ve happened. I replied to him, “If you knew what you wanted in life, this never would have happened because it’s the opposite of what I want.”

But, back to Ajnira, who told me, “I think he is hoping that it will somehow be reconciled and you’ll come back together again and you’ll realize the reasons why you married him in the first place. He’s still very much in love with you. Oh well! You tried it.”

Those were my thoughts exactly. “It didn’t work for you,” confirmed Ajnira. “You’re taking your magic tools—you’re a magician in your own life, creating your reality. You are able to create anything you want because you’re a highly developed, evolved person and you know how things work for you. At least you’re not confused, because a lot of people would stay in a situation, trying to work it out and see things from the other person’s point of view. You’re honoring yourself and that takes a lot of courage and self-confidence.”

Pegging my personality, Ajnira then said, “But you do worry about other things and go into states of being immersed in your own world and you don’t notice what’s going on outside your life because you’re so self-absorbed in your interior world. You have a lot of blessings that are being offered to you that you may not even be aware of because you’re so caught up in this self-contained situation. Your spiritual guides are just saying, whenever there’s any kind of difficulty in your life—like losing your job, let’s say—it’s supposed to bring you to this place where you stay objective, where you don’t let it rock you, where nothing happens to your stability (mentally and emotionally) where you just seek to iron out whatever issues keep surfacing and repeating. If this situation mirrors in any way a prior pattern that you have that’s not serving you, the sooner you get the message and the lesson, then it can collect and be over.”

What Ajnira said next helped me understand why I was meant to lose my job. “You’re now in this phase where you want to cut and make something happen that’s new and so it kinda leaked over into your job, too. You just got sick and tired of everything you were doing and wanted to turn over a new leaf.  This is all about you testing yourself to see if you can be thrown into situations that are outside your comfort zone, situations that you can’t predict and that you’re not well-versed in, so you can raise the bar in your personal ability to adapt and to create something new.”

My heart sped up a bit as Anjira told me, “You’re going down the path of your life and you have everything that you need to navigate the road in front of you.  Life is uncertain. The more, in a sense, you get used to dealing with uncertainty, and feel that you have the inner resources to handle whatever comes, the more prepared you will be when things happen that you don’t anticipate. There is a job that you’ll be getting, and you’ll be getting a phone call about, but you haven’t applied yet.”

On a side note, it turned out Ajnira was right. I turned down the first job I was offered, but five months later accepted a position at a public relations firm.

Back to the reading. Ajnira explained, “There are certain issues that keep coming up for you and will be reflected in both places. Whatever’s coming up in your personal life will come up in your business life. There’s this bleed-through effect. You want to be in a really good connected relationship where you’re choosing to have it all and you’re being guided.  You have a lot of spiritual leaders walking with you, whispering in your ear, taking every step with you. You’re being protected and it looks like everything you ask for at this point in your life, you actually get. You just have to be sure to be clear and actually express it. Just put it out there and the things that can meet it will meet you.”

Nearing the end of the reading, Ajnira said, “You’re putting down a new foundation in your life with the standards and boundaries that you want to operate and as you do this, everyone you meet and come in contact with applies.  The secret to the success that you’re having is a place of detachment.  Buddha says that the cause of all suffering is attachment and the path of freedom is detachment. By you dancing over the surface of your life as if do not have any problems at all, even though there are problems, that minimizes the problem. That brings you to this place where the problems are also the source of our great benefits, our great wealth.”

 “The world is a mirror of what goes on inside of us internally,” Ajnira informed me. “So when we see what’s being reflected at us, we know where we’re at and that’s 100 percent confirmation of what we’re vibrating in terms of a frequency and the law of attraction—how we’re vibrating. Since you don’t have any white-knuckle clenching emotion, the things that you’re asking for can come to you. Even though they’re not immediate, they’re in the works. They just need an accumulation of energy to be present in your ‘now.’  All of this is about you wiping the slate clean and making a new beginning. It’s more exciting actually, if a little treacherous, because you’re on your toes. You’re really like the heroine in the novel of the adventure of your life.”

Ajnira assured me, “There are no wrong moves; there’s just finding the formula of how you run your life and sticking to it.”

I encourage all young divorcées to note what Ajnira told me next: “By taking back your freedom from this whole commitment of marriage, you’re becoming the sovereign ruler of your world. You’re getting your ticket back. You can create all rules for how everyone interacts with you and the rules that you live by and it’s just something that you won’t be giving up again.  So even though you want to be in a deeply committed, connected, passionate, intimate relationship, you won’t be giving up control. You won’t be giving up your independence.”

Ajnira concluded my reading saying, “There are just things you’ve learned from the whole experience of marriage. Marriage is difficult. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s not the fantasy of it that we’re always told when we’re little, this whole big fairytale. We give up a piece of ourselves in order to be involved in that way.  When we need ourselves back, which we ultimately do, we have to carve it out of that unit. So now, you’ll be protecting yourself instead of being in a situation feeling that you have to sacrifice yourself for the benefit of the relationship.”

Meeting with Ajnira put me at ease. I felt hopeful and calm. One month after my tarot reading with Ajnira, I met the man who would become my boyfriend, Frank. They say love finds you when you least expect it and I certainly didn’t plan on meeting my soul mate in a dirty rock ‘n’ roll bar called the Court Tavern. In fact, I wasn’t on the prowl at all that night.

I was a few weeks into hanging out with this guy I had met online. Turns out we once again had mutual friends. He was a little dorky but rode a motorcycle. He also owned a house. However, smart financial decisions were not enough to keep me playing along with his text message games. I found them to be emotionally draining!

This guy sometimes waited hours or days to reply to texts and on top of that, never took me on a proper date. We always hung out with his friends. There were also a few evident deal-breakers on my dating checklist, like his occasional smoking. I knew I would have to eventually spread my wings and fly away, but wanted to wait until he returned from a business trip to confirm that it was over. This may sound odd, but I felt like a player talking to more than one guy, although I know that is what dating is all about. What can I say? I’m a monogamist!

With that said, I obviously didn’t feel right talking to anyone else until I made it clear to motorcycle man that I was no longer interested in playing games. Still “involved,” I wasn’t expecting to be talking to guys the night I met Frank. Besides, I was technically working.

My friends Nicole, Jessica and I were filming an episode of Planet Verge TV with a band we knew.  The guitar player had one of his good friends, Frank, with him that night.  Frank’s not a musician, which would’ve crossed him off my list, but he did go on tour with the band sometimes. We met up with everyone before the show.

 That night, I held the role of videographer while Nicole interviewed the group. Frank watched and then we all went our separate ways for dinner.

Later at the show, the Planet Verge girls and I went to relax in the back room of the venue so we could chat and avoid the noise of the opening acts. Shortly after, Frank and his friend joined our coffee klatch. Frank had me laughing all evening. It wasn’t long before I said to myself, “I could date him.”

This may sound funny, but the first thing that attracted me to Frank was his voice. I just love it. Frank also shaves his head, just like my teenage crush, surfer Kelly Slater. Frank may not be a world-champion surfer, but he was captain of the swim team and a lifeguard (Hobbies? Check!) I look up to him—literally. At 6’3”, Frank towers over my 5’1” frame. Because of that, I always feel protected when I’m in his arms, which have a few tattoos. He doesn’t have as many or as large tattoos as I do, however. In fact, Frank doesn’t really like girls with tattoos. He especially isn’t fond of the huge calligraphic “sXe” tattoo on my forearm that I got on my 25th birthday to represent being straight-edge.

However, I can’t blame him. That tattoo was supposed to be really small and on my wrist. But when the artist showed me his sketch, I loved it so much that I went ahead with the recommended size and placement. Then, I went home and cried, afraid to remove the bandage from my arm. Once I did, I hid it from my mother for weeks. I woke up every day looking at my arm, hoping it was just a bad dream. Today, it’s my favorite tattoo. I love that no matter what I wear, my skin shows the world I am artistic and strong. The only annoying thing about my body art is covering it up for my corporate job, which I never thought I would have!

Luckily, Frank saw beyond my tattoos and fell in love with my total package. Ok, mostly my booty, as he likes to say. But there was really no talk of tattoos the night we met.

Rather, our little group tested each other on Saved by the Bell trivia, which Frank totally won. At one point, I told him I am obsessed with soap operas.

“You’re like a 49-year-old divorced lady,” he teased.

I figured that was as good a time as any to come clean. “Actually, a 29-year-old divorced lady!,” I retorted.

It was always so awkward having to reveal that part of my past to guys I just met. I could just imagine their brains going crazy trying to figure out my deep, dark secrets. Being divorced can sometimes feel like there is a great big red stamp on your forehead that says “baggage.”

Our conversation continued, but eventually our circle parted ways as the band set up their instruments to perform. Frank didn’t speak to me the rest of the night. I was convinced it was because he didn’t want to date a girl with a gritty past. But a few days later, he sent me a friend request online and invited me for a “non-threatening” cup of coffee, which I thought was adorable and clever.  I accepted his offer but delayed setting an actual date.

At the time, I was trying to balance my unemployment by taking on babysitting jobs, working very briefly as a part-time bridal consultant (oh, the irony) and doing casting for a reality TV show. Babysitting may sound like an odd job for a 29-year-old, but I loved it. I began filling in for my friend Megan on her nanny gigs and then got hired by a friend of one of the families.

My charge was the most adorable five-year-old ever, who was coincidently named Noelle. She had platinum blonde hair, piercing blue eyes and a toy husky. It was meant to be. Babysitting Noelle was more than just a job. It allowed me to play house and pretend to be a mom for a few hours every week. However, I felt that void in my life more than ever during those nights.

Between scouting television talent, convincing a five-year-old to go to bed at her scheduled time, and sending out resumes, my days were long and draining. In addition, part of me was reluctant.

 As much as I wanted to be in a new, healthy relationship, I was afraid I would lose all the freedom I had just regained. I was taking online classes through unemployment to get certified in two programs I hoped would assist me in getting a graphic design job at a magazine.

In addition, a friend was teaching me professional video editing. That program advanced my skills for Planet Verge TV. I hoped to finally get Planet Verge to the big time!  We had just launched a few documentary series and I felt like my life was finally picking up speed. For the first time, I had the freedom to chase all my career-related dreams and hours to dedicate towards growing projects. The workaholic in me feared distraction.

But then, I realized Frank was the only person whose phone calls I accepted during General Hospital. And I found myself constantly checking my phone to see if he sent me a text, which he did at least once every three hours. I wanted to talk to Frank and hear about his days.

I learned that Frank and I had a lot in common. He likes basically the same music as I do, hates drug use, rescued a shelter dog, and has strong family values. Check! Check! Check! Check!

Frank made it very clear that he was interested in becoming more than friends. Check “Someone I didn’t have to chase or make all the first moves with” off my list! Frank sent me “good morning” text messages, affectionately nicknamed me Jasper (Joelle + Casper because I’m so pale), and always put a smile on my face.

On our first real date, we sat on a park bench and ate ice cream (Enjoys the simple things in life—Check!). Then, we walked around the artsy little town. As we passed a sushi restaurant and perused the menu, Frank said, “We’ll eat here one night.”

 I knew right then and there that Frank wasn’t the type of guy to play games. He was genuine and our chemistry was organic. Everything felt natural. Without even thinking about it, I missed General Hospital on SoapNet (RIP, network) that night.

The next time Frank and I hung out, we went shopping so he could pick up supplies for an upcoming camping trip. Any other girl would’ve scoffed at that date, but I’m not high maintenance. Afterwards, we stopped by his apartment.

I know where your mind is going, so let me stop you before it gets to the bedroom! Frank took me to meet his dog, Linus, the beagle he rescued from a shelter with his roommate.

I was impressed by all the tricks Frank taught Linus. The dog could even play hide and seek! I made a mental note to have Frank train my wild pack. The rest of the night was spent sitting on the couch watching television, Frank with his arm around me and Linus cuddling across our laps. I felt like we were a little family already.

The next week, Frank volunteered to come over and bathe Skye and Lucky. I was bit nervous because he would be the first guy I brought home post-divorce. But I worried for no reason.

While at my house, Frank struck up conversation with my mom and then entered the warzone. See, I tried to tell him that bathing my dogs was no easy feat.  Being the stubborn Taurus (I am one year and four days older) that he is, Frank refused to listen. However, he learned his lesson as Skye and Lucky turned into bucking broncos and had to be muzzled. From that day on, Frank made it his mission to train the dogs, which I’ve found super attractive.

A few months following that afternoon, I changed my online status; this time, to “in a relationship” with Frank.

It was wild falling in love while still legally married. Frank joked that he was having an affair with a married woman. But on September 9th—just 12 days before what would have been my second wedding anniversary—I sent Frank a humorous text message from the courthouse that said “Dear Frank, our love affair can now go public and we can consummate our relationship.” My divorce was official.

Fortunately, my whole divorce filing process was very simple. My mother, a legal secretary, took pride in typing up the paper work. The day of proceedings, my mom, lawyer and I sat in a room full of people who were also scheduled to go before the judge for their divorces. I was the youngest person there and felt so out of place. Max didn’t contest the divorce, so he didn’t attend. I notified him by text message to expect the paperwork and all he had to do was sign on the dotted line.

When the judge called my name, I approached the bench and confirmed some information, like the address of my marital residence, before he declared me a free woman. Of course, I considered myself free since the day I left Max, but it was nice to make things legal.

My divorce day was far from bittersweet. By that point, I was already in love with Frank and bursting at the seams to confess my feelings. In just a few months, Frank showed me love and what it was like to be in a real relationship.

I’ve loved before, but have come to realize I romanticized my previous relationships. Before I met Frank I always considered Brad, my on-again-off-again boyfriend of four years during college, to be my greatest love. From kisses to love notes hidden under pillows, Brad introduced me to fairy tale romance.

However, he often chose partying with his friends over me, his girlfriend. We were both workaholics so I thought it was OK that he chose HTML codes for clients over cuddles. Also, his friends didn’t like me because I didn’t drink, so sometimes Brad let an entire month go by without seeing me. I didn’t know any better at the time to realize it was not a healthy relationship. We spent holidays together, and Brad often wrote me songs, poems and gushy emails, so I overlooked my place on his list of priorities. 

When I first met Max, I didn’t think another love could compare to the way I felt about Brad. So I stopped looking for that intense spark and enjoyed the comfortable nature of my relationship with Max. He didn’t shower me with affection, but Max was there when I needed emotional support.  Our similar interests drew us to each other, but couldn’t be the glue that bonded our delicate relationship.

Today, I don’t have to worry about anything coming between Frank and I. From the names of our children to the breeds of dogs we’re going to adopt, the future Frank and I will share is just waiting for us to catch up. Every day, we’re a little closer to our goals. One of which is moving into our own place.

For a while, Frank was living about an hour away from me, which began to take its toll. Because I was financially devastated from the loss of my job and buried in credit card debt from paying off my past (wedding expenses, honeymoon, condo), I was in no position to move out of my mom’s house in order to get a place with Frank. Plus, my brother was no longer living at home, so there was plenty of room. In no rush to leave, I asked Frank to move in and have been falling asleep with my head on his chest ever since.

Sharing space with Frank meant sharing closets. Every morning as Frank slid the closet doors open to get dressed, he was blinded by a bright, sparkling obstruction: my wedding gown. I knew I had to get rid of it, and since I needed the extra cash, I figured my best option was to put it up for sale. I listed my dress on websites and even consulted with a bridal consignment shop but was left frustrated by the lack of money I would actually make, when or if it sold.

I was stuck with a work of art I never wanted to view again. My wedding dress became a constant reminder of my failed marriage. Every time I looked at it, I became angry thinking of how beautiful I looked the day I wore it and got upset because I couldn’t hang up any pictures of myself wearing it.

Then it hit me. I didn’t need to sell my dress to get rid of it. I could trash it during a glamorous photo shoot.

Like what you just read? Be sure to subscribe to Trash the Dress on Substack so you don’t miss when I post the next chapter of Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s! Get this acclaimed book on Amazon.

Trash the Dress is a collection of stories based on a series of interviews with empowered young women who raised their naked left ring fingers high and waved their ex-husbands goodbye as they took charge of their futures. It has been featured on Huffington Post, Yahoo! Health, Cosmo Middle East, Sunday Times, Globe and Mail, International Business Times and other leading outlets.


Always grateful, 


Empowering girls of all ages and life stages.


TRASH THE DRESS (How to navigate divorce in your 20s and celebrate the life you were meant to lead. Subscribe for expert articles and community) 

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