(losing 50 percent of everything, just because you lost 100 percent of one person) By: Dawn Dais 

Dawn Dais is a freelance writer and designer. Her previous books, including “The Sh!t No One Tells You,” “The Sh!t No One Tells You About Pregnancy,” “The Sh!t No One Tells You About Toddlers,” “The Sh!t No One Tells You About Baby #2” and “The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women” were published by Seal Press, have topped Amazon.com bestseller lists, and have been featured by countless TV and print media sources. Her uniquely sarcastic yet inspiring tone has entertained and guided an enthusiastic core of readers toward their various ridiculous parenting and athletic goals. Dawn’s most recent book, “The Sh!t No One Tells You About Divorce” released in January 2023.

“One is unlikely to find a funnier guide to surviving divorce.” — Publishers Weekly

This is an excerpt from her book The Sh!t No One Tells You About Divorce: A Guide to Breaking Up, Falling Apart, and Putting Yourself Back Together 

When I first left my marriage, I felt like a college student who had just moved into my first apartment. I set up a card table and folding chairs in my dining room and assembled Ikea furniture in the kids’ rooms. I had a cheap set of pots and pans and exactly four plates. My mom gave me a presto wood bookshelf and bought me some new silverware. I was forty-two years old.

When a buddy came over to help me with a house repair, he asked me to go grab a screwdriver. “I don’t have a screwdriver.”

“You don’t have a screwdriver? What kind of lesbian are you?”

“A divorced one.”

Another friend was over at my house, and we were trying to decide what to cook for a dinner party.

“How about burgers?”

“I don’t have a barbeque anymore.”


“Let me check. Nope, I don’t have a baking dish.”

“We could just order takeout for everyone.”

“We are going to need to get some paper plates, I don’t have enough real plates for everyone.”

And so it went. I had somehow gone from a fully functional adult to someone who couldn’t say for sure if I owned a can opener (I didn’t).

There is probably something empowering to be said about literally rebuilding your life, one screwdriver at a time. About the process of realizing that you have never felt more whole, even though you’ve technically lost so much. About discovering the value of peace over the value of things.

Lots of inspirational posters could be written about all of this, I’m sure.

But. If we are being honest, it’s all a pretty big pain in the ass. I remember walking into my closet before a shower and realizing I had lost custody of my favorite towel in the split. Yes, I could easily buy a new towel, that was not the issue. The issue was that I really liked that towel, I’d already purchased that towel, and that towel was worn in perfectly; a new towel wouldn’t be the same. I’d checked “towels” off my adulting list years prior. The same as I’d done with screwdrivers, plates, barbeques, and dining chairs. And now, just because I wanted to lose 100 percent of one person, I was having to replace 50 percent of everything else in my damn house.

None of this was unexpected or unjust. But it was very, very tedious. I think that’s where divorce really gets you, in the tedious details that have to be dealt with on top of all the monumental details. You have to figure out custody schedules, and mediators, and budgets, and moving, and emotions, and healing, and #$%#$% screwdrivers. The last thing you need after dropping your kids off at your ex’s house, after an hour-long call with your lawyer, after paying all your bills with only half the income, after your therapy appointment, is to be standing in the kitchen and realize you can’t actually make dinner because you don’t actually own a can opener. Cuss words. The tiniest kitchen utensil can be what breaks your divorced back.

I have no real advice here, other than the promise that eventually your life will have all the pieces put back together again. With kitchen utensils and tools and towels and your heart all exactly where they are supposed to be. You’ll reassemble piece by piece, the big pieces and the little ones. You can and will do this over time, and this time you’ll be assembling a permanent structure.

Or, and this is actually becoming a real thing, you could create a gift registry for your divorce just like you registered for your wedding. Send out divorce announcements (they got your wedding announcement, why not send a divorce announcement too?) to all your friends and family, and include a link to your registry at Target, “Good news is: I got out of a bad marriage. Bad news is: I lost my blender in the split. Please send help.”

See if you can register for some therapy too, along with new towels, and you’ll be all set. Find out more about Dawn Dais and her books at www.dawndais.com.

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