Breaking Through and Thriving in the Early Days of Seperation and Divorce

Allan Johnson, PhD
22 min readJun 17

Welcome to part 2 of 10 of Untying the Knot: A Journey of Healing and Recovery During Gay Divorce. In this groundbreaking book, I embark on an unconventional adventure through the emotional landscape of divorce in the LGBTQ+ community. It explores attachment styles and how they shape relationships, offering guidance on healthy attachment and building resilience. It also addresses the process of rebuilding strength and confidence, providing practical tips and strategies for rediscovering one’s identity and embracing a future filled with hope and possibilities.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

April 2022. As I sat amidst a colourful collage of discarded pizza boxes and empty £5 bottles of Pinot Grigio — the remnants of several weeks in which I had not really left my flat, let alone my sofa — the once vibrant colours of life had dulled and been replaced by a drab palette of melancholy and dread. The flickering glow of the television seemed to be all I had in the way of companionship as I began The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the countless time. Literally. Every night for weeks. The same film. A group of British pensioners, armed with witty one-liners and a second chance at life, build new lives in an eccentric Indian hotel that promises luxury but delivers a bit of a charming mess. In a strange way, it was as if I was watching my own life on screen, a mixture of laughter, heartache, and unexpected twists. Night after night I would immerse myself in their world, finding comfort and inspiration in their journeys, hoping to discover a spark of wisdom or a glimmer of hope amidst the chaos of my own profoundly painful love story. I think that for me the film was a reminder that even in the midst of heartbreak, life still has the power to surprise and delight. Or at least it would have if I had ever made it to the end of the film. More often than not I fell asleep in tears when Graham Dashwood, a gay high court judge, finds his first and only love again, only to die of a heart condition the next morning. There I was. Ugly crying, dribbling garlic dip down my t-shirt, and about to fall asleep on the sofa once again.

March 2022. I was Associate Dean at a midsized university near London, about to publish my third book and receive a promotion (nine months to the day after my separation began I became Dean, but that’s…

Allan Johnson, PhD

Academic | Writer | Mindfulness | Author of Alan Hollingurst and the Vitality of Influence (Palgrave) and Masculine Identity in Modernist Literature (Palgrave).