In a pathetic and blindingly obvious attempt to cheer myself up in the midst of ghastly domestic anguish which, these days, I am too noble to blog about directly, I bring you my Divorce Top Ten. It’s a list of all the terrific advantages of life as an EWAG, or ex-wife and girlfriend. For any other divorceewaggers out there, I hope this will bring a crumb of comfort. If you can think of any more, please tell me. And for the married, look on it as a dire warning – keep going to Relate, or else!
1. The loo seat remains down at all times. Unless, of course, your children are boys, in which case I suggest you allow your ex-husband to have custody so they can all live in a horrible, caveman-like, seat-up environment.
2. If you should ever ask, ‘does my bum look big in this?’ as you get ready for a dinner party, there is a satisfactory lack of an answer, which any sane woman can take for a resounding ‘no’. That can be a lot more reassuring than having a frank rear view conversation with a husband, which may very well be the reason why you got divorced in the first place.
3. You lose the in-laws! I needn’t tell you what bliss this can be – though there can be collateral damage, as you also bin all those nice brother- and sisters-in-law that were the only saving grace of family Christmases.
4. And, talking of Christmas, divorce will very efficiently half your Christmas card list! Just from the point of view of the God-awful writer’s block which seizes every year when faced with penning something ostensibly cheery, yet with just the right level of toxic undercurrents, for the mother-in-law, this is truly a boon.
5. Likewise with presents – worry no longer about how to buy your father-in-law something less foul than the Marks and Spencer cardi, circa 1964, which has been velcroed to his nasty Tattersall check shirt for the past 15 years. And you need never turn Hamleys upside down to find something, anything, which just might shut up your husband’s feral pack of nephews for a scant half -hour on Boxing Day.
6. You don’t have to hear the same old jokes time and time again and maintain an interested expression. Believe me, many a woman in Dulwich has resorted to Botox just to withstand her man’s favourite witticisms.
7.You can shamelessly enjoy really crap programmes on telly, without having to pretend you were just surfing idly before coming across Strictly, the X Factor, What Katie Did Next, Peter Andre Has His Turn and anything else rubbish yet dangerously addictive on telly. Plus tune in to bonnet shows galore – I’m watching Emma twice nightly on Catch Up at the moment, loving it so much. I saw Lost in Austen three times. There’s no way I could have got away with that before the Decree Nisi.
8. You can damn well put your telly in a cupboard if you feel like it. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is not to have to pick a moment, gently drop the idea in, nurture it lovingly for a few weeks, negotiate the builders and the price, only to have to cancel at the eleventh hour because the husband says we can’t afford it. Oh yes we can – and we did. The telly is in the cupboard. Ha!
9. The World Cup? Euro 2010? The Olympics? The Four Nations? Crickety nonsense? You won’t have to watch a single minute. Love it.
10. And now we come to the difficult one …The one true, unsung benefit of divorce is free babysitting from a trusted carer once a fortnight. However much one loves one’s children, however dedicated a mother one is …. it is good not to have to get up at the crack of dawn every single Saturday to ferry my treasures to ballroom dancing. I miss them madly, but they are having a lovely time with their Daddy, so I can fill the bed with toast crumbs and read, with guilty pangs but yes, with pleasure too.
Yes, we might all have cried buckets over the break-up, but the odd lie-in is a benefit of divorce that’s not to be sniffed at.