According to the Sunday Times, getting divorced these days is something to celebrate. Women everywhere, apparently, are organising ‘anti-hen’ parties, icing Divorced At Last on large white cakes, watching their wedding videos in reverse and whooping with joy when the groom removes the wedding ring and the pair separate, driving off into their individual, lonely sunsets.
Am I the only one who finds all this a little sad? And not just, I would add, because I haven’t had a Happy Divorce party all of my own. It’s not that, really it isn’t. I’m not yearning to live it up. I’m not a big party girl and haven’t been for years. Even my hen do, long ago, was curiously sedate – I went to the Sanctuary with my two best friends and we sat in fluffy robes drinking green tea. The wildest thing we did was to swim in the nude (which does feel curiously decadent – it’s amazing what a difference taking off a teensy bit of lycra makes). In retrospect, I wonder if all this restraint meant that my heart wasn’t in the whole thing even then – I was 26, for God’s sake, and really should have been out getting hammered wearing a fake bridal veil and L plates from Claire’s Accessories, like any normal girl.
I think it just disturbs me that anyone can see divorce as a result to be celebrated. It is not, surely, what either party went into a marriage for. I can understand the wild sense of liberation as the shackles of an unhappy marriage fall with a great clank to the floor. But that moment – remember Nicole Kidman punching the sky after her divorce from Tom Cruise – doesn’t last all that long. Divorce, just like marriage, is for life.
There seem to be many stages to divorce. After that euphoria comes moments of sadness, attacking as random happy memories which are rendered suddenly painful. If you have children, the unexpected moment when they look, or sound, or even walk, like the former spouse, can be exquisitely difficult.
I’m trying to picture myself at a place in this divorce business when I can, like the model illustrating the Sunday Times article, wear ‘Just Divorced’ knickers with pride. I think it’s going to take many years. And a crash diet, liposuction and lashings of Vaseline on the lens, of course.
And nor will I be taking up their other suggestion, of getting my engagement, wedding and eternity rings remodelled into merry divorcee gee-gaws. Yes, things went pear-shaped with the actual husband. But the jewellry I’m still attached to, thank you.