Just Divorced

July 29, 2009

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.

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  • mumplustwo July 30, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Well put, DD. I, too, read the article and felt sad. It was annoyingly trite and can only have been written by someone who has absolutely no experience of divorce, surely? By the way, I think your hen party at The Sanctuary sounds like bliss – far better than free-wheeling around Brighton in a blur!! (Although, actually, that IS quite fun, too …)

    But I do know what you mean. My equally muted h.party also got me wondering (years later) whether I was perhaps already aware that all was not well in my 'perfect' world …

  • Yummy Mammy July 30, 2009 at 4:04 am

    Ummmmm, I'm not particularly going to disagree with you, but I think some people chose to celebrate as it signals an end to a long and painful period of their lives.

    OK, so I have to admit to mentally planning my own divorce party. It's been put on hold that many times now that I'm beginning to think it will never happen. But mine is sort of different and has been going on for 5 years now.

    Personally, I don't think it's so much celebrating that a marriage broke down, more that there is some sort of closure on a horrible situation.

    Oh and I wasn't allowed a hen party. Figures hey xx

  • Margarita July 30, 2009 at 8:03 am

    I think people are just trying to make themselves feel better for having poor choices at times. Rather than 'mourn a marriage', as many in the past have done, we think celebrating the divorce will bring about a positive light and make us feel better about what we've done or not done.

    On the other hand there's nothing wrong with celebrating singledom. 😉

  • Nunhead Mum of One July 30, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    my divorced friend had her engagement ring and wedding ring melted down and made into a pair of earrings which then infected her ears so badly that the holes closed up. Her only comment on the whole debacle was "I might have known, he chose the rings himself and got me back in the end"

  • dulwich divorcee July 31, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Hi MPT, hmmm, maybe we're on to something here and the more fun the henparty the more chance the marriage has? Perhaps we could find some university with a few million to spare and we could investigate. I think we'll need a few staples to start off our research, so Chardonnay, chocolate, boxed set of Sex and the City ….

  • dulwich divorcee July 31, 2009 at 1:14 am

    Aha, YM, another bit of hen party evidence …..I'm sure your party will be fab (and I'd love to come!) but I suppose I find the whole 'divorce is great' industry growing up is a bit yuck. I'm not saying closure isn't a good thing – it absolutely is! But if you have children you never really get closure ….as we know!

  • dulwich divorcee July 31, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Hi Margarita, I think you're right, we should just celebrate singledom and stop all this pressure on women to get married in the first place. Marriage, and divorce, are definitely not all they're cracked up to be!

  • dulwich divorcee July 31, 2009 at 1:19 am

    NMO, lovely to see you darling! Great story too, euww, your poor friend's ears! At least it must have made her absolutely sure she'd done the right thing. I remember the columnist Kathryn Flett saying she'd nailed her wedding and engagement rings to a tree and then shot them to smithereens with a 12-bore. Sounds like the infection-free way to go! xx

  • NML August 2, 2009 at 1:54 am

    It's a rather sad state of affairs when people are celebrating the end of something that they were only too happy to celebrate years before. It all sounds rather hollow. The funny thing is that the biggest beneficiaries are the people cashing in on it. I admit it's nice to celebrate closure but there's something very trite about celebrating divorce. I imagine these people going home and having a good cry! I am afraid of hen parties so yours sounds rather lovely!

  • Suburbia August 4, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    You are so right. My divorce isn't even through yet and I am bracing myself for those moments of sadness that you describe.I never intended to walk this path and it is hard not to thing of it as another failure sometimes.

    My mother said recently "It's a shame you ever married him"! I then reminded her how she came by her two adored grandchildren!

  • dulwich divorcee August 5, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Hi NML, lovely to see you, I am a big, big fan of your Baggage Reclaim site, has cheered me up many a time when I've been baffled by boy behaviour ….I agree, all this divorce hoopla is probably a cynical ploy to sell us more stuff, though I admit I thought the knickers were quite funny!

  • dulwich divorcee August 5, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Suburbia, so true, whatever else has happened you can't regret the children ….mine are fabulous at the moment, I'm very lucky x