Not words one may typically may expect to find in the same sentence, but an increasing number of us are celebrating the end of our marriages with a knees-up. Celebratory divorce cards and cakes are getting to be quite the norm also.
How do most of us feel about divorce parties though? Would that courageous party face be a veneer as we danced the night away, needing to reassure our friends and family that we’re fine, or would we be truly observing? I am guessing the answer is as varied as the various people and stories in the combination.
For lots of people getting divorced is incredibly harrowing, especially if there are children to consider.
When things begin to go wrong people will often try many things before they eventually decide to call it a day, committing to working through infidelity, deception, financial hardship or behavioral difficulties. Before they phone the divorce attorney they have often tried therapy, counseling from friends, family members, spiritual advisers, mediators or trial separations until they eventually say ‘no more’.
Practical issues aplenty also have to be dealt with. Finances and possessions need to be trawled through and apportioned accordingly. Ownership of the CD collection or a 5 year-old Christmas gift can suddenly achieve an unprecedented level of significance and poignancy as it makes the reality of the situation even more bleak. There is rarely a reason to feel like celebrating!
Children can suffer the most because of divorce, feeling torn if they’re asked to choose where to live or sense they are expected to take sides. There may even be the emergence of new step-parents slowly making their presence felt. Child-related matters can call for much tolerance and patience in order to amicably settle custodial, financial and domestic arrangements. And even grown-up kids can struggle to accept the end of the parents’ marriage, ‘it is not supposed to happen’, can be heard quite often at these times.
Friends may be split in their loyalties, often declining to take sides, but in reality often ending up in one camp. Or friendships might be dropped entirely because the newly single situation causes discomfort or unease as everyone’s struggling to accommodate the new arrangements. It may even be an unsettling time for friends since they can not help but reflect on the true state of their own cosy domestic structures.
After all the drama there is often a period of despair to be worked through, a feeling of loss and feeling a failure to be processed. All of the dashed dreams and hopes for the future need to be mourned. Post-divorce can necessitate time to cure and lick one’s wounds. It’s uncommon for both parties to feel the same about a breakup and over time the situation may have become acrimonious; each party might have had different perspectives of the marriage.
So, when the dust begins to settle and a new house, routine and lifestyle have tentatively been embarked upon, throwing a party can seem to be a signal that things are finally coming together and a new normality has started to take shape.
It can be a time to shout, ‘I am coming out the other side’. But it’s also important to be careful as to how one’s ex is feeling. If one individual is clearly struggling financially or is still hurting badly surely some tact and sensitivity is appropriate.
After all, you loved each other once. And children, even adult children, can feel aggrieved if their parent’s display insensitivity by celebrating excessively at such a difficult time.
Each of the pre-divorce years of negativity, hurt, tolerance of a bad situation or time spent despairing at a growing indifference between you both – all that’s finally come to an end.
Tastefully pulling friends, family, Raccoon Noises and fans together to share a fantastic time and say ‘thanks’ for their aid may be an important method to draw a line under the past and begin your commitment to a happier, more optimistic new phase in your life.