A hot, new trend in Las Vegas is the Divorce Party. Let’s face it, divorce is no longer an isolated event, and it was only a matter of time until it became yet another excuse for a party. But
there is a positive side to this phenomenon.
The divorce party for some has become a modern rite of passage, emphasizing not so much the end of a marriage, but the continuation of life after an unhappy or dissatisfying interruption.
Divorce has traditionally been a source of shame, something to be hidden and not discussed, or discussed only with the hope of re-uniting. ‘Anorexia divorca’ humorously refers to women who experience dramatic weight loss while pining over lost love.
Just because divorce has become commonplace does not make it easier for anyone going through it. Yet, the fact that it is commonplace has somewhat reduced the social stigma, which should therefore make it easier to recover and move on.
Of course, there is still the intrapersonal stigma, the sense of failure, the perception of love lost. It is understandable that this is a life transition deserving of a fair period of grief. But like it or not, life moves on.
A common excuse for hosting a divorce party is that, as a rite, it presents an opportunity for closure. It is a public acknowledgement that the nature of a fundamental relationship between two people has changed, that the two who became one are once again two.
The rite prepares one to contemplate an obvious question, “I was one of two who became one, and liked it. As one by myself again, what do I do now?” Having completed the rite puts one in the position to act on that query.
Consider what it means for life to move on. As a responsibility to shared children prevents a total split, co-parenting can and should be approached as a unique relationship, as separate as possible from marriage. Though often not as dramatic, divorce influences family and friends in a similar way.
From a personal perspective, responsibilities once shared with a spouse now fall to one person. Finances and living arrangements are usually influenced. In other words, there are many unintended consequences to divorce.
Following any traditional rite is a change in behaviors consistent with the revised status conferred by the rite; in this case, moving forward as a single person after divorce. To help navigate that new status, there are now divorce coaches.
A good divorce coach helps newly single people adopt a positive state of mind and learn skills for living independently. It is important to leave the past in the past and prepare for a better future. A divorce coach engaged early on may help a couple determine the merits of re-unification vs. divorce. If divorce is inevitable, the coach can facilitate an amiable separation, perhaps participating in a Collaborative Law divorce.
To some, a divorce party may be unseemly and appear to trivialize marriage. In contrast, what would constitute a ‘seemly’ time to grieve; a year, ten years? It takes courage to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on with life. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting despite fear.