Several years ago, I went through a split of my own. I was lucky — my divorce was a respectful experience. My ex (I can’t stand that term!) and I continue to lovingly co-parent two happy and vibrant kids. Still, I felt isolated from friends and family during the uncomfortable, undecided phase while I was still in the marriage. Let’s face it: if your friends haven’t been through it, they just don’t get it. And no one wants to talk about the end of your marriage over eggs at brunch.
Once the decision was made to split, I was overwhelmed by everything I needed to do to make sure our kids had two secure and stable homes instead of one, not to mention navigating a new world as a separated, soon-to-be-divorced, co-parenting mom who was dating again for the first time in over a decade.
During those years, I did what everyone does to find solutions — I fired up the Internet! Lo and behold, I didn’t find much. There were fundamentalist blogs that said divorce was a sin and a handful of sad-sack divorcee forums. It was a desolate landscape.
Sure, I had tons of well-meaning friends who offered unnecessary sympathy before dodging the topic, a therapist, a nightstand stacked with self-help books, and no shortage of chatty co-workers, but I needed a real-time community with practical knowledge, insight and wisdom. I needed to hear from other people who were also “uncoupling” and dealing with the same big changes that I was.
I was shocked that in 2011, there wasn’t a place that embraced this transition and all its opportunities in a clear-eyed, modern voice. And in early 2014, there still wasn’t, until I started Splitsville. Why wasn’t post-marital life given a fraction of the airtime, bandwidth and magazine ink that weddings and babies get? Countless platforms exist for people who want to date, get married and have kids. There are apps, gift registries, cable networks and entire media empires devoted to “happily ever after.”
If over half of all marriages end in divorce and long-term couples break up every day, we’re all ignoring a pretty significant and all-too-common life stage. For too long, there’s been a negative stigma around the end of a relationship. It’s time to change that. Let’s embrace splits for what they really are: a brand new life chapter for the newly single.
Sure, break-ups are hard, and divorce can be an utter nightmare, but why are we shying away from such a natural life transition? Let’s start looking forward to —and even celebrate— what comes after the end: the beginning of something new. Welcome to Splitsville.
Tara Averill- Founder/CEO