OPINION: WHERE IS THE GIFT REGISTRY FOR DIVORCE?
OPINION PIECE FROM SV USER RUDOLL:
There are turning points in our lives, whether it's graduating, getting married or having a baby, where we are often greeted with the beaming faces of friends and family congratulating us, sending us notes and gifts, "liking" our status and surrounding us with various forms of support. There are traditions that surround all of these wonderful milestones. There is the baby shower, the bridal shower, the going-away party, the housewarming party, the engagement party and the whale of them all - the wedding! We put these life moments on public display so we can received the love that surrounds us; the love we sometimes often forget exists besides for these moments. Even in times of sorrow, there are various grieving rituals that give shape and a form to this life event. Our loss is commemorated by the support of family, friends and neighbors coming together to remember and embrace the life of the deceased.
A friend could be getting married for all the wrong reasons or make a horrible parent but we automatically say "congratulations! I am so happy for you!" when they tell us the news. Without thinking, we give people making these life decisions the benefit of the doubt and assume this is the right decision for their lives. When I told people that my husband and I had decided to divorce, I was met responses in the vein of "Oh my god I am so sorry". I wasn't diagnosed with cancer, I was transitioning from married life to single life and moving into a new home. but my news was assumed to be very very bad news without giving any more information. That's how bad of a rap divorce has in our culture.
Now, of course , there are very difficult emotions that came along with a decision to divorce and I was not spared any of those but it was also a beginning of a new life chapter. Embarking out on my own, getting a new place, figuring out how life worked as a single person. Having been coupled for over a decade - it was an exciting time. For many others, divorce is a huge pivotal point in their adult lives that is generally accompanied by massive change and growth. As we know, change and growth don't always feel good but neither did childbirth. Isn’t it kind of strange at this point in our society that we are not more open-minded about the divorce process? Rather that gathering around us in support and formulating tradition to mark this life event, our friends and co-workers unwittingly give us "space" and "don't want to pry" and leave us to our process - alone. Yes, alone. As anyone who has been through the gauntlet will tell you, your friends and family get weird. It's hard to explain but they do. Coupled, weekends seemed packed with social commitments; single, whether with my kids or without - the days stretched out in front of me
It’s 2014 people! At what point in our society do we factually except that this is a facet of our every day lives and lend the support our family and friends deserve when faced with this change in their lives. I think it’s time we all came together as a society and rebrand divorce, and it’s social stigmas that come along with it.
Divorce, simply put, are a relationship transition in one’s life. We’ve all been through them pre-marriage. And we’ve all experienced that messy break-up, only with divorce we don’t have the loving embrace from friends and family, or the “there are other fishes in the sea” speech. In fact, we have nothing with divorce; silence. The only interaction we receive is that “he sticks out like a sore thumb” look at the family gathering, or the friend’s birthday.<b>
After Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent split with long time husband, and Coldplay front man Christ Martin, she took to her blog to explain their divorce. She interestingly referred to her divorce as “conscious uncoupling”. When I first read this, I thought to myself this could be the term to help rebrand the social stigmas surrounding divorce. <b> Think about it. “Conscious uncoupling” infers that the divorce didn’t occur due to failure, inadequacy, or even cheating. The divorce happened because, like many relationships, the two people both understood that they weren’t right for each other. “Conscious uncoupling” will most likely not replace the word “divorce”, but if anything it can help us change how we think about the social stigmas of divorce. If we treat it like another break up, maybe we’ll be there for our friends, and our friends will be there for us, to lend support and love.
This is no simple task obviously, because in truth divorce is a huge moment in one’s life. It’s a transition, or a new chapter. And like many other transitions in our lives, marriage, birth, death, etc., we deserve to receive, and to lend, support and love. With these two ideas in hand we can work together as a society to help change these stigmas that come along with divorce. Let’s get working, because undoubtedly we have friends and family right now who could use some love.