Do we talk about divorce *too* much?

And by we, I mean society.

I’ve read so many articles about a certain celebrity who shall remain nameless (because I don’t honestly want to focus on *that* either!) and her quickie marriage and pending divorce, and several blogs on the same topic, but this one from Emma  at Divorced Before 30 struck me most, on Divorce Stats for People in their 20’s, about just how common divorce is at this age range, and well, all ages, really.

But my question is…so what? 

Why does it matter that divorce rates are high? (I realize I am going to get a lot of differing opinions on this one!!)

Why do so many automatically start judging?

Why does it feel like a black mark (or appear as one)?

And why does it feel like failure? The ultimate life failure, at that.

I guess since I have gone through it, I just don’t see it as a negative anymore. I don’t see it as failure (clearly!), I don’t judge (nor did I previously either). More than ever, I think divorce is almost a fact of life where many have been touched by it or affected by it. If they were not divorced, someone in their family is, or a friend, or a coworker.

Divorce happens. 

Move on.

As much as I believe in the sanctity of marriage (and yes, I can believe in it, even though I am divorced, I firmly believe) and as much as I want to be married again…to be a wife, to have a husband, I don’t think there is always ‘just one’ person for everyone out there. Clearly, this was not the case for me. There are plenty of examples where this is the case for some (I obviously have many friends and family that are married to who I believe, are their ‘just one’), but I just don’t think it’s that black and white anymore. I just feel so strongly about this and get so frustrated when I read headline after headline about divorce and they are always negative.

Why can’t there be a happy ending? There can…because there almost always is a happy ending after divorce.

I am living proof.

I know many that are reaching  (or reached) their happy ending (hello Shannon, Sunshine/CBG, T, Nicki, Sally, SingleishMomMistySoccer Mom, Magnolia, RondaNew Beginnings, Ms Brookie, and Emma, just to name a few!!) post-divorce. And that makes me so incredibly happy to see, because it takes bravery and courage to get through divorce. Divorce takes guts. Divorce is not failure. Divorce is, in some cases, a triumph. Divorce is, in some cases, the best decision ever made for you (*raising hand*). 

If we talk about divorce so much…I just wish it was portrayed more realistically. Like this. Celebrated for what you become on the other side, not trashed because maybe you made a bad decision, or maybe there are circumstances that nobody understands that led to divorce.

Divorce, at its simplest, yet most gut-wrenching form, means irretrievably broken. But it also means finding out what you are made of, and how to use it as an inflection point in your life towards the better.

The life you were meant to live. 

 

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40 thoughts on “Do we talk about divorce *too* much?

  1. In my circumstance, I honestly feel like my divorce was a failure. But that’s me and my own situation, and I don’t necessarily see that to be the case for everyone. However, having said that, I do think that having a failed relationship under my belt has made me stronger, wiser, and an all around better person. It has made my current relationship that much better, because of the lessons that I have learned.

    I also don’t believe in “The One” — not even for those people who are still with the same person after many years. There are just too many people on this planet…too many combinations…the odds of ever finding that “one” (or even two!) are miniscule. I think that having “The One” is as easy as deciding that the person you’re with is “it”. But the trick is – you BOTH have to make that decision, and be equally willing to work toward making (and maintaining!) a happy life together….and doing whatever is required.

    1. Fair enough re: divorce and failure…I just think that even if that were the case, that now, you have learned from it and you are, as you say, stronger, wiser and better. I love what you say at the end of this, too, you both make the decision and you both work equally at it to make it succeed.

  2. Oh my god I love you :). Haha. Too much? But seriously. It’s true. I know that my divorce saved me from… well, from myself. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be. My life was going nowhere. It never would have. My ex and I went from being best friends, to being roommates, to being strangers, to resenting each other. There weren’t any compromises that could have saved it.
    The truth is that the past feels worlds away, now. No one knows what divorce can do to you and do FOR you until they’ve lived it themselves. To me, it’s the smartest decision I’ve ever made. It was something I needed to do to grow up, it helped to to find my footing and become much more confident.
    And don’t even get me started on the stigma that surrounds remarriage! Haha. The difference is that this time I am confident in who I am and who I’ve chosen to make that commitment to. I’ve been known to say, after a few drinks… “everyone should have to get divorced and have a second marriage.” Haha. Of course it doesn’t hurt if you get it right the first time, either…

    1. Haha ‘too much?’ Nope, never. Love you too girl! ;-) I feel the same way about my ex…no resentment, thankfully, but the roommate thing. And it DOES feel worlds away and I am so different now than I was then. For the best. (stigma re: remarriage…yes, story for another day I guess!!). While I wish I ‘got it right’ the first time, part of me is glad I didn’t, obviously, since I never would have met M, and I never would have found a side of myself that I love even more than the old me.

  3. The negative stigma does bother me most of the time. But, I have to admit, in the case of you know who, I wonder if she even tried. What happened in just 72 days to make her decide this was the only way out? If something that horrible did happen, then perhaps she rushed things a bit getting married in the first place. I didn’t want to judge her. I wanted her to succeed, but now that it’s over so quickly I really do wonder if she even tried. It almost makes me angry because I’ve certainly tried dang hard… And there wasn’t even a marriage involved! Part of it is frustration that some people get to get married multiple times and I don’t think I’ll ever get married. This ties in with jealousy too, I’m sure. That just means that I’m not perfect either I guess!

    1. Agree re you know who…there is something else going on there, has to be. And for you, my dear, I do think marriage will happen for you…even if you don’t believe it now, it will. I never thought I’d even consider it (again), but here I am…and it’s on my mind.

  4. Hmmmm. You make some good points. I of course, am not anywhere near over my divorce and I still struggle with it everyday, but I suppose the journey is different for everyone. But I think that the reason there is so much media attention when celebrities divorce, is not because of the “divorce” itself, but just because every single bit of drama having to do with a famous person is news fodder.

    About the happy ending thing: I agree with you that the “one” is a rather fantastical concept born of wishful thinking. I think that there could be any number of people out there for each of us, except we are limited to the people we come into contact with. But as to the legacy of divorce, I think that the reason it is discussed so negatively these days is because marriage has become rather disposable to a large segment of our population. Divorce is the right choice for many, but I think that the general attitude of acceptance of it has also led to the increased ease by which people exit their marriages, sometimes without grounds. I imagine that some one in your circumstances might say that even though P left you, he did you a favor since now you have found M and you get to grow from that experience, so in that case his leaving without grounds was ultimately RIGHT for you.

    And I’d have to say you are probably right. I wish I could fast forward to the point in time where I see my situation in the same light (assuming that I ever get there.) As always, your positivity is commendable. Sorry this was so long, but this is a topic I could go on and on about…

    1. Glad you like some of my points! You are such a thinker, I thought maybe you’d come at this completely differently. But you also bring up some good points, many do think of marriage as disposable sometimes and go into it too easily, thus some of the divorce rates, but I also think that in most cases, people divorce because it is broken, and cannot be repaired. As for you, I wish I could fast forward and find that ‘happy place’ where you see that all of this was worth it. ((hugs))

  5. I am hanging my head in shame after reading this because I was beating myself about the head and shoulders the other day for feeling like a failure after my divorce. You’re right. You’re absolutely right and again, I know this intellectually. I’m not sure if it’s the Catholic upbringing that did this to me or the fact that I have to face my ex again and again since we have kids together… or the fact that sometimes, he just looks so angry at me or even laughing at me… but I don’t read into his expressions at all, do I? LOL!

    There is no question that this has been a great experience for me but I’m STILL experiencing it. I’m still learning who I am. I guess I get angry sometimes because I miss the old me who thought I had it all figured out. *sigh*

    Thank you for the reminder that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and there’s no failure in that.

    Love love love you, cuz.

    1. Don’t hang your head in shame!! ever ever! And I am SO glad one of my posts hit you at the right time…since yours almost ALWAYS do and I am glad to pay it forward ;-) And ya know, I go through waves where I am still experiencing it too, and think that is just a natural progression…we are never quite done figuring it out. Ever. That’s good and bad I guess ;-) Love you too, cuz! :)

  6. Divorce feels like a failure because it is a failure. Sometimes it really is that simple. That marriage FAILED.

    It’s how you process and deal with the failure that matters.

    Everyone fails. It’s part of life. People who are afraid of it, and are so set on never experiencing it, never really live

    1. Also a good point. The marriage failed. Yes, in that case, I would agree with you. But I don’t think it means YOU are a failure necessarily if you get a divorce. I also think you have sage words here, DD…people are afraid of experiencing it, but to experience it and get past it is living and learning and gaining perspective on why it didn’t work. True true.

  7. I almost feel like I shouldn’t comment on this post because I haven’t been through what you’ve been through. Yet, I found myself nodding my head throughout this post, agreeing with your points. Yes – as some have already commented, in it’s most literal form – divorce means the marriage failed, but it does not (or should not) define you and does not mean that YOU are a failure. At all. You are living proof of what something as broken (or “breaking”) as divorce can be to the heart and soul, you can move forward and be a 1000x better person for it. And you can find love, better love, after the fact, too…

  8. I completely agree!! It shouldn’t be a scarlet letter. obviously most people who get married don’t plan on getting divorced and it’s something most people don’t want to go through, but at the same time–it’s a reality.

    1. Scarlett letter!! Yes, what a good comparison because it does feel like that sort of label sometimes. It is a reality and sometimes people just need to get over it. It happens. Move on.

  9. Very interesting. I find it sad that divorce rates are so high. What does that say about us as a society? Maybe nothing…maybe volumes. But, I hate that someone might not get a divorce because they feel like a failure or are somehow stigmatized. Sometimes divorce is exactly what needs to happen period. I’ve seen my mom go through 3 divorces and I have seen my sister go through one. I know they both feel like failures and that makes me very sad for them.

    1. Exactly. The stigma behind being divorced is what I hate. I hate when people feel that way when they’ve gone through it. It happens. It’s a break up…just of bigger caliber and legal ramification, when you boil it down. Sucks, but ya move on…

  10. Naturally, I agree strongly – even though I’m not exactly what you call a “relationship” person. At least not right now. I think people change and lives change and sometimes they change together and sometimes apart. As a wonderful blogger (Blunt Delivery) recently pointed out over at College Crush (post here: http://thecollegecrush.com/2011/10/4-characteristics-of-every-successful-relationship/), the end of a relationship doesn’t make it a failure. When we stop marking it that way, maybe we can start focusing on what we learned from it, the good things about it, and the things we need to take with us, be them lessons, growth, people, etc.

    I do think we should keep talking about divorce – although I wholeheartedly agree not the way we have been. We should be focusing on it for two reasons: 1) to highlight the fact that people don’t freakin’ take serious commitment seriously enough and they really need to start freakin’ doing that and 2) to encourage the discussion you are starting here: that not everything lasts, that upholding “til death do us part” as the ONLY successful way to have relationships and that anything else is a failure, and oh look, *the statistics* say you’re going to fail AGAIN if you try again — that all that is utter bullshit. We need to have a healthier view of what constitutes a “healthy” and “successful” relationship. Marriage-for-life with THIS FIRST PERSON should not be our end-all standard. Period.

    Great post! :D

    1. AMEN sista!!! I agree with you about talking about divorce…changing HOW it is talked about and characterized, not necessarily stopping talking about it altogether. And the whole thing about failing again on a second marriage just because you have already been married once, is ridiculous. (and yesyesyes to learning from ‘failed’ relationships – duh, that’s the point, right?!) Thanks for weighing in!

  11. My parents are divorced…so I know it from that perspective…but even though I know that some marriages just aren’t meant to be, I hope that mine isn’t in that category…not that I think it is…but I know that 50% fail…and I don’t want to be on the divorced 50%…which means I have to always make an effort in my marriage. Daily. :)

    1. Right, Just because the divorce rate is high does not mean you will be one of those…succumbing to it…nope, you are the master of your own destiny, right? and working on your marriage daily is huge. Those that don’t…well, they may end up in the divorced category.

  12. Divorce is definitely a big topic with room for so many points of view. I have friends and family (including my parents) who are divorced, and I’ve seen some beautiful things arise by working through the sadness and pain. I value your opinions so much and of course wholly believe that those who are divorced still *deserve* (I don’t like that word very much, but can’t think of another) to be happy in the sanctity of marriage!

    1. Thank you Dorry! I really appreciate your words here and that you too believe that even those that are divorced ‘deserve’ to be happy in the sanctity of marriage. I really value that.

  13. yes ma’am. even on nights like this, when the wounded place bleeds a little, the divorce was the best thing i could have ever done. for both of us. and it cleared the decks to let us figure out what the real answers are. i found mine. and even though i am seethingly angry with the ex right now, i hope he finds his. that was the whole point, right?

    1. cleared the decks for the future – yes. Totally agree. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do or get through, but done ‘right’ it is the best thing that can happen for those that work at it to learn from it and move forward.

  14. Yikes, sometimes I feel like I talk about divorce way too much! I guess that’s what having a divorce blog will do for you :-)

    I hope to God that I have paid my dues in the divorce department. While it’s not the end of the world and you can learn so much about yourself by going through the experience, it’s nothing that I want to repeat!!

    1. Well, I fall into that category too (talking about it too much hehe), but of course, that’s not what I meant (know you knew that!) by this post. Just in the WAY it is talked about, it just really gets me sometimes, ya know? Paid your dues…absolutely. I hope we both have :)

  15. In some ways it’s the opposite here in Ireland. Divorce was only made legal in recent years before then it was tough, you were stuck with whoever you had married and there was no choice. In some ways I think people are still stuck in the mindset that if they are married, they have to stay together at whatever cost. I know of girls from school who want a divorce from their husbands but their husbands won’t give them one and they are living a nightmare life in a house with someone they clearly don’t want to be with.

    I think with love and relationships, you can never tell if it’s going to last the distance and some relationships just don’t and that’s okay. I totally agree, there can be more than one right person for people and sometimes people just grow apart. I do believe everyone should have the right to move on and start again and not beat themselves up about it or think that they failed if their relationship didn’t work.

    1. Wow, I had no idea that’s how it was in Ireland until recently. I can’t even imagine…

      And you are right, you can never tell if a relationship or marriage will go the distance. You certainly try and want it too, but sometimes, it’s not meant to.

  16. YES.

    Sometimes happily ever after means getting out of the wrong relationship. I’m happily married to the man who is my “one,” but I obviously didn’t get it right the first time!

    Thanks for pointing out that divorce takes guts. It takes a lot of faith to make a decision our society looks down on to protect one’s own happiness.

    Great post:)

    1. It DOES take guts. I firmly believe that. It is not ‘the easy way out’ – it is making the difficult decision knowing that it will be painful and hard, but WORTH it in the end. YOU are living proof! (and I can’t believe I didn’t list you in my list of those that found the right one the second time!! you are one of my favorite love stories!

  17. You are so right – divorce takes guts. I may have a different opinion than you though, on whether or not I would ever re-marry. Of course, I don’t ever want to say “Never”, but the thing for me is, now that I know what marriage is or what it could/should be like – I don’t know that I would do it again. I am so happy right now, so in love, I feel so incredibly loved, so much so, that I don’t feel the need to get married. If I were to have kids maybe I’d feel differently – maybe not. All I do know is, people like the celebrity who shall remain nameless, don’t do much for the sanctity of marriage these days. Wow. This was kind of rambling.

    1. Not rambling! Ya know, I felt the same way as you, pretty soon after my divorce…that I didn’t want to marry again. Didn’t feel the need. I can’t explain why I do now, except for M, and wanting children, at some point, in the future. He makes me want to be his WIFE and b, I personally would like to be married when I have children. I think it is absolutely an extremely personal choice for anyone, it’s never black and white and ‘never say never,’ right?

  18. This is an amazing post! (I want to send it to a few friends, but I don’t think they’re ready for it just yet.) I think it’s not that people talk about divorce too much as much as they talk about it from a negative perspective. If it’s reframed as a chance to be happier or live a better life, that might help those who are processing the experience.

    1. Oh thank you so much!! Feel free to share it with them…when they are ready for it. It’s so true, so many see divorce so negatively, when they really shouldn’t. It’s just the way you look at it, I guess.

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