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‘;Hey, my divorce has come through, let’;s throw a party!’; Not words one might typically expect expect to find in the same sentence, but an increasing number of us are celebrating the end of our marriages with a knee-up. Celebratory divorce cards and cakes are becoming quite the norm too.
How do most of us feel about divorce parties though? Would that brave party face be a veneer as we danced the night away, wanting to reassure our friends and family that we’;re fine, or would we be really celebrating? I’;m guessing the answer is as varied as the different people and stories in the mix.
For many people getting divorced is incredibly harrowing, especially if there are children to consider. No one gets married expecting it to end in divorce. Most of us have a romanticised view of marriage, which often ends with growing old and sipping cocoa by the fire together.
When things start to go wrong people will often try many things before they ever decide to call it a day, committing to working through infidelity, deception, financial hardship or behavioral issues. Before they phone the divorce lawyer they’;re often tried therapy, counseling from friends, family, religious advisors, mediators or trial separations until they ever say ‘;no more’;.
Practical issues aplenty also have to be deal with. Finances and holdings need to be drawn 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 all the more bleak. There’;s rarely a reason to feel like celebrating!
Children can suffer the most due to divorce, feeling torn if they’;re asked to choose where to live or sense that they’;re expected to take sides. There may even be the emergence of new step-parents gradually making their presence felt. Child-related matters can require much tolerance and patience in order to amicably settle custodial, financial and domestic arrangements. And even grown-up children can struggle to accept the end of their parents’; marriage, ‘;it’;s not expected to happen’;, can be heard quite often at these times.
Friends may be split in their loyalties, often reducing to take sides, but in reality often ending up in one camp. Or friendships may be lost altogether as 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 as they can not help but reflect on the true state of their own cozy domestic arrangements.
After all the drama there’;s often a period of justification to be worked through, a sense of loss and feeling a failure to be processed. All the dashed dreams and hopes for the future need to be mourned. Post-divorce can necessitate time to heal and lick one’;s wounds. It’;s rare for both parties to feel the same about a breakup and over time the situation may have become acrimonious; each party may have had very different perspectives of the marriage.
So, when the dust starts to settle and a new home, routine and lifestyle have tentatively been embarked upon, throwing a party can seem like 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’;m coming out the other side’;. But it’;s also important to be mindful as to how one’;s ex is feeling. If one person is clearly struggling financially or is still hurting badly some tact and sensitivity is appropriate.
After all, you both loved each other once. Seeing your ex throw a lavish party while you can hardly afford to pay the bills seems unnecessarily cruel! And children, even adult children, can feel aggrieved if their parent’;s demonstrate insensitivity by celebrating excessively at such a difficult time.
That aside, throwing a divorce party is often a signifier that at last all the hassle is over and you can finally be yourself. All 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 has finally come to an end.
Tastefully pulling friends, family and supporters together to share a good time and say ‘;thanks’; for their help can be an important way to draw a line under the past and start your commitment to a happier, more positive new stage in your life.