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Monday, September 17, 2012

Life After the Divorce - New York Times Article - "The Unbridle Shower"


Most people I know, who are newly divorced, tend to speak of their lives in terms of "life before the divorce" and "life after the divorce."  Even when their divorce represents the end of a marriage that was filled with animosity and rage at the end, they still tend to feel some ambivalence about parting from someone they once loved and who once loved them.


Life After the Divorce
There are often ambivalent emotions after a divorce
I have a friend who is newly divorced.  At this point, she looks at her life in terms of "before the divorce" and "after the divorce."  While she's mostly relieved to be unattached to her ex, who was cheating on her with many different women and she doesn't miss her ex, she still looks back on the good times they had when they were first married, "He was so charming then.  We were so in love." She was the one who initiated the divorce and, overall, she's glad that she's not with a man who was unfaithful to her.  But, like many people who go through a divorce, I still detect a sense of ambivalence in her voice when she talks about how in love they were when they first got married.

Everyone's experience of divorce is different - New York Times "Modern Love" article
Of course, everyone's experience of getting a divorce is different, whether they were the ones who initiated the divorce or they were the ones who wanted to reconcile or it was a mutual decision.  But I haven't met anyone (at least, not yet) who is having a party or an "unbridled shower,"as they're called in yesterday's Sunday New York Times article by Judith Newman: The Unbridle Shower- Celebrating Divorce not with-a Whimper But a Bang.

I had no idea that, as the New York Times article states, there are high-end party planners who organize parties for people who are divorced or soon to be divorced that are like bridle showers.

The article mentions that there is actually a fireworks company in England that can be hired for these occasions to set off fireworks that spell out "free at last."  Apparently, some people who are getting divorced even list themselves with store registries so their friends can buy them gifts for their "unbridled shower."

And here's another thing I didn't know:   there are divorce party specialists (http://divorcepartysupply.com), according to the article, who will "celebrate your new freedom".

As I was reading the article, I felt myself getting increasingly annoyed with descriptions of devil-horn tiaras, Alice in Wonderland costumes, and "penis pinatas" at these "unbridled showers."  Someone in the article even mentioned that since gay men and lesbians can now get married and, hence, they can get divorced, this might mean even more divorce parties.  Is this something to look forward to?

After I finished reading the article, I wondered: What's making me feel so annoyed?

The conclusion I came to is that there was a frivolous attitude to the article.  This might not have been the writer's intention.  But the way I read it, it sounded like an "out with the old" and "in with the new" attitude in the article, a sort of cast-off-that-old-marriage-and-walk-in-the-sunlight-of-your-new-life kind of attitude.

As a society, are we really so cavalier about our relationships?

I'm certainly not suggesting that people who are newly divorced should spend their days with the sheets pulled over their heads (although, you could understand someone feeling that way initially).  But a divorce party cake with a bride on top holding a knife over the groom's mutilated body?

The important of emotional support after a divorce
I do like the idea of friends and family coming together to be supportive of someone who is getting divorced.  People who are going through a divorce often need a lot of social support.  There was one person in the article whose friends bought him new kitchen utensils to replace the ones that were kept by his wife after the divorce.  This was obviously a supportive gesture to help this person move into the next stage of his life.  I also liked that one person received a beautiful piece of sea glass as a gift to symbolize survival and endurance through a difficult time.

What do you think?

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  
Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006.

Photo Credit: Photo Pin










2 comments:

BeverlyWillett said...

Josephine, I think you're right on. It's one thing to provide support to people going through a difficult time, but high-end party planners?? I find that distasteful along with all the rah-rah. I wrote an article for Salon about how I celebrated my 25th anniversary before my marriage ended but while we were still going through divorce. http://www.npr.org/2012/03/08/148235385/gray-divorce-over-50-and-splitting-up. I'd initially thought of a party, too, though more low key but ultimately realized this was not an occasional for celebration. Not taking our relationships seriously enough has produced some of the problems we're facing today in our society. Thanks for your blog. Beverly Willett, www.beverlywillett.com

Josephine Ferraro, LCSW said...

Hi Beverly, thanks so much for your comment. I agree with you. BTW, I"m also enjoying reading your blog.
Josephine Ferraro, LCSW