Divorce selfies are trending on Twitter and Instagram under the hashtag #divorceselfies. This is an interesting phenomenon involving people who wish to publicize their divorce. They typically post a happy picture of themselves as a couple following the finalization of the divorce. Many acknowledge how glad they are to have had the relationship, but speak of accepting that the relationship did not work out. This is a sign of couples opting to bow out gracefully during the process of divorce.
This is a new trend in divorce. Gone is the acrimony, the fights, the anger and bad blood. Instead, many couples are admitting that the relationship did not work for them, choosing instead to end things on good terms. They are celebrating the good that happened in the relationship, honoring the marriage experience, and moving on to friendship or even to working together to co-parent post marriage.
Not that long ago, there was a stigma attached to being divorced. You were odd man or woman out if you were a single parent. People felt ashamed when a marriage ended up in divorce. This new trend is a completely different way to look at a failed marriage. In fact, the progression marks a significant social change.
The Divorce Experience
Let’s face it: Divorce can be ugly and difficult on everyone involved. Nobody is particularly fond of the experience. However, it remains a viable option. That is, after a couple has tried over and over to make a marriage work, they can always choose to move on, and do so amicably. When a couple has decided that the best course of action is to divorce, they need to make the change in status in a responsible manner. Both parties need to put the family in a good place for the long-term. They should be respectful of each other and be there for the kids, who will no doubt need to be reassured that their parents are not abandoning them.
As a divorcee, I know firsthand how tumultuous the divorce process can be. Leaving someone you love behind, starting over, splitting up assets, and discussing joint custody of your children is one of the toughest things a person can experience. I am fully aware of what often goes wrong during a divorce.
I come from a long line of people who stayed married no matter what. Some of my family members had happy relationships. Some did not. And in observing some of the more contentious relationships while growing up, I would have to say now that they probably should have ended.
Of course I do understand the many good reasons to stay in a marriage. You want to be there for your kids. You have this one person who has your back, who provides companionship and some level of stability. Marriage is about accountability. You stay married to remain accountable.
A divorce is an extreme variation of marriage. It alters who you are and how society perceives you. It significantly impacts your lifestyle. You may not want to let go of that. You may love your spouse, but you may be unable to co-exist peacefully in the same household. There can be other factors. Maybe you come from a single parent home. So you rationalize staying together because you don’t want your kids to have to grow up in a single-parent home like you did.
No one goes into a marriage thinking they will divorce and become a single parent. But sometimes you have to say enough is enough. You’re done, and this is the best choice for everyone involved.
So if you do decide to divorce, how can you do it respectably?
The Next Chapter
When I struggled with the decision to end my marriage, it was tough. I cried a lot, and I agonized over the decision for several years before starting the process. I did not want to deny my daughter the experience of growing up in a two-parent home. I did not want to deal with a blended family because I thought it would be too complicated. I wanted my kids to be with one man. However, I realized there were real challenges in my marriage that we could not overcome with counseling, prayer, religion, or parental advice.As much as loved each other, it just wasn’t going to work out.
With a heavy heart, I finally made the decision to divorce. I was scared. I did not know if I could handle things on my own. In addition, my husband and I were not in a good place as we went through the process. But, when we finally got through it, I felt good about my choice. It just felt right, even though my ex-husband and I still had a great deal of love for each other.
It was not easy. We were young at the time and we struggled to figure out how to co-parent and be there for each other and our daughter. We needed to interact post-divorce in a respectable way. We learned how to be better parents and maintain a healthy relationship with each other. In fact, our relationship improved post-marriage. My ex-husband became an even better dad to my daughter because he had to work harder to develop their relationship. He needed to be able to communicate better. And I was happy to have him cultivate the relationship because it helped her to get through her teens and become more well-rounded. I realized he balanced out some of the qualities I did not have as a parent.
I am still not sure how the divorce affected my daughter and how it will affect her future. Now that my daughter is an adult, we have honest conversations on the topic. I tell her this was one of my toughest decisions. Her dad is remarried and has kids from his second marriage. My daughter loves her siblings and is appreciative of the experience, grateful for having them in her life. This is something she might not have experienced if her father and I had not divorced.
My daughter has said to me: “Mom, you did the right thing. I understand why you did it. And I am okay with that.”
Knowing this gives me peace of mind. It reinforces my belief that you can end a marriage if need be. You can do so respectably and in a loving way. Then you might want to take that divorce selfie and move on with your life.
You are capable of receiving love. There is a relationship that will work for you. Sometimes all you need is a nudge in the right direction. If you are struggling with your current relationship, newly divorced and looking to get back in the dating scene, or single and trying to find the right person for you, maybe I can help. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up on my website to receive dating tips and relationship advice. For fast advice, read my book, The Relationship Investigator’s Fast Guide to Successful Dating.