I was asked by a journalist at MSN.com this week to comment on the new trend of divorce parties for those couples that are getting divorced. You can read my responses in the MSN.com article published online: New Trend: Divorce Parties.
This reminded me of an acquaintance from over 15 years ago who threw a divorce party when his marriage was over. I remember the uproar expressed by his family and friends at the idea. The general consensus seemed it was a horrid act to celebrate the end of a marriage.
Well, it seems they are becoming much more popular with businesses setting up solely, in the U.S. at least, to provide divorce parties.
Rituals are a great way of beginning the closure process. They have been used since the dawn of time to commemorate significant moments in our lives. Divorce or the end of a relationship is not something that is usually celebrated because of the pain and heartache that often accompanies such an event.
In my work with clients, we’ve designed rituals to help them get closure around the end of a relationship or a painful marriage. It can be very significant in the healing journey as it is a physical and symbolic representation of closing off the relationship and facilitating the grieving process.
The idea of having a party is powerful because you have witnesses to the ritual and support from your friends and family. This may also assist in the grieving journey and the termination of that chapter of their life.
For couples getting divorced – how do they heal? What are some important thoughts to keep in mind?
The healing process is different for everyone, though there are some common threads to the healing process
- it does take time to heal, but time alone is often not enough
- allowing yourself to grieve is important- let yourself feel sad, allow yourself to cry and commiserate with family and friends
- if there has been betrayal and deceipt, forgiveness of your partner can be a powerful way to assist your own healing
- filling your new life with friends, laughter, family and new interests helps you feel excitement and joy again
- working through the pain with a therapist is very helpful for some people and this can help you understand what went wrong to avoid it happening again
- taking your time before dating again is sometimes needed so you can first work on your own self-esteem and confidence
What about children and how would this ritual affect the children?
One concern I would have about children being involved is it could potentially affect how they feel about the other parent. We know that parents that use the children like pawns or play games and try to manipulate the other partner can be very damaged by such actions.
I think keep the divorce party as a private event for the adults so that the children don’t feel obliged to take sides with one parent against the other.
What are your thoughts about divorce parties? Do you think it would help you move on?
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.