A few weeks ago, I was at my son’s baseball game with three women whom I had just met and as our conversation progressed, and we ignored our teens playing on the field, we realized that we had something in common:
We had all been divorced.
Wow. That's a pretty incredible statistic. Four out of four. And as we shared our divorce stories, I was thinking about how things have changed. Society is much more accepting of divorce and there is definitely less of a stigma attached to having a marriage that didn’t make it.
I got divorced 10 years ago. Back then, I was the first I knew of in my situation: married less than a decade with young kids. And there was such a bad rap associated with breaking the "til death do we part" vow.
My marriage ended when my son was starting kindergarten, and one day at the playground after school, I figured out that I was the only one without a husband. Back then, I learned that nothing stops a conversation more quickly among a bunch of mothers with young children than one of them saying they're getting a divorce. And since I was relatively new in town and completely new to the school, I felt extremely uncomfortable. I didn't make many friends that year.
So after the conversation at the baseball field, I marveled at how differently it felt to be divorced now versus 10 years ago. I was happy for these women, my new acquaintances, who were all more recently divorced than me -- because they were truly not alone. And our subsequent discussions during the games became kind of impromptu therapy sessions. And I was glad, as the elder divorcee in the group, that I could be supportive of them and impart some of what I had learned from my experience. And we could also make each other laugh with stories of our sometimes bumbling exes.
Divorce is a reality. I don't think that it's anybody's first choice. It wasn't mine. But people get divorced for good reasons. Abuse, infidelity, and yes, just plain old unhappiness. That counts. And the last thing anyone needs when they're going through a divorce, and experiencing all of the accompanying emotional anguish, guilt, and turmoil is to be judged.
I'm glad to see the judging seems to have lessened and people have become more accepting of divorce. It's about time.
Do you think there is a stigma attached to women who have been divorced?
Image via Damian Gadal/Flickr