It’s sad that even in this day and age, divorce carries a stigma. ‘When I tell people I’m divorced they give me this look—either they’re sorry for me, or are judging me for not making my marriage work. Or, even if they don’t, I am afraid they will,’ admits one recent divorcee.
It’s crucial that we see divorce for what it is: a simple decision to end a marriage. Everything else is just bias and prejudice that needs to be set aside. Here are some of the myths that propagate a stigma.
‘They took divorce as an easy way out’
People who are against divorce think that couples are running away from problems, and if they just ‘stuck it out’ and ‘worked harder’ then their marriage would have been saved. The fact is that most couples do try, but realize it isn’t working. And the decision to have a divorce is anything but easy. It is wrought with emotions, with painful sacrifices and consequences, and can often be expensive and messy. Anyone who has ever been through it knows that it is not an easy way out at all—but seemed like a necessary choice to make a positive change. (Read our article, “How to embrace change and love it!”)
‘It is somebody’s fault’
Nobody can ’cause’ a divorce. It takes two people to make a marriage, and two people to break it, and two people to decide that it’s time to make a change. Family counselors say that even if somebody was deeply hurt by a partner—because of infidelity or abuse—the most healing thing that he or she can do is to stop thinking like a victim and acknowledge one’s role in the marriage. ‘We each made mistakes, we each contributed to the problem, and yet we learned and are now ready to make better choices for ourselves.’
‘You should become good friends with your ex’
That would be great, but isn’t always realistic. You may still need space and time to deal with emotional issues and hurt. Or, there could’ve been ‘irreconcilable differences’ that will still exist. Don’t put pressure on yourself or your partner. You can be civil, and even have a decent ‘working partnership’ when it comes to raising your kids, but friendship can never be forced. Don’t feel like a failure or brand yourself as ‘bitter’ or ‘angry’ just because you don’t feel like hanging out with one another.
‘Divorce means I’m not cut out for marriage’
Maybe you weren’t meant to be married to him or her, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to be married at all. You aren’t condemned to repeating old patterns and habits, nor do you have a serious personality flaw that makes you ‘ineligible’ for any real commitment. It just didn’t work out that time.
Photo from legaljuice.com