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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Real Aftermath of Divorce

Is it just me, or do others of us who have been divorced find it disturbing how lightly divorce is treated in the media and Hollywood?  To watch movies and shows on television and to hear reports of celebrity divorces, one would think divorce is no big deal.  And, I guess, for some people, maybe it isn’t.  Somehow, though, for anyone who has truly and deeply loved their spouse, I suspect it is a bigger deal than those reports would suggest.

Apart from the movies “War of the Roses” and “Hope Floats” and to some degree “What Women Want” and “When Harry Met Sally,” the image presented is that ex’s just get along wonderfully, are happier all the time and both agree life is much better now that their mistake is over.  Rarely are there signs of emotional distress.  The kids always come out much better off, the divorce was no big deal and the former couple are better friends now than they ever were married.  In some cases the divorce is even a laughable event.

Contrast that with the news reports of instances where, in the midst of a divorce or the aftermath, an individual murders the children and the ex, then commits suicide.  Children are kidnapped by the estranged parent who is no longer allowed to see his or her children.  Custody and property court battles go on and on and on.  You might remember Alec Baldwin’s rant on the phone at his “spoiled brat” teenage daughter……exposing a bit of the inner turmoil that former family experiences because of divorce. 

Maybe for shallow people, or self-centered people, divorce is no big deal.  But for the children….at least all the children of divorce I have ever known….and that is a lot……it is ALWAYS a big deal.  For those who really had committed their lives to the one they loved, and given their all, it IS a big deal.  And though I have known of an occasional situation where the former couple end up being better friends than they seemed to when they were married (I really do!), those situations are far and few between in comparison to what seems to be the norm. 

So, is it just that we haven’t learned how to manage a divorce in a healthy manner?  Or is it that divorce itself is such an unhealthy experience that it simply brings its poison with it.  You can decide.  I do know there are times when a marriage situation is so unhealthy that divorce seems like the only option.  And, if both parties are not willing to seriously examine themselves and do the work to make the changes necessary to make the marriage work, then divorce may end up being the only way one of the spouses can maintain sanity and safety.  I have known of such marriages…..but even for those, divorce is still the second best option……dealing with one’s own problems and putting forth the effort to make a marriage work is still a better option. 

Well, enough of that.  Just imagine, though, how many problems and how much hurt would be avoided in our world…..or in your family and friendships…..if there were no divorces.  I made my own personal protest when I ceased buying a product I had bought for years, after that product was advertised with a commercial that made light of divorce.  I called to express my displeasure at the commercial, and have not bought the product in the 10+ years since!

 It’s just too bad divorce is part of our world, and that it is considered a joke by far too many people.

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