I've been single, I've been married, and I've been divorced. And getting divorced was the hardest of the bunch -- at least in terms of finding a way to be happily divorced (and, yes, there is such a thing!).
That's why I'm so excited about the launch of HuffPost Divorce. Inspired by HuffPost editor-at-large Nora Ephron, who knows a thing or two about the subject (see Heartburn), our newest section will tackle the topic from many angles, providing insight, resources, community, and some comic relief to those impacted by what Nora, in her new book, calls the Big D.
My parents divorced when I was nine. I adored my father but could see the pain his philandering was causing my mother. When I heard him telling her once that she should not interfere in his private life, I started urging her to leave. She finally did. My father often quoted to me his favorite story of the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who, when asked why he kept begging from statues, replied: "I'm practicing disappointment."
Disappointment and the broken promises we make to ourselves and to each other are at the heart of divorce. My ex-husband and I have now been divorced 13 years -- two years longer than we were married.
But even though we no longer had a marriage to keep us together, we had something even more powerful -- our daughters. Spurred by our mutual devotion to them, we have made a huge effort to work through all the difficulties and be friends. And, little by little, with a lot of hard work, we've now gotten there.
But it wasn't an easy journey. And I've watched many of my friends struggle through their breakups, dealing with legal and financial battles, the perils of post-divorce dating, the pitfalls of co-parenting, the shock of dividing up the couples you used to socialize with when you were married, and navigating the turbulent waters of blended families.
I've always thought that, as a country, we do a lousy job of addressing how we can do divorce differently -- and better. Especially when there are children involved.
Over a million children a year watch their parents get divorced -- most of them wishing more than anything that mom and dad would get back together. That's how it was with our oldest daughter, who was eight when her father and I broke up. She was devastated -- and steadfastly refused to accept it. She kept pleading with me every day to go out to dinner with Daddy. I'm not sure if that was the influence of The Parent Trap, but she had convinced herself that a romantic candlelit dinner would solve all her parents' problems. After all, if she loved both her parents so much, how could they not love each other? It was heartbreaking. But it motivated us to work hard to go beyond the inevitable anger and resentments of any divorce. This included spending every Christmas Day and both our daughters' birthdays together as a family every year.
A few years ago, we even took our first post-divorce summer vacation together as a family. When I wrote about it, the response was overwhelming -- with so many people writing to tell me about their experiences with trying to make their divorces work.
So I definitely have skin in this game -- and the scars to prove it. Even so, as I said, the idea for the section was Nora's.
I was spending a weekend with her in July at her home in Long Island, as was Alessandra Stanley, the television critic for theNew York Times. One morning, Alessandra and I headed off on a long walk down the beach, and we ended up talking a lot about our divorces. When we got back to Nora's, we recounted some of our conversation, at which point she told us that she had actually been thinking that HuffPost's next section should be devoted to all things divorce.
Over breakfast, Nora came up with the tag line for the section -- "Marriage comes and goes but divorce is forever" -- and Alessandra offered up what has become our inaugural divorce aphorism (the first in a series): "His happiness is a small price to pay for my freedom!" As Nora says, "far too much attention is paid to aphorisms about falling in love and not nearly enough to those about falling out of love."
So the spark was lit and, four months later, here we are. I'm thrilled that this new section is launching with an exclusive essay about divorce taken from Nora's new book, I Remember Nothing. Special thanks to HuffPost Senior Editor Willow Bay, who worked tirelessly to get HuffPost Divorce up and running. Though never divorced, Willow is a stepmom familiar with the joys and trials of blending families. She brought her exceptional editorial sensibilities to the new section, and signed up former Los Angeles magazine associate editor Sara Wilson to be our Divorce Editor.
Our goal is to produce a fast, fearless, highly interactive guide to the profound changes divorce brings to families, friendships, careers, and finances -- to say nothing of the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of those going through it. We'll bring you all the latest divorce news, plus fresh takes from our Divorce group bloggers.
So whether you are divorced, divorcing, or just curious about how others manage the complexities of divorce, check out HuffPost Divorce. Breaking up is hard to do... but reading about it isn't. Let us know what you think.