Have you ever been at a party when someone walks by, and suddenly the person you are speaking with leans into you and says, “She got divorced”?
The body language alone is enough to tell you that (a) her divorce is not good news whatever the reason and (b) getting divorced is something about which to be ashamed. The whisper merely adds insult to injury.
At that moment, you may think substituting the word “leprosy” for divorce would not be such a far stretch. Divorce, after all, must be so horrible that it is best to keep it hush-hush.
That is what our parents’ generation and the ones before it taught us to believe. But it doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, more often than not, it is the exact opposite.
If you are going through a divorce, even if you were not the one who initiated it, chances are with a little introspection you will come to the conclusion that your marriage wasn’t a happy one. And everyone, including you, deserves to be happy.
The good news is you can be happy again, even happier than you were before, which means divorce doesn’t have to be the stigmatizing event it is often depicted to be. The best part about divorce is that you have the opportunity to start all over again, only with the wisdom you have acquired during your marriage – in good times and bad.
Even though you have made certain mistakes that brought you to your single status today, it is now up to you to show the world, and, more importantly, yourself that divorce will not weigh you down. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to live your life on your terms.
If you are first embarking on the divorce process, you may have already been met with resistance from friends, family, and even your spouse who doesn’t want to throw in the towel just yet. People may urge you to “try again” or stay together “for the sake of the children.” After all, staying in a bad marriage cannot be worse than being alone, right?
Anyone who has ever been in a bad or blah marriage for a long time, or witnessed one as a child, knows how stigmatizing that reality can be. However you have come to be a party to a deteriorating marriage, it is easy to find yourself in the position of covering it up. In an age where social media dictates that we all look happy whether or not we are, any marriage that appears otherwise is, unfortunately, cause for many to feel embarrassment should word ever get out. Surely that is a far worse fate than a divorce, which not only offers hope for a better life but the likelihood of one.
Just ask American actress, Meghan Markle, also a divorcée. Recently Markle received a nod from Westminster Abbey that she could marry in the Church of England despite being divorced, which means Prince Harry may have found himself a princess. In 2002, the Church lifted a centuries-old ban forbidding anyone who was divorced from marrying in its houses of worship. That the Royal family could potentially open its arms to a woman who is divorced is telling how times are changing in terms of the world’s perception of divorce.
So hold your head high and wear your divorce well because the best way to reject a stigma is to embrace it.
Vikki Ziegler is the star of Bravo TV’s Untying the Knot, the founder and CEO of DivorceDating, Author of The Pre-Marital Planner: Your Complete Legal Guide to a Perfect Marriage, and a co-founder of and partner at Ziegler & Zemsky, LLC. To learn more about Vikki, visit www.vikkiziegler.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.