Thursday 7 April 2011

Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce

I've asked myself why people blog. There seems to be many answers to the question and there isn't one specific right answer. I've asked myself why people divorce. Once again, there seems to be many answers and you can't pin it down to one thing. I guess it was a natural consequence of querying Google for information about the later, I would find the former, but in combination as in a blog about divorce.

On the Net, there are a myriad of web sites dealing with divorce. Sometimes, you can run across a blog written by somebody involved in the legal profession talking specifically about matters relating to divorce. However, the curiosity of this posting is about blogs written by people who have gone or are going through a divorce. People blog to write about their personal experiences so it turned out to be perfectly natural that some decide to blog about their divorce.

It seems that there is more than just recording one's experiences. Like a support group, a blog with its section on comments allows for feedback. The writer may be surprised and pleasantly so to discover that he or she is not alone. Unlike a support group which is face to face, this back and forth over the web provides some distance, a little more privacy, and some time to reflect on both the blog posting and a possible comment. I note that some bloggers develop their own following, a group that seems to have taken an interest in the blogger in question.

I can't say that I have exhaustively studied the World Wide Web to provide a comprehensive list of blogs written by those undergoing the traumatic process of bringing a marriage to an end, but I have gone through a few to get an idea of what's out there.

On her web site "Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce", Molly Monet describes herself as a forty something mother of two who divorced in 2007 after thirteen years of marriage. Out of the blogs about divorce which are much more personal in nature, I feel that Ms. Monet demonstrates the most equilibrium about her experience. Of course, she now has four years since her split to come to grips with things and recover from what I'm assuming was not the easiest of times. Is any divorce an easy time?

It is interesting to note that there are children involved in this divorce. Just what difference in a divorce or the post-divorce relation between former spouses would one find when children are involved? As Ms. Monet says on her web site, "We have gone from being bickering spouses to being good friends and harmonious co-parents.

On her About, the author writes:

We had some very wonderful years together but hit some insurmountable obstacles and he eventually ended the marriage. I was devastated because I loved him and never considered divorce an option.

However, once it happened, I found a whole new life and identity. Joseph Campbell has a great line “We must be willing to give up the life we’ve planned in order to get the life that is waiting for us.” It turns out that I had a pretty interesting and fun life waiting for me. And now I am blogging about it.

Ms. Monet's posting entitled "How Did I Get a Peaceful Divorce?" should be mandatory reading for anybody contemplating a divorce. If you're in the middle of one, it may be difficult to change horses in mid-stream, but this posting is testimony to the author's equanimity in the face of such an upheaval in her life. While she mentions the word "luck" in having a peaceful divorce, she also explains in this article strategies she used even if only unwittingly to avoid ugly confrontations with lawyers.

Ms. Monet has written five strategies with details about each one. They all provide interesting reminders of what anybody should strive for during a divorce. This is an emotionally charged time and it is easy to lose sight of the other person, even lose sight of the children and focus only on one's own feelings. I was quite struck by this:

4) I reminded myself that there is a difference between a man and his actions.
This was a tough one at times. It is really easy to judge a person by their actions, but I reminded myself that his actions didn’t always reflect his true nature or his desires. Despite the fact he sometimes said nasty things to me, I told myself that he was in pain, that he felt powerless and that he was just lashing out in frustration.

I have no idea how she could understand that, by what insight she arrived at that conclusion, and how she managed to remain calm in face of, as she says, her husband's own pain. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own distress; we completely forget the distress of others. For that, Ms. Monet amazes me.

Molly's web site has many interesting postings about her divorce and her life since then. She writes, "This isn’t just a blog for divorcees. I write about relationships of all kinds, how I strive to find happiness in my daily life, and parenting. Many of my married friends read it and love it. Either I offer them vicarious pleasure or I am a cautionary tale."

I will end with Molly's asking whether she's now an advocate for divorce:

Today my ex asked me a thought-provoking question, with your blog are you now advocating for divorce?  Of course, I asked myself this question before I started it. I certainly don’t want to give people the impression that divorce is a cool thing to do. Nevertheless, I will not criticize it as a personal or social failure either.

I think that the breakup of a marriage is a very heart-wrenching decision, yet like most difficult life decisions, it does have an upside to it.  For people who are going through a divorce or even contemplating one, I’d like to demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be a disaster that scorches the earth around it.  It can be done with compassion, poise and love and, in the end, lead you to a beautiful new place in your life. By focusing on the positive aspects of my divorce, I am finding a way to make peace with it, enjoy my new stage in life and also move on.

I am still a believer in marriage...

I would never say that divorce is better than marriage or vice versa. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Being an optimistic thinker trying to spread good cheer, I am writing about the benefits of my own peaceful divorce. However, I am still a romantic at heart.  I read the New York Times Vows section every Sunday to see how new couples have met.  I do not just for entertainment but with some small hope that I will find another life partner. I may have a different notion of what marriage can look like, but I still fantasize about doing it again some day, this time armed with the lessons that I have learned, mainly that a positive outlook and appreciation for your partner are really the glue that binds.

Final Word
Ms. Monet exudes a certain Zen-like quality about her approach to life, divorce, and life after divorce. In a period of undeniable pain and heartache, she is a comforting voice of reason and like her quote from the author Joseph Campbell, she gives some hope that things will eventually turn out okay. It is said that when one door closes another opens and four years after her divorce, Ms. Monet does seem to exemplify that aphorism.


Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce

Wikipedi: Joseph Campbell
Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss."


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