The idea of a "friendly divorce" that began in the 70's created a false perception in our society that divorce is "no big deal". But it is a big deal. Divorce is a painful, life-altering event like a death---but without any of the support or rituals.
We have rituals designed to help a those who are grieving after the death of a spouse or parent. No one in their right mind would expect someone who just lost their wife or husband to cancer to immediately be back to normal. You'd be considered a monster if you expected a child who just lost their father to bounce back right away but children dealing with the loss of divorce are expected keep up homework or school activities without missing a beat.
The expectations are completely different of a spouse going through a divorce compared to a spouse dealing with a death. A great divorce blog, Divorced at 50, describes some of the weird expectations post-divorce:
Divorces are looked upon as messes and failures. In the media divorces are often the butt of jokes. And what I discovered, with some shock and bewilderment, is that you are expected to get over your grief rather quickly. Even before my divorce was final, my friends wanted - no, needed - me to be happy and normal.
Losing a spouse is awful. Losing the person you love to death is the worst thing I can imagine but losing a spouse to divorce comes in a close second.
My almost ex-husband and I are friendly but we are distant to each other. It is surreal that he is the same person who saw me through some of the best and worst events of my life. I applaud Laurie David's post about family dinners after divorce because I think it allows the children to see that even if the marriage didn't last, some of the family traditions can stay in place. Even though we are divorcing, my spouse and I are trying to keep some traditions this holiday season for the children but also for ourselves.
Am I missing something? Do you know of any rituals that help with the grieving process of divorce? If you do, please share because I need all the help I can get.