07/02/2013 05:45 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2013

I Said I'm Divorced, Not Contagious!

A major contradiction in our culture is the illusion that there's no longer any stigma attached to getting divorced. Oh, come on! It's a nice party line, but I found this to be absolutely false.

When I got my divorce -- which was a completely friendly transaction with no lawyers; all healthy, adult agreements -- I lost a number of my so-called friends and I definitely felt judged by others. All of our "couple" friends went to my ex, and one newfound "friend" literally ran away afterward, apparently unable to continue seeing me. She was probably afraid that divorce is contagious, like the measles.

At dinner parties, I was that eccentric single person. And it became increasingly clear to me that mentioning experiences that involved my ex were never appreciated. Unfortunately, that included most of the experiences of the past ten years of my life. I had no problem with my divorce, but obviously others did.

It felt to me like divorce was its own sort of disease, carrying with it some hidden threat of contagion. People definitely shunned me and I was never clear why. Was it because I might make them sad? Would I threaten their marriage, or give their husband ideas? I could never tell if I was imagining all of this, but when I compared noted with other divorcees, they said the same things happened to them.

Perhaps it's mainly women who get stigmatized by divorce. "What's the matter -- couldn't keep your man?" The assumption being that any man is better than no man at all.

Come on! We can do better than this, people! Few marriages are matches made in heaven, and sometimes they truly need to end. Mismatched is no match at all. It's only fair that after a mistake, each of us might try again to find happiness before it's too late.

And the supreme irony of it all? A few years after my own divorce, I finally found the right man for me, while my previously married friends were all getting divorced!

This is an excerpt from Laura Lee's first book: Midlife Magic: Becoming The Person You Are Inside! Don't miss her other books about finding your way through self-doubt to supreme happiness!