There are rituals surrounding transitions in life – except for divorce.
My sons even had a graduation ceremony between nursery and primary school.
There may be a party to announce an engagement followed by a bridal shower and later a hen night. The fellows have their stag party.
The wedding is marked by a reception, whether it is a quiet affair with family, or a big gala at a five star hotel. This is closure for the single life and a celebration to send the newlyweds on their merry way in life.
When there is a death in the family, a funeral service is held followed by a wake. People mourn together, reminisce and have closure.
What happens after the divorce is finalized?
No ritual and no particular closing ceremony.
When my husband and I signed our papers for divorce in my solicitor’s office, I commented that champagne would have been nice. Although our divorce would not be finalized by the judge for several weeks, I felt like there should have been something afterwards. Think I stumbled into a coffee shop for a latte on my way back to the car.
On the day the judge was to issue our divorce decree, my sons gave me flowers and chocolate. My mother took us all out to lunch, more because the ordeal was over than anything else. For the next few years they gave me more flowers and chocolates to mark “our” (their words) divorce anniversary. Friends took me out for a few weeks following my divorce which was a nice gesture. I did not have any specific closing ceremony.
In interviewing people – some said that they had a closure activity involving their wedding rings. One said she threw her gold wedding band into a roaring river and it soon was swept away.
Another had her wedding band melted into a pendant.
One woman waited until she had collected two wedding bands to have them made into another piece of jewellery. Some swapped out the diamond for a coloured stone.
I sold my engagement ring on e-bay.
One woman’s friend dragged her out for a complete makeover. Afterwards she commented that was just what she needed and bought a few outfits to go along with her new appearance. A few went out with pals and got their nails done although this was more to reduce stress than specific to divorce.
A few guys went out for beer with their mates after their divorces.
One woman proudly stated that she hired a limousine to take her friends out to several clubs when her divorce was finalized.
The people that had a specific party or gathering felt that it helped them to move along more quickly post-divorce. It was an ending to a former life and a celebration of a new one.
A closure ritual does not have to be a celebration, especially when a divorce is devastating. It can be something small to mark entry back into the single life again.
A few friends acquired a new flatmate after bad break ups and cherished these animal companions when embarking on their new lives.
Some people took a trip, whether to the coast or a more exotic journey, as closure in their divorce situation.
Consider some type of event or action to mark the end of marriage and the beginning of a new chapter.
Did you have a divorce closure party?
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.