You can’t deal with the trauma of divorce just by throwing a party

Divorce: No laughing matter - and no excuse for a party either. Picture: Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock

Divorce: No laughing matter - and no excuse for a party either. Picture: Jeffrey Hamilton/Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images

Purple sparkly You're Divorced banners, glittery Happy Divorce bunting, It's All About Me crowns and Just Divorced flashing sashes...

As if lawyers don't make enough out of the misery of the end of marriages, a growing new industry is thriving out of it – the divorce party, and all the vulgar cheap paraphernalia party planners can tout to the gullible (sadly, usually women) whose lives lay in tatters.

Divorce parties are an actual thing. Imported from the States, the concept is catching on fast here, just like Halloween and the high school prom – and look what happened there when commercialisation took over. Hundreds of pounds later… heaven help us.

Britain has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. We can't make our relationships work more than most other countries. But instead of withering in shame, the giver-uppers have a knees-up instead.

Since when did we celebrate failure with glittery bunting? Expensive failure at that, and tragic catalogue of broken families and broken dreams.


You may also want to watch:


Celebrating divorce is like celebrating a long slow and painful death. It's tasteless, flippant and trivialises life's biggest most difficult decision.

But, before the ink is dry on the decree absolute, almost as much effort and gusto is being thrown into organising grand bashes to toast the end of a life they vowed to spend with another as for their wedding, just not as classy.

Most Read

Just 150 of their closest friends as bit parts in the buy on-line party themes of Barely Survived, Self Sufficient, and 'I Got It All'.

A band, cocktails named I Don't and There Goes The Bride, a three-tier wedding cake iced with Free at Last and a sugar paste bridegroom lying on the bottom tier in a bloody pool of strawberry jam where his bride, triumphant on the top, had pushed him.

'I do, I did, I'm done!' they shriek. More prosecco, Ms?

Then a stonking hangover and bill to start rest of their single lives. It feels nasty, shallow and more than a little narcissistic and self-indulgent.

If only life were really so simple and recovery from life's second most devastating blow so swift.

Divorce is a bereavement. For most, recovery takes years, if at all, mourning what was and should have been with an overwhelming sense of failure.

The end of a marriage is the last resort when all else fails.

It causes agony and anguish, not just to two people but can wreck children's lives. It takes remarkable people to truly and consistently make children's welfare and peace of mind top of their break-up agenda amid all the hurt and disappointment, however determined they are. Watching their mother singing I Will Survive wearing purple fluffy deely-boppers cursing and ridiculing their father isn't the way to do it. Ever.

Children always lose most in any divorce; their security, hope for the future and, too often, the family unit their friends enjoy. Their world does fall apart.

Any celebration is disrespectful to their anxiety and anguish and the love that brought them into the world in the first place.

Extended families split, take sides, lose touch – grandparents are sometimes deprived of seeing their grandchildren, there's always someone missing at future family get-togethers as one parent is written out of that family's story.

The children are the losers. What's to celebrate? Unless you've escaped from a violent abusive partner, but a themed party would be the last thing anyone who had suffered years of trauma would want.

Divorce can be civilised, when a couple are grown up enough to acknowledge they have fallen out of love, agree to go their separate ways, share the children in two homes close to each other; I salute them.

But, they are the tiny minority. When solicitors become involved, few escape recriminations and pettiness, especially when it comes to the money.

Apart from death, nothing in life is so terrifying, painful, exhausting and dark as divorce.

The very idea of throwing a party – even a wake – is an anathema. But divorce party handbook author Christie Gallagher says we need rituals to cope with difficult life transitions. The sofa and back-to-back box sets for two years suits most people.

The only way to mark the end of a marriage is recovery, healing the invisible scars and building a new life. It takes years, if at all.

A ceilidh with a hog roast won't touch it.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus