Why not have a divorce party?

Mr. Walsh writes

But, for some reason, when I hear about divorce I don’t feel like popping the champagne bottle or sprinkling the confetti.

Is that because I’m “too young to understand”?

The issue is not that you’re “too young” to understand; the issue is that you’re too inexperienced to understand. You have yet to be (and hopefully will never be) on the receiving end of physical and emotional abuse. You have not been the stay-at-home parent reliant on your spouse and then made homeless. In Alaska. In the winter. With a baby. You have not been to the ER for a bleeding head wound caused by your spouse. You have not had your spouse clear out the checking account, knowing that you needed the money there because you have already written a check to pay for school – the schooling that will ultimately be your way out of the marriage. You have not had the neighbors hear your screams and call the police, only to have your spouse show them the bites and scratches from you defending yourself. You can show them where the bruises will show up in a few days, but because your spouse is savvy enough not to do anything to you that leaves an immediate mark on you, the police don’t believe you are the battered spouse. You have not had your spouse be unrepentantly unfaithful and been unable to do anything about it (because remember, you are the stay-at-home parent in a traditional marriage – you have no money, no job, and you have the children with you all the time).

So yes, Mr. Walsh – the gentleman was right. You don’t know the future, and sometimes people change. Sometimes people change such that your safety and the safety of your children depends on a quick, clean divorce. People ALWAYS have free will, and sometimes they use it for evil. Including your spouse.

My divorce was the best thing that had happened to me up to that point – first time in years my children and I became safe. You bet your gluteus maximus I partied when I got those court documents in the mail.

 

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7 comments

  1. Your case is an extreme one and one that doesn’t match up with the core participants in this trend.

    That being said, this is not something new. People have been quietly celebrating the finalization of their divorces for decades, it’s just become a theme and more public…probably with Hallmark readying the cards even as I type.

    I also can’t see any harm in it. Divorce is a milestone, as it were. It’s also the end of what is normally a bitter period in one’s life. Hence, a celebration can be cathartic and a deliberate and positive step forward.

    1. Thanks for your comment – a quick perusal through the comments on Mr. Walsh’s article show that my case isn’t nearly as rare as it should be.

      I think the visceral reaction comes from the fact that when he writes, there’s no nuance. It’s all “This is how it shall be, for all men and all times from the dawn of time until eternity.” All based on his case study of one, of course (i.e. his life).

      And I would ignore it, except I know plenty of people that legitimately think the way he does, so I’m just doing my itty bitty part to increase the sanity coefficient of the internet.

      1. As your case shouldn’t exist at all, of course it’s not as rare as it should be. i wouldn’t, however, judge its prevalence based upon comments upon an article. Such things bring out those who are nearer the extremes of experience and belief.

        Personally, I think Walsh just has a serious issue with culture’s shift towards accepting divorce and not being shamed by it. “Till death do us part,” still has a hold on a lot of people much like, “Happily ever after,” does.

  2. “Personally, I think Walsh just has a serious issue with culture’s shift towards accepting divorce and not being shamed by it.”

    Good for him. Then he should say that instead of his usual blanket pronouncements that have no relationship with, I dunno, reality. Say what you mean – not too much to ask of someone who holds themselves out to be a writer, I don’t think.

    On the other hand, it does get him clicks and attention, so I don’t suppose he’ll change any time soon. Truth (with a capital T) be damned. /shrug

    Here’s the other thing – if I decide I need to get divorced, I’m not going to allow myself to be shamed by holier-than-thou types spouting off about how marriage is for life no matter what. If I decide that I want to have sex, then end up pregnant, and I decide that I don’t want to kill my child in utero, I’m not going to allow myself to be shamed by holier-than-thou types spouting off about how single mothers are responsible for the downfall of Western civilization. It’s a bit late to turn back the clock now, but the natural reaction to being shamed for every little way you don’t fit the narrow template of the “good” life is to either: 1) commit suicide (or some other self-destructive feedback loop); or 2) reject the shame. Everyone who’s left and is speaking out has rejected the shame. Trying to continue to pile on the shame is only going push people away and to lead people to rightly conclude that the person who does this has no idea what they’re talking about.

  3. Because of all of the things leading to divorce: arguments, abuse, neglect, not to mention the fears you mentioned like financial insecurity… I can imagine being of two minds. I can imagine that plenty of distress and depression could be amassed from that history, along with fears for the future — so not wanting to party. But I can also imagine the tremendous relief that would call for celebration, too.

  4. On his facebook fan page Matt Walsh did say that he wasn’t referring to the exceptions and outliers like those who are in abusive relationships. That actually seems to be a first for him because like you said, he usually lumps it all into one bucket.

    1. I do see that after being rightly criticized, Mr. Walsh did come back and write some rather lengthy clarification. But as I mentioned in an earlier comment, if he’s going to hold himself out to be a writer, it’s not too much to ask him to say what he means the first time around.

      But even with the clarification, he is still quite clueless. He states that abuse and infidelity aren’t often cited as reasons for divorce. Well of course not – if that’s your stated reason for divorce you have to prove it in court. What you do instead is cite “irreconcilable differences” which cover all manner of things, such as “he wants to be abusive and I don’t want to put up with it,” or “he wants to cheat with impunity and I don’t want to put up with it.” So his assertion here is meaningless.

      He also says that we shouldn’t shout down principles by throwing anecdotes at them. Here’s the problem – you add up a whole bunch of anecdotes and what do you have? That’s right – data. If it’s that easy to pick apart these principles and if said principles are so universally not applicable, that should be a clue that your principles are flawed.

      In a perfect world, people like Mr. Walsh would use this information, step back and rethink their principles instead of doubling down on them and blaming everyone else for “twisting” what they said. But I’m not holding my breath.

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