It used to be that when a friend was getting divorced that you were ready to provide her with a shoulder to cry on. These days you may find that you need to be ready to help her plan a divorce party. I had always thought of divorce parties as something that only the bitterest of women would consider, but when I found out that there are companies providing divorce party products and authors publishing divorce party guides, I knew I needed to learn more.
After I wrote a series of articles about divorce parties, women began writing to me and sharing their divorce party stories and even a few videos from their divorce parties. I quickly discovered that just as divorces can be amicable, ugly, or somewhere in between, divorce parties also fall into similar categories. Here are the typical scenarios of the divorce party stories that were shared with me.
The Hooray It’s Over Party
The wildest divorce party stories and videos that I received fell into this category. These parties were a true celebration of the marriage being over and the divorce being final. I received videos of wedding dresses being set ablaze and women cutting phallus-shaped cakes into very tiny pieces. It’s no great surprise that these parties stemmed from ugly divorces.
At first glance I thought that this type of divorce party was very offensive because it seemed to center so much around celebrating the divorce. After reading stories about divorces where ex-husbands fought to get the wedding china only to send it back to their ex wives smashed into mere fragments, I could understand these women feeling gleeful as they stuffed marriage licenses down the drain and turned on the garbage disposal. The women who did throw these parties still had a lot of anger about their divorce, and several expressed that being able to have a night of ranting about their ex was cathartic. If that’s what it takes to get rid of your anger, then I do think that it’s healthier than just hanging onto your rage without any outlet for it.
The Sisterhood Party
By far these were the most common types of divorce parties that women told me about. The focus of these parties was to let the newly divorced woman know that she is not alone. There was still the occasional destruction of the marriage certificate or burial of the wedding ring, but these seemed to be gestures of providing closure with a focus on moving forward rather than being angry.
It’s important for women to know that they have a support system after their lives have changed so drastically. The activities at these parties were more mild, and they seemed to involve things like watching chick flicks or party games that focused on all the things that the newly divorced woman could do now that her ex was out of the picture. At first I thought that was being awfully critical of their married life, but when I received stories from women who were worried about spending every other weekend without their kids, I began to appreciate how much these women needed a few bright spots to look forward to so that this part of their lives could be a new beginning rather than just the end of huge part of their lives.
The Solidarity Party
Unfortunately, these were the least common party types that women shared with me. I’m sure that this is because a truly amicable divorce, especially when the divorce is recent, is very rare. In these parties, the ex-husband and some of his family and friends attended. The purpose here was to show everyone that they were going to remain on friendly terms and that friends and family didn’t need to choose whether they were going to ally themselves with him or with her.
All of these parties were thrown by couples who had children, and for many this was the driving force behind wanting to have this show of solidarity. They wanted the kids to feel that their relationship with their parents would remain the same even though mom and dad were no longer living together. One couple even wrote “divorce vows” where they promised that they would not speak badly about their ex or make major parenting decisions without consulting their ex. The hopeless romantic in me couldn’t help but think that if they could be so amicable maybe they had a shot at remaining married, but I did admire how they focused on making the divorce as smooth as possible for their children.
After having so much information about divorce parties shared with me, I no longer wrinkle my nose when I hear that a woman is having a divorce party. I can’t help but prefer to hear about ones that are amicable or supportive, but I no longer think any less of the women that feel the need to throw a divorce party that is an out and out celebration. As long as women find these parties helpful for moving forward after divorce I can’t fault them for the type of party the their particular type of divorce has inspired them to throw.