It's clear that society has a divorce complex fuelled by the media and it's hurting everybody. The reason it took me so long the separate was that I feared being labelled a failure, a bad parent, and 'one of them'! Why did I think that? Why do a lot of people think that?
When I first started working full-time after university, I was taken around and introduced to everybody in the office. It seemed every sad-and-sorry-looking person was pointed out as divorced after we stepped out of their hearing distance.
'Poor Neil, his wife left him a few months back and he's been so useless ever since', and 'Jan has been a nervous wreck since she broke up with her husband, so don't get caught in the lunch room with her or otherwise you'll hear her whole life story', and 'Darlene's single with three kids and always on the hunt for a new man, so watch out!'.
Add to that every TV sitcom where there's always a home-wrecker, adulterer or vindictive ex that turns the family and community against each other. And then you have the media, fuelling our hunger for seeing other couples' lives end in failure so ours doesn't seem that bad. No wonder we have a divorce complex!
Media also fuels the idea that divorce is the worst decision you could ever make. A study has just been released and the media headline was New study reveals link between family breakdown and homelessness. After my initial pang of guilt thinking I've done the worst thing for my children (and looking at my bank balance and credit card statement and thinking I might end up becoming homeless myself), I read the full article by Dr Julie Moschion. She was very clear that the recipients were drawn from a dataset of Australia's most disadvantaged. Sadly these recipients earned an average $15,756 per year, only 39% had graduated from high school, 80% were unemployed, and more than 52% suffered from mental health issues and substance abuse. So the study wasn't about everybody who had separated, but somehow that tiny little detail wasn't communicated in the media headline.
Who does this really hurt?
In the end, the children. They are looking to us to determine if our separation is good or bad, and if we wallow in our own self-pity, anxiety, guilt or anger around our new situation, we are the one's reinforcing to them what media is flouting.
Divvito was created to ease the burden of separation and divorce, and over time remove the bad stigma it's associated with. The most important role we can play is support while you have time to mend, so make sure you take the step to talk to someone as it's the best decision you can make in taking the messy out of moving on. And your children will thank you for it!
If you need some extra help, we’ve even put together a separation checklist to make the separation process as easy as possible for you and the kids.