Maybe Your Divorce Deserves a Party
Divorce is usually an emotionally draining and difficult process full of negativity. But some people use divorce as an opportunity to celebrate by throwing a divorce party.
“A divorce party is a celebration of the courage required to end a relationship in a world where it is so often stigmatized,” says Rebecca Feingloss , founder of the online community and blog Grieve Leave , whose own divorce party went viral , according to Lifehacker. “The dissolution of a marriage is a huge loss that we mourn, even if we were the initiator of the separation. In the US and around the world, divorce can be a long and painful legal process that can be traumatic in and of itself. We can throw a divorce party to celebrate coming face to face with grief and trauma, and to celebrate the strength it takes to get to the other side of a difficult process.”
Of course, you don’t have to throw a divorce party to feel better about your difficult decision. But if you’re wondering if you should actually be celebrating such a grueling ordeal, Feingloss says you should think about it.
“Divorce parties are an opportunity to feel whole again after a deep loss – to remind you that you are loved and that you love your friends,” she explains. “When we do not talk about our grief or do not acknowledge it, it can overtake us. Divorce parties help us understand the pain of a broken marriage, and at the same time, can provide healing through the simple acknowledgment of what you have been through. I’m so proud that so many people are talking about their divorces these days and finding moments to celebrate.”
If you choose to celebrate, Feingloss says your divorce party can be whatever you want.
“For my divorce party, I invited my closest friends to Las Vegas for a fun weekend that included spa time, delicious dinners, and best of all, attending an Adele concert,” she says. “But a divorce party doesn’t have to be something fancy — if you choose to celebrate, it should be about what makes you happy: you can spend the night relaxing with friends over takeaway food at your house, toasting for your strength and courage. You can go camping with someone who has supported you on your path to divorce. You can even have a solo dance party in your car.”
How to throw a divorce party
No matter how you decide to celebrate, Feingloss says it’s important to remember that divorce parties are about honoring yourself and/or friends “for standing through the difficult process of ending a relationship and coming together to find joy in life.” . If you’re thinking about throwing yourself a divorce party, Feingloss lays out his tips on what you should consider before you do.
Who to invite?
When planning a divorce party, Feingloss suggests thinking about how you want to celebrate and who you might want to celebrate with. “Maybe your party is some quiet time alone after a painful divorce case. Or, if you want to gather friends, consider who has supported you in your grief and who you want to celebrate with,” she says. “The divorce party is all about you, so don’t feel obligated to invite someone you don’t want or who doesn’t fully agree with celebrating this moment in your life.” Whether you want to keep this moment for yourself or invite twenty friends, Feinglos says you should use this opportunity to bring together people who remind you that you are loved.
What to serve?
When it comes to menus, Feingloss recommends thinking about the foods and drinks you enjoy the most. “What makes you the happiest? Include any food or drink that you associate with happy moments and memories as you begin a new chapter in your life,” she says.
How about a toast?
“At my divorce party, we had a lot of toasts, whether it was over champagne at dinner or coffee in the morning,” Feingloss shares. “My friends wanted to share their love for me and I wanted to share how much I care about them for their support. Don’t be afraid to speak up during these festive moments: give yourself the recognition you deserve for your bravery and overcoming your grief, and take the opportunity to toast your friends for being by your side.”
Is it okay to receive gifts?
“Making time to celebrate is a gift in itself,” says Fingloss. “At my divorce party, I treated my friends to different parts of the weekend, like dinner, as a token of gratitude for how much they were there for me during my divorce. And my friends surprised me with sweet gifts to congratulate me on my divorce, like notebooks and note cards with my maiden name.”
What Not to Do at a Divorce Party
If you decide to throw a divorce party, Feingloss says, it’s important to remember that it’s about you and your experiences, not revenge on your ex.
“Your party should be about coming together to lift each other up, not to put anyone down,” she says. “If you feel like you are throwing a party for any reason other than celebrating your power, I recommend that you first sit with those emotions – that grief – before you do anything. It’s important to get in touch with yourself and your feelings before doing something you might not like in the future.”
But the most important thing she does not advise when planning a divorce is a sense of shame. “As a society, we need to stop using the phrase ‘failed marriage’ and start celebrating people who take control of their lives and put their own well-being first,” she says. “My divorce party allowed me to take back the word ‘divorced’ and make it something I’m proud of.”
Bottom line: Life can be so hard, but as Feingloss points out, “We can still find time to celebrate what is beautiful. Throwing a divorce party can help you see that beauty when everything else seems so bleak and painful.”