February 15, 2013

Divorce parties increasingly popular

While the idea of celebrating what can be a difficult and emotionally draining event may seem confusing and unappealing to some, divorce parties are an increasingly popular way for recently-separated individuals in Michigan and across the state to kick off the start of their new lives. According to one relationship therapist, divorce parties allow ex-spouses to “lighten up” and enjoy things their former partners would not have allowed, whether it be a shopping excursion, a day of golf or even a full-scale solo vacation.

Several businesses have flourished in the midst of the divorce-party trend, selling shirts, games and party favors aimed at helping divorcees celebrate the long-awaited end of a marriage. Many divorcees find it cathartic to burn their wedding dresses or have their rings melted down into new jewelry commemorating their divorce. Psychologists say such behavior is natural, providing rituals for a major life moment in the vein of other milestones.

Several celebrities have helped popularize divorce parties, though the nature and mood of these celebrations can vary wildly. For instance, model Karen Elson and musician Jack White collaborated to celebrate their divorce alongside their sixth wedding anniversary with a Gothic party in 2011. In contrast, actress Shanna Moakler enjoyed a different kind of divorce party when she fed party-goers a cake topped by a bride holding a knife over the body of her groom.

Not all divorce celebrations are so lavish, however. One woman described the positive effects of taking a spontaneous, two-week road trip with her best friend after her husband of 28 years filed for divorce. During the trip, she purchased an open dome-shaped ring to replace her wedding band.

Relationship expert encourage divorcees to find relief in celebration, but stress that vengeful or excessive behavior can do more harm than good. One therapist said that parties can be cathartic, but said divorcees should avoid trying to use them to replace the often natural and helpful mourning process.

Source: Lansing State Journal, “Unbridled showers: Divorce parties mark milestones,” Margie