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Divorce: A Reason to Party?

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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistFebruary 27, 2019
From the WebMD Archives

We’ve come a long way since the word “divorce” was said in hushed tones, suggesting shame and failure. We’ve come so far, in fact, that now there seems to be an increasing trend of people throwing divorce parties.

In some ways, these types of events can be healthy. For many people, marking their divorce with some sort of ritual or celebration – whether with their ex-spouse, with friends, or alone – can provide a needed sense of closure. But the type of celebration – and the effect that it will have on you – need to be considered with care.

If anger and resentment burn within you, it can be tempting to let that anger fuel an outrageous party to celebrate your long overdue escape and kick off what you’re certain will be an amazing future. As wonderful as this can feel, you might want to do some soul searching before making up banners and t-shirts to announce your new freedom.

The end of a marriage is a death to be mourned, even if what died was largely unhealthy, or even toxic. It is not only the relationship that has died, but also the hopes and dreams that you had for the marriage. There is likely a mix of many thoughts and feelings that swirl within you. There may be hurt, betrayal, fury, sadness, disappointment, and even some bittersweet memories. Because the mix of feelings can be confusing and painful, you may want to jump over them and right into celebrating the future. While understandable, this “solution” will not make that inner pain and turmoil disappear – instead, it may very well send it underground where it will continue to undermine a happy life going forward.

By turning inward, you might have some enlightening insights. Many people find that with a bit of distance and reflection, they can see patterns that they had not seen (or seen so clearly) earlier. They might recognize their part in where things went wrong; even if that just means not walking away when serious issues were evident, perhaps even before they married. And they might discover a balance between feeling anger and reminiscing about happier times. Such reflections can help to quiet your anger, allow for acceptance and healing, and provide you with realizations that will help you to choose and nurture healthier relationships in the future.

So, if you dream of a big party to celebrate your divorce, allow yourself that fantasy. Give all of your feelings their chance to rise up – the anger, sadness, relief, whatever. Grieve the past. Look forward to the future. Think it all through, and put in the time and effort to find your balance. Then, after doing this inner work, consider how you can best celebrate the end of your marriage – or at least find closure for it.

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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