The NYC Divorce Expo got a lot of press this weekend. Start Over Smart (www.startoversmartny.com), a company co-founded by a mother/daughter, family-therapist/mediator team, touts the tagline:
“The Start Over Smart Expo provides a central gathering place for women and men navigating the divorce process as they seek information, services, and expert guidance from trusted professionals.”
Initially I figured it was a fantastic idea! The word “divorce” is so final and definitive. But the concept of a divorce is so undefined. It varies so much from couple to couple. The ramifications are far-reaching. For some it’s a liberating and welcomed event. For others, it could be a long process of feeling pain and confusion, of having to redefine one’s identity, of engaging in deep self-reflection, of rebuilding financial decimation, of battling for child custody … of re-establishing an entirely new norm. The legal and personal journey of divorce is not a clear-cut cookie-cutter process. An expo that consolidates many of the things needed to navigate the messy journey is great!
The Divorce Expo is probably a great place to meet other divorcee’s as well! Bless these ladies for creating an antidote to the ridiculous wedding industry! And also for helping to remind us that divorce is nothing to be ashamed of. Lots and lots of people get through it and come out and whole and healthy on the other end. It does seem like we need a place that consolidates a lot of these resources in a way that is approachable and normal.
I’m always concerned, however, about the larger implications and statements of such events. I’m so tentative about contributing to the McMarriage … you know … the idea that marriage is something we do, knowing that it’s something that can end. Of course, this is our reality. But it certainly creates a potentially less than whole-hearted effort in a relationship when we know that divorce is a very real possibility … and now it’s easier than ever, with events like the Divorce Expo to help us through!
Just like the wedding industry can mesmerize us – take advantage of our hopes and dreams and morph them into a mega-spending event with enormous emotional attachment. The divorce industry can also take advantage of a growing trend to be more self-interested in our marriage – to be more ready to leave a marriage to work on ourselves, reinvent our lives. Sure, we love our stability. But today we are also interested in fulfilling our self-potential … and marriages sometimes just aren’t the best venue for that. When I see events, books, workshops, etc. in the media that contribute to the idea that divorce is just something else we do and just have to work through in order to find our better selves, I get a little anxious.
That being said, if I were going through a divorce, I’d be the first one at the Divorce Expo! In fact, I might go just out of curiosity …