NYC Divorce Expo: C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E Divorce!

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!

Image

Start Over Smart

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 …

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A message from eHarmony: Don’t Get Married

eHarmony’s founder and spokesperson, Neil Clark Warren, recently wrote an article, On Second Thought, Don’t Get Married, in the Huffington Post, in which he stated:

…the skill of choosing a marriage partner has often been treated as relatively unimportant in our society and a whole lot less complex than it actually is. And herein lies the secret of why marriage has often turned out so disappointingly for so many.

Speed Dating

Mate selection in the modern age ...

Of course, it behooves Warren to discuss the importance of choosing a partner, given the very nature of eHarmony.  But Warren acknowledges that the institution of marriage is going out of style, suggesting that of the 2 million couples getting married this year, “several hundred thousand should reconsider,” and that Americans may no longer need marriage and may believe it is “becoming obsolete.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ultimatums: Do or Die?

On/Off Switch

On or Off?

In principle, I think that giving ultimatums in relationships is a terrible idea.  Ultimatums essentially force people to have to make decisions that they are clearly not prepared to make, which in the short-term, may get the desired effect, but in the long-term, tend to create resentment, feelings of being controlled, and a general sense that your partner is an a-hole.  But, recently I’ve been seeing many of my clients know what they want and how they want it.  And for them, ultimatums are the most clear way to communicate this to their partners who drag their feet.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Married, With Infidelities: Raising the right questions

Married with Infidelities Article PIC

Married, with Infidelities

Mark Oppenheimer published a story in the New York Times Magazine this weekend entitled, Married, With Infidelities that wholly speaks to the need for redefining marriage and relationships.  Oppenheimer comments extensively on the views of Dan Savage and his wildly successful column for The Stranger, Savage Love, stating that:

Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples.  But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest.  Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes.  We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them.  In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affar, but with permission.  In both cases, honesty is the best policy.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Relationship evolution

Relationships are-a-changing.  Take a look around … is there any one working model of a relationship that resonates with you? Probably not.  Sure, we have our stock Build-a-Dream-Life software, pre-installed, guiding us toward our ever elusive perfect-match.  But for most of us, our system has been hacked.  To some degree, we carry a sneaking suspicion that there’s something off about being in a relationship today.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized