by Cherise Holt, Brisbane, Australia
The definition, according to Wikipedia: ‘Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the final termination of a marital union, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage.’
To each individual, family and within society, the word divorce is laden with many beliefs of how it should be or feel, for self or for others… and in most cases emotional and painful events are greatly and personally associated with it.
Two years ago my marriage ended suddenly. I had gone from ticking the marital status box of ‘Married’… to ‘Separated’… and a year later, ‘Divorced’. I felt embarrassed to tick the latter boxes. I was dealing with the fact that my marriage was over, but I was apprehensive to let the world know that we had broken our vows which I had held so proudly for six years. Would this be the stereotypical label on me that I would forever want to hide – divorced, failed marriage, a woman with baggage?
As a child I attended church; I learnt that women who were divorced were once governed to wear a black veil to mass – a sign of continued mourning, perhaps? My understanding was that they were rejected within the community as failures. As a child I didn’t want this to be the case for me; I felt the hurt and humiliation that women must go through in these situations.
As an adult, I felt the stigma that comes with the term ‘divorced’. I also felt the reaction or discomfort of friends, and even strangers, when I would say the word: I too was once a person who would be stalled in sympathy, not knowing what to say if someone told me they were divorced. There is also that sense of judgment surrounding the one who departed the marriage, and the commiseration for the one left behind.
According to Australian statistics, every third marriage ends in divorce. That’s a lot of people potentially walking around feeling the shame, guilt or stigma of no longer being a part of a matrimonial union between two people.
As I have recognised my once held beliefs of divorce and ideals of marriage, I have felt to unreservedly discard them. I know my marriage could not continue, however I don’t feel to hold back from sharing great memories or experiences from a marriage I was once in: or how divorce has been a loving and grateful experience for me.
I listened attentively one day as Serge Benhayon presented how much true love he holds for his first wife… in fact the same amount he holds for his second. My first thought was, how can this be? In my experience, we live in a world where I have never seen this to be the case. I have since witnessed what a beautiful and truly loving extended family they share.
I felt inspired by Serge, and confirmation within me, that my experience of divorce is my own. My beliefs of how I thought marriage or divorce should have been were only ever derived from society or my perception of others’ experiences and opinions. But what is my own view on divorce? There is no such taboo of divorce for me; it is just a simple word with a simple meaning. Its use is nothing to be ashamed of, and its occurrence in my life is certainly nothing to be regretful for.
146 thoughts on “Divorce: Nothing To Be Ashamed Of”
Society does deem divorce as a ‘failed marriage’ yet this is completely dishonouring of the relationship, and what can be learned through what was shared, and how, so the opportunity to learn, grow and evolve can continue – deepening our relationship with love, for ourselves and each other.
Very true Carola, just because a marriage has ended in divorce does not mean there was no love there, in many cases the love may have been so strong it was too much at the time for one person. Every moment gives us an opportunity to learn and grow from if we hold ourselves in shame of past choices we miss out on the gift of the learning we have.
Every part of life can change when we make our purpose about evolution. We are very held by beliefs of how we and life (including divorce) must be, but if we open to the possibilities of evolution everything can be loving and have a true purpose.
Making our purpose about evolution, within relationships and marriage, is a game changer.
You bring clearly to the fore here how words are formed or actually altered by the way we live. So in other words we adjust them to what we want them to be, instead of living in accordance to our inner truth.
This is awesome Cherise. It’s awful how quickly we judge another for what we perceive to be a failure, when in fact it’s just a learning. It’s the same with not completing a degree or not ‘completing’ anything for that matter. We are so hard on ourselves and others, but where did this idea come from that we have to get somewhere?? We love to believe that all these stepping stones will get us to some higher ground, but it doesn’t. Every day is just another day at school, learning and growing in our own time, and accepting the beauty and simplicity of that, is enough, if we allow it.
Great blog Cherise. I find divorce quite a courageous thing. Leaving a marriage or relationship that isn’t working and where it is clear that it can’t work can be a hard step as in many cases it does not mean that love is not present. It is a hugely loving thing to leave a relationship that is not one based on truth. There can be quite a lot of comfort in simply staying put. Society seems to have subscribed to a picture and expectation of what marriage is and so when that is not met, the stigma of divorce sets in.
Where do these old ideals and beliefs come from, they are imposed on us in so many ways, when our bodies and we know deep inside that they do not make sense?
Well said Cherise, ‘There is no such taboo of divorce for me; it is just a simple word with a simple meaning. Its use is nothing to be ashamed of, and its occurrence in my life is certainly nothing to be regretful for.’ That is my experience of divorce too.
I understand all the ideals and beliefs that come with that word divorced, it is a very loaded word; but all that it comes with does not effect you when you have the understanding within yourself why that relationship can longer continue as it is in that form.
Beautiful blog Cherise. It is easy to accept the ideals and beliefs around topics like divorce and how it is something to feel ashamed of. Especially what you shared about the church is something I sort of accepted but looking at it now I wonder why I accepted it. It is pure inhumane to make a woman do that. Divorce is a very healthy thing to do when a relationship does not work anymore or if the time of it serving has passed and it is time to move on. I feel it is time to see that being married is not the be all and end all and to make true love the be all and end all.
I have the deepest appreciation and absolute understanding of what this article shares. To stand in the face of the judgements that lie with the stigma of divorce and instead hold with grace the truth that divorce is much more true than staying, living in a way that brings only comfort and an agreement with ones partner, is to be admired, honoured and accepted if we as a society really want to live to our highest potential.
“it is just a simple word with a simple meaning. Its use is nothing to be ashamed of, and its occurrence in my life is certainly nothing to be regretful for.” I agree. More harm is done staying in a marriage that isn’t working, than to be honest with each other and part (which can be so healing if allowed).
Well said Cherise. No taboo, stigma or any such rot should be associated with being divorced. I have also experienced a divorce that could not have been more amicable, and imbued with love and deep respect.
I love how you explore what divorce means to you instead of letting it fester in you without expressing how you feel about it, to then realise that the word divorce is laden with stigmas but that this actually has nothing to do with how we can live our life but we can fall for it and follow these unspoken rules. A great reflection for us all and a great reminder to be very inquisitive with what simple words can impose on us because we as a society do not live their true meaning.
I must say when I first heard that Serge Benhayon and his first wife were friends and loved each other just the same as the relationship he has with his wife now, I couldn’t believe it either…. or the fact that the women were best friends….but as i have seen numerous times over many years, everything the Benhayon family does is from love. They continually show the world how we all can live naturally and harmoniously together… which exposes the detrimental ideals and beliefs we hold ourselves back with.
I found it quite shocking to hear that certain beliefs meant that those divorced are somewhat tarred by having to wear black. I don’t feel that any form of rejection, humiliation or sympathy is supportive, let alone any guilt or shame because a relationship that is no longer loving needs to be legally unbound. It is gorgeous that you have been able to see and feel what is true and unpick the reactions and discomfort that held beliefs imposed on yourself or others….. for there is no place for beliefs when it comes to love.
Instead of looking down on and considering divorce as shameful or a failure we should view it as simply a new beginning for each person of which it actually is.
There is in fact so much that comes with the simple word of divorce if we allow it to as it has been lived by many. But as you share if we allow ourselves to go through it on our own terms and do not let all that what we associate with it, heard about it or hear from people around us dictate ourselves, but tune in to the next step that we feel to take, it can become a different experience and not just a box we land in and have no say in.
It is interesting how we create these outside ideas of what is right and what is wrong instead of feeling from our bodies and our beingness what feels right for us in any given moment, as you have done in our blog Cherise.
Thank you Cherise for sharing so intimately your experience , it is beautiful that you now have the understanding to let go of the ideals and beliefs that do not serve but imprison us. It is a beautiful reflection of what true love really is in Serge’s life with his ex wife and with all humanity.
Cherise you wrote: “There is no such taboo of divorce for me; it is just a simple word with a simple meaning.” That is exactly how it should to be – a simple word and not all the ideals and beliefs that comes with it. Not holding on to them would make our lives so much easier and more joyfull as you so beautifully shared in your honest blog.
Why should we ever feel guilty or ashamed if a relationship breaks down and doesn’t continue? Our commitment should be to live with true love, not to stay together regardless.
I too had taken on the judgement of divorce and Serge Benhayon opened my eyes to a very different way to be in a relationship. It is very liberating not to be burdened with carrying the weight of ‘how things ought to be’ and just accept them as they are.
“I listened attentively one day as Serge Benhayon presented how much true love he holds for his first wife… in fact the same amount he holds for his second. My first thought was, how can this be? In my experience, we live in a world where I have never seen this to be the case. I have since witnessed what a beautiful and truly loving extended family they share.” Yes it is truly beautiful to witness the love Serge has – a great reflection for how society can be one day – and to know that divorce in itself is not a failure.
I like your provocation to think for ourselves rather than be like sheep, following the guilt-ridden, shame-ridden beliefs about divorce. Perhaps it’s time we redefined failure. When a marriage has stopped evolving, does it not make sense to call it and go separate ways rather than settling for a life in stagnation?
I have separated from my partner over a year ago after a relationship of 9 years and even though I don’t feel any guilt or shame about it, sometimes I do allow these thoughts in that carry a judgement towards myself, where I blame myself. Not because we are not together anymore, but more in that I should have done this or that differently. The beautiful thing is, they are thoughts and I can feel this is not true. Some relationships end, but then they never end, they just get another expression.
Great blog, exposing and debunking the belief system that lies behind the shame of choosing to terminate a marriage. Yet another way in which we can beat ourselves up for decades when in fact there is no need for taboo when someone is taking responsibility for their own choices.
I whole heartedly agree with you – there is a huge stigma around divorce and a lot of people are ashamed about it. I feel this is part of the humungous pressure we hold ourselves in to be perfect and never make mistakes, but the truth is we are here to learn and situations like a separation can be a huge healing for us. Super well claimed.
It we feel the shame to leave a relationship then aren’t we a prisoner of that emotion/ideal? Life is a flow and at times situations arise that may not seem to click with social expectations however when has playing by the social normals made any true good or change?
The term ‘divorce’ feels so super heavy and negative. As though you have done something wrong and constantly held accountable for it. I have found it inspiring to see Serge Benhayon and his family too as it has shown that the marriage status is just a label but it does not need effect the love you hold and share with another.
Cherise, I loved reading your blog, to watch Serge Benhayon and his family has shown me how divorce may be the end of a marriage, however it doesn’t have to be the end of a great friendship.
It’s great that you have raised this topic Cherise as I agree that the word ‘divorce’ is still laced with lots of negative meaning with many people. I understand that making the decision to get divorced is not something to be taken lightly, but wonder how many people actually stay in unhappy marriages just to avoid the stigma of divorce?
Groundbreaking, Cherise! We will need lots of people expressing and living this truth to undo what we have lived when we still carried the beliefs and ideals of the catholic church and other judgmental institutions, societies…
Cherise, a great article, divorce is nothing to be ashamed of, I
would say that it’s the complete opposite, divorce happens sometimes when we are starting to get honest about our relationships, and eventually we are truthful with ourselves as to what is really happening, if it is not working to actually admit it, is a huge step forward.
Great to have the sigma around divorce brought into the light where it can be shaken free of the cobwebs of old religious and societal values.
We are all on a continually unfolding path of evolution. Everyone chooses to evolve at a different pace and to let go of behaviours towards themselves and others that don’t serve at different times. People also commit to bringing truth and love to their relationships at different times. Hence, it is natural that some couples will outgrow their relationship as each makes choices that move them in different directions.
Divorce is merely a legal avenue to separate people from a union that is no longer serving them on their journey of evolution (or their path of returning to living who they truly are).
It is great how you present that it is nothing to be ashamed of as that is not the way you are in it, but only how society is seeing it. There is a great empowerment when feeling our own truth and sharing this.
Thank you for raising this important issue Cherise. I can recall feeling ashamed when my husband and I first separated as I had an ideal that marriage was forever, and no one in my family had ever separated. By the time the divorce came through I was happy to make it official, happy for my ex to remarry, and yes, I remember the good times fondly as well.
Divorce can be a traumatic experience when we carry around the beliefs and ideals of society. It took me a long time to get over it those many years ago. I know and feel that should it happen today it would be a very different experience for me having learnt to trust myself.
Thank you Cherise for sharing how you have let go of your feelings of shame around being divorced and that you now ‘don’t feel to hold back from sharing great memories or experiences from a marriage I was once in: or how divorce has been a loving and grateful experience for me.’ I feel this is so inspirational for anyone going through this experience and know that it has taken me years to let go of the stigma I felt around being divorced. I knew my marriage could not continue it but has been so healing to acknowledge the love I still feel for my ex-husband and the gratitude I have for the life we shared.
As a result of my parents divorce after their years of marriage in constant arguing and fighting, I kind of seared on my memory to never let my partner down because things did not go well. I told myself to not leave him just because I could see problems in the future.
In the end, because of not wanting to be stigmatised as to “have given up” I stayed in relationships I would today call simply “arrangements”, way longer than it would have actually been good for me.
The lack of trust in true love was the cause for that.
In true love for me, my feelings were right and there was no reason at all to stay suffering in this way, ever.
Today I know that first of all I have to love me, honour my feelings and be honest with my own expectations, That truly sets me free to open up a new relationship and to see my “divorce” as an act of self love and not as a failure.
This is beautiful Christina, there are many children traumatized and devastated by the divorce of their parents. Imagine if as children we were encouraged to make all relationships about love and only love and if they are not, that it is loving to make the decision to leave that relationship? There is so much stigma around divorce that makes it worse for everyone, especially our children.
Cherise what you have shared is a beautiful presentation of coming into harmony with something that the world wants to hold you to ransom for. Its beautiful how you have claimed divorce as your experience and therefore your true understanding and appreciation for it as a learning step in your life. We have many potholes in the road to navigate ourselves around, and each one brings the gift of wisdom and more awareness about ourselves and our lives if we are willing to see it. I feel you have. Well done!
Divorce is such a common thing and yet as you say, there is so much baggage attached to the word. We as a society are not good at talking about many things that are common occurrences in life. Divorce, death and mental health are a few that come to mind. We judge so many things as either pass or fail, good or bad. All of life is a learning. Thanks for opening up this conversation about divorce Cherise.
This is a great point of view about divorce – thanks Cherise. To leave my marriage was the right thing to do for me, and to look back today, I can say this is how it was and yes, I did some mistakes too, and I don’t blame my ex-partner for anything. To be where I am at now is what counts and the way how I can be with this decision is one of respect and love for myself.
Divorce is a word, it explains a legal process, it is nothing more or less than that.
I understand what you are saying here, Cherise as I have had a similar experience many years ago now. Sometimes divorce can be part of our own personal evolution and as such can be very freeing. I too felt the stigma and ideals and beliefs around divorce but know I would never be in the amazing place or awareness of today if this had not happened.
There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about divorce yet I can relate to how much the word divorce carries a load of emotions. I have never been married yet have been together for 9 years with my ex-partner and I have also had thoughts of failure. I know now that this is not true and that sometimes relationships end. Which does not mean that you don’t relate any longer, because I still feel an enormous amount of love and care for him. Even when we separate/divorce, the connection remains.
There is nothing wrong with divorce if it is truly honouring of both you and your partner. It has this taboo with it, a feeling of being bad, but in fact the relationship can deepen and evolve between both people if it is done with true love and care of each person.
So true we attach some weight on certain words based on what we fear society’s ideals and beliefs are and feel ashamed/embarrassed/guilty because of our own identification or association to that, while the truth simply is just what is. When I look at the relationships Serge Benhayon has with his first and the current wife, I am inspired that a relationship is never static and it can always evolve given our commitment, and even when it changes its form, it can still remain as loving as ever and continue to evolve.
This is beautifully said Fumiyo, even after a divorce the two can still be loving with each other and expanding their relationship as friends. Once there is no more hurt there is love.
It struck me to be asked, how many people walk around feeling guilt or shame. The divorced, the raped, the bullied, the perpetrators, the survivors of war, members of some major institutionalized religions, many in the educational systems who don’t have the ability to recall according to the requested standards … the list goes on and on. Every time we don’t perfectly match an ideal. Could it be that we consciously choose an emotion to not feel great?
So beautiful, Cherise. Divorce is definitely a word we lace with ideals and beliefs, judgments and commiseration. It is so freeing to let this all go and, as you have, appreciate it for the learning it has been.
This made me consider… if divorce is a word we lace with ‘ideals and beliefs, judgments and commiseration’, how many other words to we lace…? Words such as ‘marriage’, ‘parenting’, ‘mothering’, ‘love’ etc. I have experienced that when we lace these words with our own needs and expectations, there is always judgement and blame when our needs and expectations aren’t met. It’s great to consider that we can begin to feel these words in their truer sense, and without the imposition of our own ideals and beliefs, which allows us to experience them in a fuller, more expansive and open way.
As with all facets of our relationships with others there is an opportunity for learning for all involved during the divorce process – this is definitely nothing to be ashamed of.
I absolutely agree; there is nothing to be ashamed of when a married couple decide to have a divorce yet there are so many ideals and beliefs around divorce. It is wonderful to read about Cherise’s story and how accepting she is of the divorce in her life. An inspiring blog to many considering a divorce.
There has been so much stigma attached to divorce through the years, I remember my parents talking in hushed tones about someone who was divorced, looking at them as a failure, this attitude left some women to live in so much abuse and self abuse, putting on a brave face for the public but underneath being very very unhappy. What a great turn around to look at divorce as a loving choice you have made for your self.
It’s another word laden with ideals and beliefs, most of them sad and regretful. What a good idea it is to change this.
I actually never knew you were married and divorced, but knowing now, does not at all change the amazing, inspiring woman I know you to be. It doesn’t make sense that people who have been divorced are looked down upon because the beautiful essence inside everyone can never be lost, no matter what.
Cherise, such a great subject to raise and you have done so with such dignity. I have never been married. Marriage itself has always felt like such a divinely pure union of two, of true love and to date I haven’t had the kind of relationship that has lead to that occurring. I did have a 9 year relationship that was much like a marriage, we shared two children and a home, and all of those years together but this came to it’s natural end. I can relate to the taboo around divorce and separation and this has an added element when children are involved.
It is awesome to realise that divorce can be a choice of and for love. What if we recognised that if a marriage cannot continue to grow in love then for all involved moving on is actually the most loving thing to choose?
Thanks for your sharing Cherise. Serge Benhayon shows ( in his relationship with his first wife) that it is possible to share a loving connection with somebody even though they are no longer married.
Thank you Cherise for debasing the stigma that society has around divorce. Where in fact it need not be a separation of love for each other but rather an opportunity to deepen the love for ourselves and each other by being honest with what is not working and expose a pattern or momentum that no longer serves the relationship. And that it is also possible to maintain a deeply loving friendship after a divorce.
In some occasions I have felt some uneasiness in sharing I was divorced. It was a bit like I hold an instant fear that people would assume that I have been through lots of bad things that everyone will be free of making up in their minds and this knowing would affect the image they hold of me. It is silly because getting divorced was one of my most self-loving decisions.
So true. When we can’t evolve together any more it’s surely self-loving to move on.
This was a pleasure to read and so beautiful and inspiring that you now look at the completion of your marriage free from the beliefs of others. I loved that you mentioned how Serge Benhayon still shares connection with his previous wife showing us all how those who are no longer married can still hold such a deep and respectful love for one another free from any shame, guilt or regret.… it is truly gorgeous to behold.
Cherise thank you for sharing this. There seems to be such a stigma in our society about divorce and the shame or failure that is associated with it, when this is another opportunity for development and growth that is presented to everyone to look at our stuff and instead of blaming the other take responsibility of our part in it. So there is that possibility to still have a great friendship and love for the other after divorce if you so choose to.
All experiences in life are individual and everyone has a way to deal with it or a point of view. But if everyone can look at each experience freely from ideals and beliefs, like you were able to Cherise, people would possibly feel very differently about the experience and from that basis, there will be more understanding for experiences of others. Thank you Cherise for writing this.
This feels awesome Cherise as I can feel you have confronted a belief held by many about divorce being taboo. I can feel you have dispelled this belief beautifully and honestly through your sharing. It is time we see divorce not as something shameful but just another part of life.
Thank you for sharing your experience and lived wisdom on marriage and divorce Cherise.
We have so many beliefs and ideals about how things should be, if one gets divorced, that they have somehow failed in life, rather than seeing it as a courageous act, to follow what is true rather than stay in a situation that is not supportive to each person. What sort of message do we give our children by staying in a marriage that is not loving and supportive?
My parents divorced when I was six, and my father still chooses to carry a guilt about the fact that he left his wife and children, even though I have told him its not needed.
It’s incredible how loaded a word becomes and as you say…”My beliefs of how I thought marriage or divorce should have been were only ever derived from society or my perception of others’ experiences and opinions.” I believe this to be true of many words we throw about nowadays, however the reality for many, as you have shown, can be very different.
Great blog, thank you Cherise.
Thank you for showing great insight into various perceptions about words. Marriage, separation, divorce, – they come with many ideals and beliefs and preconceptions. But in the end it’s the energy behind that matter, isn’t it?
This is a great sharing Cherise on a subject that carries a lot of weight with it. How you have accepted divorce is fabulous, I don’t know many people who speak fondly of their ex-partners let alone remain friends with them. Many people have a great deal of malice towards their ex-partners and I feel this stems from the feeling they have of failure. We have this word failure in our tool belt and we pull it out as soon as anything doesn’t work out or go as planned. Failure is such a negative word and one that can put us into a downward spiral. The moments we call failures can be seen as opportunities to learn and grow as you have shown us Cherise.
Thank your Cherise for your sharing and bringing up this topic so relevant to so many people. I am divorced and I find it beautiful to allow myself to feel how deeply I love my now ex-husband. What sometimes stands in the way of our relationship is one of us holding on to old hurts. Boy oh boy have I had my share of that – digging my heels in and trying to blame him for whatever. Letting go of the old hurts and taking responsibility for my life and my choices really helps in building a loving relationship with everybody, but especially with former partners.
That is beautiful Monika and a profound understanding that you share, we do not actually stop loving someone but we get caught up in all the hurts we accumulate and hold on to. How amazing to learn to let them go so love can be the main connection again.
Cherise, thank you, as I read your story what kept coming to mind was the fact that so many things we do have a heavy consciousness or taboo attached to them inciting guilt and shame. But the truth is without this they are just another part of life, another part of our ongoing evolution which is beautiful.
‘I know my marriage could not continue, however I don’t feel to hold back from sharing great memories or experiences from a marriage I was once in: or how divorce has been a loving and grateful experience for me.’
This is so beautiful and somehow a missing link for me. I’ve observed how quickly sadness or bitterness can come in as a reaction when lovely memories or experiences from my past marriage come up. The focus then is on the loss or what I’ve failed with instead of fully aknowledging the fact that it was true to move on. This allows myself then to appreciate the beauty we did share and feel the joy in there. Thank you Cherise for your awesome reflection.
Thank you Cherise for sharing. I have had my share of feelings of failure and guilt around my own divorce. The love for the man I now call my ex-husband is still there and I cherish the years we lived as a couple.
Well, if people understood Divorce like you do Cherise than there wouldn’t be so much bitterness between ex-partners, like is commonly the case. I loved to hear that you decided to look at it from a different perspective and not hold on to anything that hurt about the relationship or the relationship ending. People can learn a lot from you Cherise, you are so very wise 😀
Cherise, I can really feel how your choice to divorce was truly a loving one, and it shows how if that is the case, what is there to be ashamed or guilty of? Our society puts so much pressure on couples and defines a successful marriage by its duration rather than what is important, the quality of true love and connection within it. To me, it’s much worse (and not too intelligent in my opinion) to go on and on in a marriage that is full of bitterness, resentment and possibly abuse just for the sake of “holding it together” so it looks OK to other people, when in truth it’s rotting from the inside. You’ve really claimed your commitment to yourself in your decision.
That is so true Michael, in every relationship the most important is ‘the quality of true love and connection within it’.
Refreshing to hear. As I read what you describe I can associate with all those ideals and beliefs we grow up with. How insidious to be confronted with these, that override what can be a very simple and loving choice. Divorce and separation are met with such contempt, seen as a sense of failure, it’s no wonder people hang on to a relationship that does not support them. It is great that people are learning to trust themselves and bring it back to the simplicity and love that guides their choices, for in this they are free from all these societal impositions.
So interesting to reflect on the strength of the beliefs we buy into such as those surrounding marriage and divorce. I was also struck by the beauty and freedom in Cherise’s words, ‘as I have recognised my once held beliefs of divorce and ideals of marriage, I have felt to unreservedly discard them’. As I recognise my ideals and beliefs I will treat these words as a powerful invitation to do likewise.
Yes once we are able to recognise our ideals and beliefs about something we open up the choice ‘to unreservedly discard them’. Thank you for the inspiration.
Cherise, I grew up with parents who divorced when our youngest sister left school. They spent at least 10 years staying together for the good of the kids; I used to sit at the dinner table and say “don’t stay together for us”. I could not understand why they would stay together but I feel in part it was due to everything you have described in your blog; the shame of getting divorced 20 years ago when you come from a religious background was huge. My aunty divorced 35 years ago and her own parents never spoke to her about it, never was mentioned. Thank goodness we are moving into an age where due to the large numbers of divorce there isn’t the same stigma, but yet as you point out, it exists in our own ideals of what should or should not happen in our lives. It’s part of accepting that you are where you are and that is more than ok.
I agree Cherise, there shouldn’t be any stigma around divorce. It does not define a person in any way.
“Well said Fiona and a great article Cherise, thank you. Having been divorced and felt guilt and shame about it I now realise it was my concern about what others thought about me that brought these feelings up and not what I felt was the true and most loving thing to do.”
I second the amazing relationship we can witness between Serge and his first wife. It’s how it should be – still part of a family and no one feeling any less because they decided that being together was not right. Too often there is a dark picture painted when it comes to divorce. 2 people made a decision to move their lives in separate directions. That should be appreciated not sinned
Great blog Cherise. I am twice divorced and I married a third time. I do not hold any guilt or shame about it. This is just the way life has unfolded for me. Although it has been a very difficult time for me I have the most beautiful, equal, loving and fulfilling husband and I feel blessed to have him in my life.
So amazing to read this Cherise. We have so many cultural ideals on marriage and divorce, in some countries in the world it is not even an option, in some religions very frowned upon. In my experience it is far better to face the fact that a marriage has concluded for what ever reason and seek to close it with maximum respect for one another than to struggle on in a loveless relationship. And Serge Benhayon has been a great inspiration in seeing that not only can two people separate without the usual vexation that some couples go through, they can actually form a greater family and create true friendships with the new wife or husband. Yes it is possible and yes it has happened, the Benhayon family are living proof.
Thank you Cherise for shedding some light on this. My first marriage ended in divorce. I was married at 21 and divorced at 23. I had a very romantic idealistic view of marriage. Things didn’t work out as the “happily ever after story”. I felt a failure as a person, and in society, (it was the late 1970’s)
I now look at divorce in a completely different way, and realise it was a valuable life lesson, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Thank you for sharing this Cherise. I have never been married or divorced. I am 44 and single, and I feel there is a stigma attached to having never been married.
Cherise, your blog makes some interesting points about humanity. There should be
no stigma about divorce and the ex-couple should be able to remain friends.
This way, I think, makes it less traumatic for the children if there are any.
My parents divorced when I was about 9 or 10 and I never saw my father again,
which was very painful. My first marriage lasted 22 years, but we each changed
so much and grew apart so much, that it would not have made sense to stay together
merely to appease our friends.
You are so correct about the stigma associated with divorce, Cherise. This stigma can actually result in resistance to the healing for that person, in what is an already painful and difficult situation. The example lived by Serge Benhayon is truly inspiring, demonstrating that the stereotype divorce scenario does not need to occur. That there is another way in which the love that was present to initiate the original marriage can be carried over and in fact deepened in the new relationship structure.
Great blog Cherise, I didn’t think there would still be a stigma behind divorce as it is such a common thing these days. I know it is still frowned upon in some religions but to me it’s down to the individuals involved and nobody else’s business to poke their noses in and be judgemental.
It is refreshing to read your article Cherise, thank you. As the marital status tick box would seem to be one place where a divorced couple receive the same stigma in society I ponder the incongruency…..
I agree with you Jane, it is simply reality and claiming my divorce as an experience in my life that has actually allowed me to deepen my relationship with myself and my understanding with others also, is far from an awkward feeling …it is beautiful.
I can now see that when I share about my divorce from this understanding I hold with it, others are more likely to react a little surprised by me, and are often curious and inspired as to how I have come to hold such an appreciation.
I really appreciate your comment above, Cherise – “when we really claim a loving and honouring relationship with ourselves those stigmas can’t leach in anywhere'”. I can feel the strength of your commitment to yourself and your truth in these words.
There should be no stigma attached to being divorced. It’s what other people make of it.
Being divorced does not mean leaving on a sour note, but on still being friends.
I agree that there shouldn’t be a stigma Mike, and I appreciate that there are many people making the choices to not hold that stigma over themselves – instead allow others to have their opinions, but know there is another way..
Great blog Cherise, thank you for sharing. I find it interesting that considering the divorce statistics these days, there is still a stigma attached to it which makes me wonder if it’s because we are making it about the failure of the institution of marriage or the failure as people. I am married now and I have never been divorced but I have split up with girlfriends and I remember feeling very ashamed that I had split up and didn’t want to talk to anyone. I felt I had failed as a person because I couldn’t make it work. As you say, divorce or separation are just words and something never to be ashamed of.
Thank you for sharing your experience Tim, I would agree that it is not only about the outward stigma and absolutely about our relationship with ourselves, and in turn the expectations and failure we apply to ourselves and our choice to observe what we are learning or be hard on ourselves.
Recently at a Universal Medicine Relationships workshop, I experienced a deeper understanding of how we often look to relationships, and ‘giving love’ to others and yet can easily forget that we deserve to ‘let love in’ equally so and that this begins with our very relationship with ourselves first. When we are holding ourselves in love and then another, if a relationship does not feel right to continue – we are quite exposed to the choices we made throughout to be love and allow love and I have found that this is my space to observe here, understand I made choices to the best of my awareness and stay open to learning more.
Thank you for writing this Cherise – I am also soon to be twice divorced…which would appear to ‘up the anti’ on some of those stigmas you highlight. I’ve had loaded jests from people that I’ll soon have a ‘line up’ of ex-husbands like some of the women in Hollywood. I can also relate to the notion of being perceived as ‘having baggage’, particularly when there are children from the relationship.
It’s interesting though how the reality can be, that I have on the whole, loving relationships with both my ex-husbands and that claiming the neccesity for the clarity of divorce and moving on to a new type of relationship has been a very loving thing for me, and also for them. Reading your blog, I can actually feel how some of those stigmas and beliefs must have previously leached in without my full awareness and contributed to my delay in what was the most loving course of action for me, and for all concerned. A very illuminating read, with a bunch of really helpful self reflection made possible. Thank you Cherise.
Thank you Kate, it feels to me that when we really claim a loving and honouring relationship with ourselves those stigmas can’t leach in anywhere – no matter how sneaky they can be!
I also love and appreciate that I am living with and have made a tangible relationship with divorce, to the point where the word holds nothing over me but actually connects me to a deeper sense of relationship – wow isn’t that amazing, when the word itself has been used to mean ‘the end’, and here we are with this grand opportunity to connect more deeply (with no end) to ourselves, the gentle men in our lives and then with all.
So beautifully said Cherise – just gorgeous to feel. ‘here we are with this grand opportunity to connect more deeply (with no end) to ourselves, the gentle men in our lives and then with all’. So so true and this is the experience of my current separation and pending divorce – it is founded on a deepening self care and so more care also for others. It is a marker of joy and commitment to living with more love and certainly in no way a failure, in fact the opposite.
Thank you Cherise for your sharing on Divorce and to bring light on something that is often very honouring for both parties even if it may not feel so at the time and not something to be held with such a taboo and failure in our society.
I love that Tricia, ‘it is often very honouring for both parties, even if it may not feel so at the time’. Sometimes we appreciate more in hindsight what an experience has brought to us, and I am now also learning that when I do my best to observe and reflect for myself within a situation, I can bring the appreciation in a lot sooner and feel the honouring that is happening through my choices made.
Thank you for sharing this Cherise. Divorce is such a taboo subject where we can often feel like we’ve failed. What comes through in your writing is no shame and just the simplicity of what was. Beautiful.
Thank you Shevon, there is definitely a simplicity that comes in being honest with yourself and therefore not the complication of taking on another’s opinion or a society’s view. Our greatest responsibility is to simply learn for ourselves and deepen our own self-relationship, our awareness within situations then only grows from there.
You brought up a great topic Cherise – where I come from (southern Europe) so many women stay (unhappily) married because of the shame factor – this is huge!
I remember about three years ago I went to Vietnam to one of Universal Medicine retreats. In the dining area there was a table reserved for the Benhayon family which of course included Serge’s ex wife. The staff at the hotel expressed their disbelief that ‘current’ and ‘ex’ wife can sit at the same table (without pulling each other’s hair ;)) – and not only that but that they actually get along very well and no pretense!
The Benhayon family are absolutely amazing role models for the society of how we can and are meant to be.
It’s so true Dragana, Serge Benhayon, his family and their own relationship with divorce is indeed inspiring – they supported me to really appreciate that the choices I was making within my own divorce were indeed founded from a place where I knew that my relationship with myself could absolutely deepen; and from here I could bring this depth equally to others around me.
I also love the point you are making, about staying in an ‘unhappy’ marriage due to the ‘shame’ felt in leaving.. I have observed many people feeling guilty in leaving a marriage, when really they deserve to be claiming what feels right and loving for themselves, even though it can be difficult, ‘unhappy’ is the opposite of allowing love in for oneself and within a partnership – and everyone deserves to feel true joy and love.
Thank you Cherise, maybe we can make a new ESOPEDIA definition of Divorce: two people making the choice to live apart in order to fully explore themselves and their own amazingness: to develop a loving relationship with oneself.
Love it Carmel! The more stigma we remove from the words themselves, they naturally begin to hold our lived quality and relationship with them – and not the beliefs of someone else. We’d have many new definitions to add to that list.
Thank you Cherise for this blog. It’s true divorce is nothing to be ashamed of and still I sometimes felt this as it seems to be so deeply ingrained in our society. I feel I can hold my ex-husband with love and we are learning to express love in a new way. this feels normal to me but seems to go against everything in the outer world – at times challenging and exposing but also an inspiration for people around… Serge and his family show the way it can be and I’m grateful for this reflection. Showing that the true Love between people always stays only the expression of it might change!
Thank you for sharing your experience Sarah, I agree that when I look around to society, my way of living ‘divorced’ does not appear to look the ‘norm’; however what a blessing we bring to all those who may also feel that ‘being ashamed’ of their experiences does not feel right to them, but may not be aware of the choices they too can make for themselves.
The more we claim that we can actually hold a loving, understanding relationship with divorce itself, and with those involved in the situation the more we are naturally letting more love come through in more situations in our lives – if every relationship has equal opportunity and experience just the same, divorce is no different.
I find it quite remarkable how much comes with the “marriage” package – and I ask myself where is the Love? To me marriage should be a reflection of a Love & Committment that is already lived and walked showing this is what we already have. Instead it feels as something we bring in – like a third party – to live up to, to obey, to make work and that has to be a load of work hasn’t it? No wonder we in the end have to give – and perhaps it’s not even the partner we want to separate from but from the marriage… isn’t that something to ponder on most deeply? Maybe the marriage as we have come to know it isn’t true… maybe it’s much more simple than that… maybe the true version of marriage is a continuation of something that is already living between two persons and just that – and to me that feels true…
Great points to ponder on Matts, and I love what you have shared here about marriage being a continuation of the love and livingness that has already been built and founded between two people – when they are loving and honouring of themselves and each other.
For me, marriage would then also not be about containing this beauty for only the two people involved, it would serve as an amazingly, expanding relationship to inspire others and I am sure the true love between two could only ever be extended to share with others also.
I love the point you have made here, let’s not bring marriage in as a ‘third party’ to bring us something, or to serve any neediness, let’s make it about a truly respectful relationship with oneself and others in equality – and celebrate this with ceremony each and every day.
I love what you have written here Matts. “… and perhaps it’s not even the partner we want to separate from …” but from the beliefs, the expectations, and this ‘working’ at it which makes it all sound like such a struggle. And yes, where is the love here? What you have written here has been deeply healing.
You raise some interesting points that I had never considered before. I can imagine that for many people divorce would feel like a failure and ticking that box would just rub it in. There are probably stigmas in being widowed and single as well!
Your article clearly shows how we are so unwittingly affected by all this kind of stuff and equally shows how inspiring it is to discover that there is another way.
This is true Nicola, there can be stigmas held about any ‘relationship status’ and what an opportunity it is to tick the ‘divorced’ box, knowing full well that whatever beliefs or judgements are held by another – they are not my own, and it indeed brings a blessing for myself .. and who knows, probably for the person who is reading the ‘ticked box’ too!
Thank you for your article Cherise which breaks down and helps to heal the stigma, sense of failure and shame that many have felt about divorce (including myself) .
Thank you Rod, it is beautiful to appreciate that there is no such sense of failure or shame when we are divorced. Instead, we have this amazing opportunity to learn and unfold so much about ourselves and the relationships we have with all others.
Thank you Cherise.
Thank you for writing about the ideals and beliefs associated with divorce Cherise. I experienced many of these when I went through the process of being married, separated and divorced.
Cherise, I appreciate you openly sharing your experience.