While washing lights with dim lights at 60 degrees is considered a criminal offense in this house, the courts won’t consider it grounds for divorce, so it’s no wonder it’s been difficult for people who had no choice but to work out (or reconcile) reasons for leaving the marriages. Not anymore! And we no longer need to decipher Latin to differentiate our nisi decree from our absolute decree; they have been renamed “conditional divorce order” and “final divorce order”.
With this modern update to divorce law, I wonder if there will be more updates to the life of a (not quite) divorcee? Wait, I just need to dig into my list of “reasons to avoid middle-aged women in divorce.” Let’s see, here it is: if I promise not to wear a tight black mini-dress, latex thigh-high boots and devil horns, could someone invite me to dinner again? Pardon the obvious sartorial tropes, but I might as well wear sequined nipple tassels to the coffee shop on the corner, for all the invites I no longer get. Single and ready to mingle doesn’t bode well for “the newlyweds,” who have written me off for weekends and Sunday lunches. Bride and groom assume I’m busy looking fabulous somewhere else – and sometimes I am. But sometimes I’m lying face down on the couch, cradling an empty tub of ice cream, forcing myself to think of “alone time” as exactly what the doctor ordered on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Bridget Jones’ pictorial tropes aside, “alone time” is not the same as “enforced alone time” – when the house is empty of children and the outside world seems to be on a long sting- fuck, it can be just plain depressing.
When it comes to dinner invitations, what’s the worst that can happen? I don’t know, I was never invited because wait, divorcees “trap” married men, don’t they? False, but all is well; I’ve formed an allegiance with other single parents and we’ve even discussed a weekend where we’ll get drunk to death listening to Celine Dion’s All By Myself. I can’t wait for this…
A no-fault divorce will hopefully reduce paperwork for the courts as well as rancor between the couples, and notwithstanding financial settlements and custody arrangements, should only take 20 weeks to finalize. By my calculations, if you get yours on April 6, August 24, you’ll be single and ready to mingle (maybe not middle class dinner parties but, you know, there’s a pot of cream ice cream that calls your name).
Just kidding, of course – there is a great life out there, a new life full of endless possibilities! That said, a no-fault divorce does not diminish the seriousness of a decision that will affect the rest of your life. If someone had tried to explain the pain and anguish that leaving a marriage could cause, I think I would have said something like, “Crikey, that sounds awful. I’m not sure I’m strong enough. On the other hand, if anyone had attempted to explain the realities of childbirth and the years after… well, let’s not go there.
I missed the no-fault divorce update, but I’m not sure that would have changed anything about how I feel today. There are days when I don’t know what to do any minute now but, as always, I find the strength to do it. The process may have been “modernized”, but the enormity of the law remains as difficult to navigate as ever.
I texted a friend on Tuesday night: “I lost my fight. “No, no, you didn’t. One step at a time,” his answer blinked. One step at a time, there is a whole life to rebuild and savor. His fault, his fault, nobody’s fault – does it really matter? Sometimes it does, but that’s over now. It’s time to move forward, one step at a time with latex waders. Easy, tiger.