What It's Really Like To Have A Divorce Party
I’m getting divorced. I never thought that I’d find myself as a divorcee in my 30s, but here I am. Although the logistics of the divorce will be tricky, since my soon-to-be ex and I have to divorce in both New York and France, it’s coming. I still don’t know how I feel about it, but I thought I might have a celebration instead of moping.
The first (and only) divorce party I ever attended was in Paris. The woman, who was exceedingly happy that she was kicking her husband to the curb for good, threw herself a party with live music in an underground cave in le Marais. I wasn’t even engaged at that point, but I remember thinking how ridiculous it was that she was celebrating the end of her marriage. I had been of the belief that when marriages end, people are supposed to be depressed, hiding out under the covers, crying for months and months. I mean, that’s what I had done when every relationship I had in the past came to an end. But then my husband failed me, refused to get a proper job, cheated on me with a 20-year-old, and suddenly, having a party to celebrate a life free of him made perfect sense.
So on December 6, I threw myself a divorce party, at The Plaza of all places. I chose December 6 because that would have been our two-year wedding anniversary (the legal one we had here in NYC), so it seemed like the best day to celebrate this new chapter in my life. I’d even dare to say that this was probably the best party I’ve ever hosted, and I’ve hosted a lot of parties.
So what’s it like to have a divorce party? Interesting, to say the least.
1. It’s Pretty Emotional
When I walked into my suite, I cried. But they were happy tears. When I walked out onto the terrace that overlooked 58th Street, I cried some more. But again, they were happy tears. When my friends started to arrive, all of them dressed up for the event with gifts (yes, you get gifts when you get divorced!), I thought I was living in a fairytale. The crying stopped.
2. It Strips The Negativity Out Of Divorce
As I said, before I was married, I thought a divorce party was insane. I couldn’t fathom that someone would want to celebrate a loss of love and a failed marriage, but then when it happened to me, and all I could think about was how I could turn it around.
I no longer loved Olivier, my ex. He had failed me in ways that I didn’t even realize were possible, so why shouldn’t I celebrate my life without him? Why shouldn’t I take this horrible thing that happened and make it better? So I did. Divorce doesn’t have to mean you failed.
3. It’s A Great Way To Show Your Friends How Much You Appreciate Them
When it became clear that Olivier and I no longer had a chance in hell, I hung on longer than I should have for two reasons. First of all, I was extremely embarrassed that we couldn’t make a go of it and secondly, I was devastated that I’d have to look my friends in the eyes, the ones who flew all the way to effing Paris for my damn wedding ceremony, and be like, “Oops! Sorry you spent thousands of dollars to come to my wedding!”
Although all my friends have been adamant that they had an amazing time, it is Paris after all, I still feel guilty. I thought in having a divorce party at one of the most iconic hotels in the world and plying them all with champagne, I could somehow make up for it.
4. It Gives You Perspective
As I sat in the living room of the elegant penthouse suite last night, surrounded by my amazing friends, I realized this is the life that I want. Although Olivier and I were madly in love at one point, we came from two totally different worlds. He didn’t appreciate the finer things in life, and, perhaps I’m materialistic, but I do. I want to drink expensive champagne at The Plaza, I want to have people in my life who want to do that with me, and most importantly, I want the people in my life to inspire me while we're drinking our fancy champagne, and that's what my friends do. Also, they’re some of the most fascinating and talented people out there.
5. You Realize You’re Writing Your Own Ending
I am the writer of my life story. I do not consider myself a victim in any way. If I wanted to be the victim, I easily could. Considering what Olivier has done, I could so easily drop to the ground and lay there for months, crying in complete and total devastation and embarrassment, but I’m not going to do that.
Instead, I’ve taken control of my own life and written the ending to this chapter how I want to end it. And, true to form, I did it just as dramatic and over-the-top as I do most things. This may end up being the most expensive breakup of my life, but it's worth every cent.
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Images: Amanda Chatel; Giphy(5)