Young and Di­vorced

You know the story: boy meets girl. They fall in love, get mar­ried, and live happily ever af­ter. But what hap­pens when the fairy tale ends... in di­vorce?

Cosmopolitan (India) - - CONTENTS - By Laura Ba­gin­ski

What hap­pens when the fairy­tale ends...We’ve got you cov­ered.

"Even on my hon­ey­moon, i knew"

This mar­riage wasn’t right. As much as I tried to drown my doubts in trop­i­cal drinks, my feel­ings surged even stronger when we re­turned and had to face ev­ery­day life to­gether. Even­tu­ally, I couldn’t ig­nore the truth: I didn’t love my hus­band. So I filed for di­vorce. I was 31, and we’d only been mar­ried for a year and a half!

With so many celeb mar­riages end­ing—Katy Perry and Rus­sell Brand or Scar­lett Jo­hans­son and Ryan Reynolds—you’d think we’d be more ac­cept­ing of di­vorce. But when it hap­pens to you, you’re mor­ti­fied, broke af­ter lawyer fees (on top of wed­ding costs!) and worse, since you prob­a­bly don’t know any di­vorced friends, you feel in­cred­i­bly alone.

Un­der Pres­sure

So why do women end up be­com­ing di­vor­cées at such a young age? One ma­jor fac­tor: peer pres­sure. When all your friends are ob­sess­ing about their fairy-tale en­gage­ments, it’s tempt­ing to want that for your­self. “Many women feel pan­icked if they’re not do­ing what oth­ers are—plan­ning a wed­ding,” says Carin Gold­stein, a ther­a­pist in LA That’s what

hap­pened to Kay Mof­fett, Ph.D., who got mar­ried at 27 and di­vorced at 31—and later co-au­thored a book about the ex­pe­ri­ence, Not Your Mother’s Di­vorce. When Mof­fett’s ex-hus­band’s best friend got en­gaged, she re­mem­bers think­ing, ‘We should do it, too’. “I forced it when we re­ally weren’t ready,” she says. “I think as women watch their friends tie the knot, they be­gin to feel like they should also be tak­ing that next step, even if they haven’t se­ri­ously as­sessed whether their cur­rent boyfriend is right for the long-term.” Plain old naïveté can also play a part. Tasha Ka­pur, 23, who was mar­ried at 18 and di­vorced re­cently, has spent a lot of time think­ing about why she got mar­ried in the first place. “‘Young and dumb’ is the most ac­cu­rate ex­pla­na­tion I’ve come up with,” she says. “We were in love, but we had no idea what we were do­ing.”

An­other mo­ti­va­tor is the idea that mar­riage is proof that some­thing good is hap­pen­ing in your life. “There’s this need to feel set­tled, es­pe­cially in your 20s, when you don’t know where your life is go­ing to take you,” says Sascha Rothchild, 36, author of How To Get Di­vorced By 30. “If you can get mar­ried and feel set­tled, there’s this sense that your life is mov­ing in a good di­rec­tion.”

Young or Old, It Sucks!

Your ther­a­pist will tell you that it’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand the rea­sons that your mar­riage failed, but when you’re spend­ing Fri­day nights at home crying, all the ther­apy in the world can’t change the fact that di­vorce sucks. “I felt like an id­iot...,” says Laura Verkin, 25, who cre­ated the blog Ring Fin­ger Tan Line about her di­vorce. When she and her hus­band called it quits af­ter six months of mar­riage, “we had just posted pic­tures [on Face­book]. My wed­ding was a spread in a mag­a­zine. I couldn’t be­lieve it was over, and I was so em­bar­rassed about it.” So­cial me­dia can be tough—should you de-friend your sis­ter-in-law?

What about those Tweets from your hon­ey­moon? “With so­cial me­dia, it can be­come like high-school gossip times 10,” says Verkin. “I was so ter­ri­fied to change my re­la­tion­ship sta­tus on FB, I deleted my ac­count.”

There are no rules here. For starters, you may want to delete pic­tures and posts from your past that no longer re­flect your life. “But you don’t not have to delete your ac­count,” says Gold­stein. “Only change your FB sta­tus when you’re ready.”

When go­ing through some­thing as heavy as di­vorce, you need a sup­port net­work of friends who can dry your tears and take your mind off stuff. But, as Verkin found, few women are equipped to help a di­vorced friend. “Most of my friends had never known some­one who was di­vorced,” Verkin says. “Peo­ple be­gan treat­ing me like a new­born who they couldn’t get near or touch—they were afraid I’d break. It changed my re­la­tion­ship with a lot of peo­ple be­cause they didn’t know how to deal with me.”

On top of all the grief, em­bar­rass­ment, and iso­la­tion you feel, there are also the aw­ful prac­ti­cal­i­ties of di­vorce that make it dif­fer­ent than just a break-up: divvy­ing up pos­ses­sions, de­cid­ing who gets the dog, the heart­break of stand­ing to­gether in front of a judge ex­plain­ing why your mar­riage failed, in­tim­i­dat­ing court doc­u­ments, and some­times, most shock­ing of all, how much it can all cost. Lawyers can cost lakhs, plus you have to pay court costs, which can all add up.

Get­ting Back to Okay

Start by as­sess­ing what went wrong—and yes, the part you played too. “It’s im­por­tant to ques­tion how it went wrong,” Rothchild says. “Once you have per­spec­tive, you can de­cide how not to go down the same path.”

Okay, so you’ve done all that, and now you’ve met this great guy. When do you tell him about your past? There’s no rule, but wait un­til you feel a strong con­nec­tion. And re­sist the temp­ta­tion to talk about your ex a lot—it’s not a great way to get to know some­one, Mof­fett says.

But some­times, you just need to fol­low your in­stincts, no mat­ter what the ex­perts say. I told my fu­ture hus­band about my di­vorced sta­tus on our sec­ond date—awk­wardly, while stand­ing in a street. I was ter­ri­fied he’d think I was dam­aged goods, but he just smiled and said my first mar­riage didn’t mat­ter to him at all. Then the light turned green, he took my hand, and we crossed the street.”


One ad­van­tage to di­vorc­ing in your 20s and early 30s is the abil­ity to re-en­ter the dat­ing scene while you’re still young. Just don’t jump into any­thing too quickly, says Mof­fett. “Lots of women get into re­la­tion­ships right af­ter a di­vorce, be­fore they’ve pro­cessed what hap­pened, and it com­pro­mises that re­la­tion­ship,” Mof­fett says. Hold off for at least six months be­fore en­ter­ing into any­thing ex­clu­sive, she sug­gests.

‘ Damn! He’d got the piece with more marzi­pan!’

Cut­ting the cake is fun. Split­ting up stuff? Not so much

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