Now hear me out. I know that divorce is a wrenching experience. But divorce is also the seventh anniversary of your wedding day after the ink dries on your papers. It’s the first awkward date when you’re trying to get back into the game. Divorce is not only the explosive fights and protracted custody battles. Eventually, the pain will fade, and you’ll still be divorced. That’s when the perks of ending a marriage really kick in, and they’re actually a pretty great set of benefits!
1) Less parenting, same credit- If you have children with your former spouse, it may seem like the hassle of shuttling kids between homes is a burden you have to bear. Yet the clearest benefit of divorce has to do with children: you have potentially doubled the number of people who will take care of your kid.
When you and your ex move on to new relationships, there are now FOUR incomes to care for the kids. Children are expensive, and splitting the cost of a bike four ways is better savings than any sale could ever offer. Paying for college will be a lot less stressful since at least one of you will have the credit score to cosign on those loans.
Your new partner, or your ex’s, can also cover the weaknesses you have. Suck at math? Pass it off to the step-dad! Need to explain the birds and the bees? Time for your new girlfriend to earn her parenting stripes. You get to remain Mom or Dad, and force your former spouse’s new partner to do the same work without the title!
2) A good reference- Do you cook well? Are you a fastidious homeowner? Are you good in bed? Are you handy with tools? It can be difficult to advertise these skills to a potential partner without sounding like you’re bragging or conceited. That’s when you can call your ex for a personal testimonial. Sure, you may have been emotionally unresponsive or a serial cheater, but they’ll confirm that you actually do make the best sweet potato pie they’ve ever had.
3) Pathos on Demand™- Imagine a person sitting at the end of a bar. Their hair is slightly disheveled; their clothes are stylish, but not pressed. The person has a hollow look in their eyes as they stare through the amber-hued liquor in their glass, trying to find meaning at the bottom. The rest of the patrons are intrigued by this mysterious stranger, but too intimidated by their detached aloofness to approach them. Glances dart in your direction the entire night. Everyone wants to know the pain those eyes have seen.
My divorced friend, you are now that mysterious, interesting stranger. And you can be that person whenever you want.
Everyone else’s trauma requires too much setup or gets way too dark. You’re in the perfect position for interested sympathy that doesn’t become pity. All you have to do is find the right time to drop your emotional bomb. For example:
Party Goer A: “Hey, isn’t this party great?”
Party Goer B: “Yeah, I love music from the 80’s!”
You- *Looks up, shooting a steely gaze off into the distance. Speaks in a low, gravelly voice*
“…so did my ex-wife.”
BOOM. You’re now the center of attention as you recount your star-crossed love. Trust me, it works every time.
So to my fellow divorcees, always remember that you have a bunch of privileges that regular single people can only dream of. And to my married friends, you’re already halfway there, so start planning for the divorce of your dreams now!