Five Hilarious Divorce Myths

25 July 2019

In the two years since I have been divorced, I have experienced a multitude of opinions (some I didn’t ask for) and reactions. Most of them have been fairly caring, but with a hint of not really understanding what I had gone through (and the side-effects I still face). I will be the first to admit that prior to going through divorce I was much the same. Like… oh shame poor you, how terrible. Yes, I thought I was supportive, but had zero understanding of what friends were actually going through. 

Onto my own humorous encounters of dreaded divorce. I’ll have you know that one even took place on a first date. Awkward! 

"Let’s call it “Tales of Divorce” or “Divorce Woes” or what do you think my imaginary novel should be called?"

It goes without saying that I don’t want to be writing about divorce until the end of time (it gets old fast), but this specific blog post has been floating around in my mind for far too long. As I have mentioned online numerous times divorce absolutely sucks! Ineloquent, but it’s fitting. Looking back, it is the WORST thing I have ever gone through, but as Oscar Wilde penned “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. 

Regardless this is a humorous post to dispel some of these myths and the drama that is attached to the D word. Yes, it can indeed be a very humorous subject. For example, the day I went to court my dear Mamma who accompanied me to this awful venue… high fived me upon the whole thing being over. Let’s just say there was a confused court clerk that was very displeased with our reckless behaviour. Whatever dude!

Additionally, I had a Divorce Party with my best friends where I received gifts and real deal Champagne (French… oooh la la). It was fun and a welcome end to the extensive pain and suffering I had encountered through the process. Sensitive readers don’t think I take it lightly! My oh my how I suffered, but it happened and life goes on. As my Pappa said to me at the time “no one reads yesterday’s newspaper” so get busy living. 

These are five of the “myths” I have heard most often and they now make me laugh due to them being a load of nonsense (in my case at least). Understand that in some cases they are not... so no knickers in a knot please. Severity is understood, lived through and felt in each fibre of my existence.

Myth Number One - Divorce is Hereditary: 
This one is my favourite! I was on a first date with a fairly nice guy, having a good time. His friends joined us (they were newly married). They asked me why a girl like me was still single? A compliment at first, but not for long. I decided early on to be honest about my journey and answered that I was divorced. Well, that put them into defence mode (initiate lecture stance). I got lectured on a Friday night (well past midnight) that they didn’t believe in divorce and that it didn’t run in their family. This preaching went on long after I had finished a glass of wine. I simply informed them that neither my parents or that of my ex-husband’s were in fact divorced nor had any close family members gotten divorced. Just to let you know it doesn’t run in your family. Please stop thinking that and please stop lecturing poor unsuspecting victims trying to enjoy a first date (while trying to pretend they are Carrie Bradshaw in Durban).

Myth Number Two - Divorce is Contagious: 
Cough, cough… cough! I am infecting you with my divorce disease. Insert eye-roll. Contrary to popular belief I can reassure you that I can’t infect you. I had several people step away from me during this time, as in they didn’t want to see me anymore. That’s totally okay and I understand that it can be a scary thing, but you won’t catch it. In fact, anyone who did speak to me about their marital problems were seeking insight and I encouraged them to get professional help and to try save their marriage. Take a Panado and get over it.

Myth Number Three - Divorce is like a Death: 
You see in most cases when people die, they don’t choose to leave this earth. Whereas when someone leaves you… they keep on living and actively make a choice to walk away, very much alive. The pain of the loss can most certainly be described as grief. Deep, painful, bone aching grief. It comes down to them actively abandoning you by choice. They have not been struck down by illness, or taken too soon. They just gave up. No funeral, just an unceremonious separation. 

Myth Number Four: Divorce is Expensive:
Personally, my divorce only cost R900 (at the time - give or take a few rands). I got legal assistance via EasyDivorces (who knew) and they were an amazing help. What I can’t put a price on is the six months of paperwork, visits to the magistrate’s office, court and the agonising time spent on ticking off an admin list that felt insurmountable at the time. The expensive and excessively distressing time is what followed. I have always been independent and we split our household bills 50 /50 until he buggered off and left me with all the bills of the life we had built together. Rent and let’s not forget to mention I had just signed a lease on a new office (yikes) which I could afford as a married woman, but being left with the internet bill, insurance, errrrry damn thang etc etc etc… suddenly meant that there wasn’t a spare penny in sight. The monetary cost of divorce was low, the emotional cost was through the roof. This analogy does not apply to couples who have children or who have an anti-nuptial contract that isn’t in their best interest. Luckily my best friend set mine up and made sure it was air-tight. Not that I had millions for anyone to steal or run off with. Shoes… though I had a lot of those, but he wasn’t interested (luckily).

Oh, and let me tell you that some of my service providers updated my details and my premiums went up because I was divorced. I fought this as I felt it was a form of discrimination. I can assure you I am far less of a financial risk on my own than I was anchored to another person. 

Myth Number Five - Divorce is Quick:
I was fortunate to manage it in six months, but I have heard horror stories of people extorting money from their former spouses and dragging them to court as often as possible. It takes minutes to make those noble and important promises before God and months if not years to undo it legally, even if your heart has let go. Don’t even get me started on changing my surname. There was absolutely no way I was holding onto the surname of a person who had rejected me. Au revoir. However, I am still trying to get every element of my admin life back to being Jonker! Home Affairs is no help either. Keep your divorce decree in your handbag guuuurl!

Additionally, when I hear flippant comments like “if it doesn’t work out, we’ll just get divorced”, I want to remind all Bridezillas that your wedding day vows are fast, but your uncoupling is arduous. Don’t take on this mindset when walking down the aisle. Strive for a healthy, strong relationship with a person who is as right as possible for creating a sustainable and intentional life alongside. There is no knowing what the future will hold and I didn’t think my future would include divorce, but hey you win some, you lose some.

"Two years of being divorced and two and a half years of being without "that guy" and life is great! People still treat me differently and ask weird questions, but I feel well-equipped to answer them. Treat divorced people nicely and leave them in peace. They’re regular humans who just had to reroute their journey."