It is a Different Day for Women Getting Divorced

by Liza Caldwell

Many women are beyond blessed to live in countries where it is easier to divorce than it is elsewhere.

We can navigate the divorce landscape, the legal ramifications, the loss of status, somehow, nonetheless. But the legal rights and freedom of women, of course, vary widely across the globe. And yet, we know women from across the globe are returning to our educational hub SAS for Women, because our website is a portal. Despite cultural differences, diverse locations, or disparate legal systems, our readers come here honoring their internal worlds and taking comfort in feeling less alone as they contemplate an even bigger decision than their marriage.

Behind the marital doors, beyond the silence or the noise, the internet has lessened our isolation and we’re seeing we are not alone, we women. We are seeing each other. And we’re agreeing we will not be spoon-fed the formula for who we are supposed to be, how we will break up if it comes to that, nor the nature of how we will divorce. We will not cede our most vital power to somebody else again.

It is easier to discuss divorce and divorce than ever before

Though, let’s be honest. The record was not hard to improve upon. Not long ago a woman wanting a divorce would simply not have the “luxury” of the choice — legally, financially or culturally. And, if we’re being franker, there still exists places like this in the world, including our own backyard, where a woman’s only choice is to endure, to live as best she can with her circumstances.

News Flash > Recently, in conservative countries across West Africa, more women are seeking divorce in Islamic courts.

This was followed by a more “evolved” divorce, the kind that’s legally permitted but still considers divorced women as second-class citizens since they no longer are outright possessions. Then came when divorce was still so taboo that one didn’t know what to do when it happened but to crawl into a divorce attorney’s office and fall apart, spilling messy feelings and complicated stories out onto the floor. For so many, this only perpetuated the status quo: a patriarchal system where the lawyer, the New “Daddy,” tells Little Miss Teary Eyes what to do.

In this paradigm, there is no growth only shrinking and apologizing until a woman decides she is worth something.

“Stop saying ‘I’m sorry!” my friend Susan used to say.

She was divorced, older, wiser and

definitely speaking to me.

She used to say such things regularly.

And in response, I usually said, “Sorry.”

Looking back, I think what a simpering voice that woman had, that me! A woman who was in her first chapter of grownup, married with children, running a household, doing what she thought she was supposed to be doing; among them, punctuating various moments with “Sorry.” Saying sorry would do so many things she believed, but most of all erase the unsettling circumstances around her if she took the hit and absorbed the tension. She so wanted things to be all right, for things to be stabilized. You good? Me good.

I have so much compassion for that girl now, that girl who grew into the apologizing woman. I see her clearly from a hard-won distance. I live a completely different existence now.

Just as I could not, you have no idea what gifts await you behind your post-divorce curtains.

This film is for you.

As an early adopter of this model, women supporting women through divorce, we feel the heat turning up as we experience the explosions of women coming together — rallying, protesting, marching; and women individually stepping over shame, as embodied by the #MeToo movement, and telling their personal stories, testifying.

In support of the Unapologetic Woman, just know, she’s here with you. We have tens of thousands of women, like you, exploring their questions of self-worth within our sacred sisterhood. This week alone we had readers from Iraq, Brunei, Kinshasa, Congo, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. On the phone we spoke to women in India and Pakistan in addition to Mexico City, Barcelona, Yakima, Washington, Minneapolis, Provo, Utah and New York City. We spoke to Muslims, Orthodox Jews, atheists, Mormons, rationalists, and Christians from the Bible Belt. All are turning to other women for support.

Women gather to learn and to heal. In community

Women are doing what we do naturally, but we are doing it now as a force majeure. We are stepping out from our personal and professional lives, exploring life beyond the shame and stigma of a marriage that did not last forever. We are guiding and bringing each other up — building support systems, becoming coaches, growing into fearless advocators, and claiming our rightful roles as wise and unparalleled leaders. Women are helping other women find their power as they begin to explore partnering themselves.

“A woman’s power is so sacred, it can’t be fought for. It can only be uncovered.”

~ Cherokee/Tsalagi Wise Woman Dhyani Ywahoo

Divorce is valid. Whether it was thrown at us or we were the initiator, divorce can be the catalyst and the means for expansion as we become more empowered and more willing to risk our one precious life. Divorce can be about women wanting something different for their children. And women wanting something different for ourselves.

* Liza would like to thank Wishing Well Entertainment, the production and camera crew, the composer and sound editors, and the vision of the director — for the remarkable experience of being featured in Divorce and Women: One Woman’s Journey. 

Continue your journey…