How did you commemorate the day your divorce was final? How did u feel?
August 1, 2013 6:05 PM   Subscribe

My divorce will most likely be finalized next week on Tuesday August 6. What did you do to commemorate (or celebrate) the day you found out your divorce was final? I didn't want the divorce so I won't be celebrating, but I would like to do something special to commemorate the day. I have mostly reached a place of acceptance with the situation, but I definitely still have periods of grieving. I want happy or sad stories. Give me all you got! :-)
posted by speedoavenger to Human Relations (29 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Make a list of ten things you'd like to do. You don't have to start doing them, just make the list as a way to get yourself thinking positively about your future and how you'd like this new chapter in your life to go. Pin the list up somewhere where you can see it and read it over every day, and start doing the first item whenever you're ready.
posted by orange swan at 6:19 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

When I got the news that the final decree had been issued, I was visiting a friend who had just gotten a new smartphone and was by TOTAL coincidence filming me (to test its camera), so there is a semi-shaky thirty-second movie of me pogo-ing around the living room and shrieking and pumping my fists. I am SO glad it exists.

You could also destroy your wedding ring in some interesting way - I was planning on tossing mine into the LaBrea tar pits, but that didn't work out.

My boyfriend and I have commemorated many a half-shitty/half-good milestone by having a few drinks at a strip club (as they are ALSO very, very ambiguously-good places). "Lawsuit got dismissed? Strip club!" "Cancer in remission? Strip club!" "Ex-wife in a temporary coma? BOOB TIME!"
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:21 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

I bought a beautiful ring that cost me approximately the same amount that I was paying per month to keep that ne'er do well on my health insurance. I thought at the time that I would only wear it occasionally, but I have worn it almost every day since then, more than 18 years ago.
posted by janey47 at 6:22 PM on August 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

I missed the legal day because I was moving into my new apartment (though I actually think that may have been the best celebration), but I took myself out for champagne at nice-ish bar the day I signed all the paperwork. (And I took a picture of my drink and sent it out over Facebook, so I had "Congrats!" messages coming in all evening, which was nice.)
posted by jaguar at 6:44 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I (as a lawyer) helped a friend get divorced. We went to court to get it finalized and on the way out of court, my friend broke down in tears and I held her close to console her. I was momentarily flummoxed. When I got divorced from my abusive ex, I kept thinking the judge was lucky I wasn't doing cartwheels in the courtroom--seriously.

I quickly realized how lucky my friend was that she had something special worth mourning and grieving for -- I recommend her way of handling over mine.
posted by murrey at 7:02 PM on August 1, 2013 [14 favorites]

I plan on going skydiving.

(Guys, the OP said they didn't want this, so maybe save the DTMFA shit for another thread?)
posted by entropicamericana at 7:53 PM on August 1, 2013

#1: Went for a long bike ride and ended up spontaneously tossing my ring into the Potomac.

#2: Hung out with my daughter (from #1). I waited a day to announce it on facebook; I hadn't talked about it much with anyone outside the family, so a lot of folks were surprised. Just the facts, no celebration or bitterness or anything, but I wanted everyone to know.

#2 was 2 weeks ago, BTW. Goddamnit I hope there's not a #3.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:02 PM on August 1, 2013

I didn't want the divorce so I won't be celebrating

I didn't want one either, but I had a small party anyway. I figured spending the evening with a few friends was better than spending it alone and brooding, which I would have done otherwise. Someone even baked a bittersweet chocolate cake.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:27 PM on August 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

On the day of my first divorce, I loaded up a big, fast BMW motorcycle with a week's worth of clothes and raingear, and headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway. On the day I got word my second divorce was final, I went off for a previously planned 6 week business trip to Poland, and then East Germany and Moscow. When my third divorce came through, I put a helluva dent in a bottle of 18 year old McClelland Scotch, in honor of being able to drink at home again, without a live-in drunk mucking it up. And when the gavel came down on my 4th divorce, my lawyer took me out for dinner, and paid for it, on condition I promised him that I'd never marry again, and that if ever I did, I'd owe him the cost of the dinner and back interest, too. To which I solemnly gave my oath, and haven't even thought of breaking it, since.

I recommend the last method of marking the occasion, whether your lawyer pays or not.
posted by paulsc at 8:35 PM on August 1, 2013 [9 favorites]

Response by poster:
I plan on going skydiving.

(Guys, the OP said they didn't want this, so maybe save the DTMFA shit for another thread?)
posted by entropicamericana at 8:53 PM on August 1 [mark as best answer] [+] [!]

I'm ok with the DTMFA opinions. To each their own. :-)
posted by speedoavenger at 8:50 PM on August 1, 2013

My ex and I went out for a very nice dinner, with an excellent bottle of wine I still remember, several years later.

It was a little awkward when we ran into someone he'd known as a kid--whom I'd never met--who expressed his delight on finally meeting the wife. Um... Other than that, it was a lovely evening.

I suspect this is not typical, or even feasible for many people, but it worked for us.
posted by Superplin at 11:27 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

The day my divorce was finalized, I went back to the jeweler where my ring was purchased and traded it in for earrings. I enjoyed the symbolism of letting go and improving my life, and later on they were a really nice gift for my daughter.

In my case, I wanted the divorce but I hope you find something similar that helps you feel more positive about moving on. Good luck.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:56 PM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could also destroy your wedding ring in some interesting way - I was planning on tossing mine into the LaBrea tar pits, but that didn't work out.

I always wanted to do the thing from "Gone for Good" by The Shins, "Leave the ring on the rails for the wheels to nullify." I chickened out, but it's still an idea I'd love to see someone do. I like it because it would, indeed, kinda nullify the ring, but you could still keep it, because, hey... that happened.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:52 AM on August 2, 2013

I saw the failure of my marriage as the worst thing that ever happened in my life. I still feel that way about it, almost sixteen years later. I had no desire whatsoever to commemorate or, god forbid, celebrate it in any way at all. I just remember looking at the decree absolute and grimly thinking, "okay, it's done". I just felt absolutely gutted, and any attempt to make some sort of "event" out of it beyond the brutal thing itself would have made me feel physically ill with how at odds that would have been with my true feelings on the situation.

Hey, you did ask for happy or sad. :-)
posted by Decani at 2:32 AM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I didn't celebrate the day the divorce was final, but I did celebrate a few months earlier on what would have been my 15th anniversary. I had moved from Canada to England and spent 2 days doing things I couldn't do in Canada (ride the tube, go to musicals, see the sights of London). I called the trip The Emancipation of CdnMathTeacher. I posted updates and pictures of the trip on Facebook and had so many positive comments from friends back in Canada (most of them were/are 'our friends). It was a very empowering experience after being in a rather controlling marriage.
posted by CdnMathTeacher at 4:42 AM on August 2, 2013

The day my divorce was finalized, I was in the wilds of Ohio LARPingbeating the crap out of a few hundred of my closest friends.

The actual commemorative thing that I did waited until the next month, on what would have been our 14th wedding anniversary; I went to what is now a very well-known tattoo parlor in Vegas and got a tattoo of Yggdrasil, the World Tree.
posted by hanov3r at 6:47 AM on August 2, 2013

I split a bottle of wine with my ex.

Don't do that.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:06 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I split a bottle of wine with my ex.

Don't do that.

Good advice. Or you might wind up like the couple in Jim Cuddy's song, "Married Again". (That actually happened in real life — Jim Cuddy based the song on an item he read in the newspaper.)
posted by orange swan at 8:09 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I went roller-blading ten kilometres around the river - sprinting it as fast as I could, matching good thoughts with bad thoughts about the marriage as I went along. By the time I had bladed home I was sweaty, exhausted and felt like I had run the whole marriage out.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:27 AM on August 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I went on a girls' weekend around the time one of our group got her final divorce papers. Not so much a "woo-hoo" celebration for that one but a reminder of people you still have in your life.
posted by BibiRose at 8:28 AM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had a drink in a restaurant at the top of a skyscraper, looking out over all my new horizons.
posted by travertina at 9:00 AM on August 2, 2013 [4 favorites]

I thought that I would be sad that day. Really, I did.

And then I looked at the paperwork and discovered that the judge had neglected/forgotten/chose not to sign off on the section that would allow me to return to my maiden name.

It took me months of working the system, several cycles of paperwork and some financial investment in order to get my name back - which should have been just a formality. The version of the paperwork I eventually got was sufficiently unorthodox that it has caused me endless hassles when I've had to present it for any reason. (You would think the judge could just revisit the paperwork, check the ticky box and sign, but no!) So it's like the little knife going in over and over, and every time I feel like it's done it's not, quite.

The way I felt on the day my divorce was final? Pure rage at incompetent bureaucracy. And I get to revisit it several times a year! I commemorate it by cursing fluidly at the California court system.
posted by rednikki at 1:10 PM on August 2, 2013

When I got divorced I had been long-distance relationshipping with my as it turned out soon-to-be ex, who left me and took up with an earnest guy who wanted to solve her emotional problems and marry her; I was in grad school in a program I was increasingly dissatisfied with, in a city I didn't like, living in a cheapo sublet. The grad school thing had been a mutual plan that she had enthusiastically supported when I applied to programs.

I probably celebrated the dark December day the divorce was finalized (I didn't go back to the city where my ex had filed the papers I'd signed) by drinking with grad school friends to excess; in general I was drinking too much and too often, to escape the grim bind I'd let myself get into.

I resolved to start saving money so I could move to a town I wanted to live in and get an apartment I actually liked and a job that would let me afford both. At the time those seemed like crazy pie-in-the-sky goals. It took a year and a half but I managed to do it.

This was 20 years ago and FWIW I still live in the cool town I aspired to move to and have a job making more money than I ever imagined I would make when I was a penniless wannabe poet. (I mean, I'm not wealthy, but I at least own a modest home and have some savings; I honestly expected back then -- maybe somewhat melodramatically -- to be impoverished my whole life.)
posted by aught at 2:11 PM on August 2, 2013

It just so happened the day my divorce was finalized was the same day I started a new job. Not such an awesome job, but I was glad to have it, since previously to that day I had been gallivanting around Portland, OR trying on homelessness for size and/or living penniless in my mom's basement in Colorado Springs for 4 months. I walked into that job thinking I would be a no good, crybaby spinster for the rest of my life and everyone would know about it. Despite my bad attitude, it turned out that one of the guys I met that very first day in training developed into a much more suitable long-term partner for me. I lost weight and became much healthier in many ways, even though I'm a very cynical person who doesn't really believe in that sort of thing on the whole. Now I'm getting married again and having a baby (despite having been told I was infertile), and I hardly ever think of the man I once believed was the epicenter of my existence. Things can change.
posted by dissolvedgirl22 at 2:22 PM on August 2, 2013

Good advice. Or you might wind up like the couple in Jim Cuddy's song

You are psychic, orange swan.

The sad story is that trying to remain just friends is really tough if there was any real sexual attraction. My divorce was 11 years ago and now I'm winding up a very expensive custody fight for my 7 year old boy.

I can't bring myself to click on all the recent articles titled something like "Benefits of Sex with Ex," but I say unto you, Speedoavenger, STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM HER!!!

Put the wedding pictures on skeet targets or put them on the fire in a sweat lodge. Be done at the end of your rite.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 3:06 PM on August 2, 2013

I'm a little late to the party, but here goes: the week after my divorce was finalized, I borrowed a tent from a housemate and camped alone for the first time. I camped in a place I'd never been before, too. The goal was to start building not just new memories, but a new identity, one that was, finally, separate from that of the ex. To me, that was especially important because I married at a young age, before I'd had a chance to develop a full adult identity. To this day, though, I consider the strategy of rebuilding my sense of self by doing new things, no matter how small, to be a way to regroup and rebuild after a breakup or other loss.
posted by chicainthecity at 11:00 PM on August 2, 2013

When my BFF got divorced, she summoned me and her other BFF to her house and we had a girly weekend of lots of stand-up comedy, goofy antique shopping, and eating. The most divorce symbolic thing we did was to help her rearrange her bedroom furniture and plan out how she can redecorate her new single lady boudoir.
posted by Aquifer at 11:57 AM on August 4, 2013

Just out of luck, I had concert tickets that night with friends.

The morning was incredibly rainy - must have gotten 3" of rain that day which is rare in DFW - and I got poured on both going into and out of the court house, waiting for parking attendant, etc. It was very memorable.

I went to work after the finalization and worked the rest of my shift, and then saw Metallica over in Dallas that night. For me, it was a positive and a new start. (I also bought myself diamond earrings.)
posted by getawaysticks at 6:44 AM on August 5, 2013

I didn't want my divorce either.

Know what I did?

I signed the papers at the courthouse and went right back to work.
posted by PsuDab93 at 7:10 AM on August 5, 2013

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