Monday, January 14, 2008

The Gay Divorcee

Being a gay divorcee is not much fun.

Nothing like what you see in the movies.

The reality is it’s hard on you; it’s hard on everyone around you. If you’ve had the fortune of being married a long time? It just makes it harder.

I spent yesterday listening to a couple who are divorcing explain they did not understand why they were being asked to stop coming together to gatherings.

They have been coming, with their children to a group of lesbian moms for 13 years. We’ve shared the anxiety of pregnancy, the joy of birth, endless sleepless nights. Diapers, teething, potty training- some of us more than others. Some couples stopped at one, some went on to have three (no, I am not the only fool).

We’re family.

A dysfunctional family, in many ways, although we are trying so hard not to be.

They don’t understand why we want them to come separately. I don’t understand why they would want to come together.

Isn’t divorce about creating separate lives?

Everyone wants to be supportive. They feel singled out. The reality is, they are getting divorced and that is different from anyone else’s experience.

Where do you draw the line? When do you say, hey, I love you, but sitting here while you spit nails at each other really sucks?

Nothing about being divorced is fun. And gay people don’t do it any better than anyone else. Sometimes I think, we try so hard to push boundaries and lines, we do it a whole lot worse.

I sat with my friend last Friday and she told me that 60 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Twenty percent of the remaining people married are only married because they don’t want to be divorced.

So a mere twenty percent of all married people are happy. Great.

I wonder how much of the struggle, when a social group is faced with a divorce, is about our own discomfort around our own marriages.

I’m not sure but I know the image of the happy divorcee is only in Hollywood.

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Blogger titration said...

Is the 60& rate for lesbians? I'm confused. The hetro rate seems to move between 40-50%

"the Census Bureau's often-cited "50%" rate, the proportion of marriages taking place right now that will eventually divorce, which has since been revised downward to roughly 43% by the National Center for Health Statistics but was moved back up to around 50% by the Census Bureau in 2002, with even more ifs ands and buts than usual. Most recently, according to the New York Times, it has been revised downward to just over 40%.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I was told it was hetero rate.


8:52 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Yeah. Well. How many single people are happy? We have the right to pursue happiness, but no one guarantees the achievement of it.
Divorce IS hard and just like marriage- everyone has to do it differently.
Be patient with your friends. They are trying to work out how they need to do this for their kids and for themselves.
My divorce was one of the most painful experiences of my life and not pleasant for many, many years. But, because he and I always tried very hard to put the kids first, our relationship has mellowed and become a real friendship in and of itself. His wife and he are always invited to our family gatherings and vice versa. There is something very beautiful about that and it gives my heart a lot of peace.
But my Lord! It took years of struggle.
The nails will soften over time.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

i don't know the whole story, but i don't get it. from what you say, i guess you think thomas and i shouldn't come to the party together on saturday? yes, divorce sucks, but it doesn't need to be nasty. you can be supportive of each other. just maybe, their being around together could show the other mom's that!! now, before you say we were never married, remember we can't get married here in maine. we were "married" for 18 years! when your group started, none of you were married, in the state sense. if you enforce your divorce rule, your group could grow very small over the years, and wouldn't that be a shame!

4:50 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

donald, ms. moon, these are the things I need to hear.

I thought, for the bitter angry period, it would be easier for all of us to see them one at a time, so we could be supportive.

but... maybe I'm wrong.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous donald said...

that is what i didn't understand from your post. by all means, if they are bitter and angry and making everyone uncomfortable, cut them out until they can be civil! thomas and i take great pride in the fact that our mutual friends do not have to choose which of us to invite to an event, and that they don't have to invite us both if they don't want. although, having you and your friends see the product of a divorce, it may go a long way in making you all think about the consequences of a divorce on yourselves, your family and your friends. good life lessons!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

I just want to add this:
Yesterday, as my friend lay in her bed in the nursing home, "actively dying" as they say, I called my ex because he was a good friend of hers, too. He came down right away, took off work and just came right down there. He's a musician and she's always loved his music. The hospice musician was there and when I asked Jerry if he'd like to play Lynn a song, she offered her guitar. He took it hesitantly, because he was struggling to even talk but he played her two songs- Here Comes The Sun, and Mr. Tambourine Man, and even though his voice choked and tears were streaming down his face, he did it.
I cried and sang along with him, my hand on Lynn's arm. When he was done, we held each other and broke down a little.
Okay. A lot.
Every struggle we went through after our divorce was worth that moment.
I don't care what breaks a couple up, there are shared experiences that bind you forever. If you let them go, if you pretend they never happened, your life is so much poorer.
Who can afford that?
Be there for your friends.

3:36 PM  

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