Why Is Bringing Up Divorce Considered to Be Awkward?
The headline on my news feed grabbed my attention.
Kelly Ripa Wraps Up First Week Back to ‘Live!’ With Awkward Divorce Comment to Michael Strahan
The names didn’t garner my notice – I haven’t seen Kelly Ripa since she was a newbie next to Regis and I had never even heard Michael Strahan’s name at that point.
What drew my eye was “awkward divorce.” And so I clicked.
And grew confused. I have not seen the clip, but from what I have read, the comment didn’t seem to merit the backlash it has been getting. The, “How dare she bring up his divorces?” As though the mere mention of divorce is taboo.
Fueling the stigma and feeding the shame surrounding divorce.
Maybe I’m just desensitized from years of teaching middle schoolers who randomly shout out things like, “How old were you when you first kissed a boy?” in the middle of a lesson on factoring polynomials, but it takes a lot to offend or surprise me.
Certainly more than referencing divorce.
Especially when it’s part of a question with the intent to learn (which it seems was Kelly Ripa’s goal as they were discussing bird’s nest coparenting).
Divorce is “the thing that shall not be named” in our current culture, as though the utterance of those two syllables will bring it to your doorstep.
It’s time for divorce to come out from the shadows. For those impacted to be able to speak without fear of judgment. For those with questions to feel free to ask them. And if they go unanswered, it is because of personal choice rather than from societal pressure to remain mute.
I have been part of more conversations about the intricacies of childbirth around lunch tables than I have about the end of relationships. And yet the experience is just about as universal.
Divorce is most often discussed with other divorcees. Behind closed doors or in members-only groups. But they’re not the only ones who can benefit from that discussion. Because those seeking to prevent it can learn from those who have endured it. By making it taboo, it only increases the mystery, shame and fear surrounding it. Talking about it, rather than increase its likelihood, may actually have the opposite effect as lessons are passed around.
Divorce is hell, but talking about it doesn’t have to be awkward.