Health

Millennials Are Fighting Divorce Stigma Through This New Trend

June 2nd 2017

By:
Almie Rose

Divorce rates are—believe it or not—at a "nearly 40 year low," TIME magazine reported in 2016. But if you're active on social media, it may not seem like it. You may be seeing a flood of Facebook posts from couples announcing their divorces. Or you may have seen a #DivorceSelfie on Instagram.

#DivorceSelfie

Couples who are—to quote Gwyneth Palrow—"consciously uncoupling" are posting selfies post-divorce with their papers. Why?

We asked Marie Frenette in the above photo why she and her ex-husband did it.

"We saw an article on BuzzFeed about the divorce selfie," she explained, "and thought, 'wow, what a positive and empowering way to deal with it. Not hiding, not feeling shame.'"

[The Divorce Selfie is] Kind of honoring what was. And moving forward.Frenette isn't alone—there are over 500 posts on Instagram tagged with "#DivorceSelfie."

Guy Johnson, in the above photo, also explained why he went for a #DivorceSelfie.

"Tracey and I got divorced because about 10 years into our relationship she realized she is gay," he told us. "It came as a shock to both of us, obviously. Since then, we've gone through this process together. So, when it came time to go to the courthouse, we went together like everything else we do."

I wanted to take a picture to celebrate the day and the official beginning of our next steps. I hadn’t mentioned it to her yet, but she said, 'hey let’s take a selfie.' We found a good spot and took one."I posted it and tagged it because I’m a pretty open book and I wanted people to know that for us it was a happy occasion that we did out of love," he told ATTN:. "Tracey has gone from my life partner to a (hopefully) life long friend and confidant. I’m her lezbro for life. Just because we can no longer be married doesn’t mean we can’t still love and support each other and our kids from our separate households."

The American Psychological Association (APA) backs up Johnson's line of thinking. "Kids do better when they maintain close contact with both parents," they report. "Research suggests that kids who have a poor relationship with one or both parents may have a harder time dealing with family upheaval."

How can a couple ensure a healthy divorce? The APA offers some advice.

"Try not to think of the breakup as a battle," they suggest. "Divorce mediation is often a good alternative to courtroom proceedings." They also suggest therapy for each party, along with a support network and a healthy dose of self-care.

But ultimately, "cooperation and communication make divorce healthier for everyone involved." That context brings a new light to divorce selfies. To have a literal image of a smiling couple acknowledging that their relationship together didn't work as a marriage could be one way to show cooperation and communication—which contributes to better mental health overall.

It might seem like a "millennial" response to take a divorce selfie, but some see it as a healthy way to cope and move on.

"If you could look at my Facebook page, you would see a clear demarcation in the generations," Johnson told us. "Everyone around mine and Tracey’s age is posting positive, supportive messages along the lines of, 'You guys are a shining example of how to do divorce right.' Whereas, the older generation is all about 'thoughts, prayers and support in this difficult time.'"

"I think millennials are recognizing divorce for what it actually is," Johnson continued. "It’s an end to a legal contract that surrounds a romantic relationship. People no longer feel like if they get divorced their life is a failure."

[H/T BuzzFeed]