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Divorce is a difficult phase to go through, especially in India. Here’s how a divorce support group helped me to navigate through my separation.
A deep and strong bond is established when we connect with people undergoing the same struggles and heartbreaking pain we have gone through in the course of a breakup.
It was another agonizing day in court. Lawyers arguing, women screaming, guys acting clueless, and the usual drama, which takes place in court halls. I am just waiting to go back to my haven, my home and cuddle up to my baby. I do go home after a long day, put my child to sleep and cry it out for some time. It was a frustrating day and my energy was as drained as it could be.
I log on to Facebook, to distract myself from the unpleasant happenings of the day, so that I do not need to dwell on my current frustrations.
A post catches my attention, a blog post in a Facebook group about how emotionally draining a court experience is and how it is helpful to have a family member or friend when you go to the court. I go through the article and find it completely resonating with my experience.
On further investigation, I discovered that it was a community for single parents, divorcees and separated members. After impulsively placing a request to join the group, I wondered about how safe it is to join a public group on a social networking site. On going through the settings, I found it to be a closed group; hence other people outside the group wouldn’t be able to see what you post, other than the general blog posts which remained public. I breathed a sigh of relief. Upon further browsing, I saw that they were having a meet-up in the coming weeks at a venue close to my home. It was a parenting session and I found it to be of interest. I asked for the details and waited. The details did come in after a while. I was excited and apprehensive, at the same time.
Blind dates were bad enough, and this was a bunch of strangers in a meet-up. I reached the venue on that day, and got confused with the directions. I called up the given number, and no one picked up at the other end. I tried again, with no reply. Convinced that it was a fake and it wasn’t meant to be, I turned my vehicle around to go back home, when I got a call back providing me the directions. I was initially hesitant, because it was a male voice and wondered if this was going to be a mistake. But at the very next instant, I thought it may also be worth a shot and I could always leave early if I didn’t like the way the session was heading. I parked my vehicle and joined the session.
I was pleasantly surprised. The session turned out to be better than expected. Here was a bunch of strangers talking about how challenging their marriages turned out to be, how difficult it was to be a single parent and answers were suggested by the mentor in a very straightforward fashion. Without sugarcoating, without false reassurances, just simple strategies that were easy to implement, with total empathy and understanding. I loved it! I felt it was speaking out to me directly. I also realized most of the members already knew each other and I was one of the new arrivals. After the session, I was added to their whatsapp group.
From then on, the journey has been much smoother. I met a few of these members in the court when I was having my case hearings, and it felt good to know that you aren’t entirely alone on your journey. Whether it was a court related issue, or spending your birthday alone, whether it was about going to a parent teacher meeting and explaining the absence of the other spouse or answering your child about a question related to the missing spouse, I found someone who had crossed over this situation, someone who’s already been there and is willing to hear you out and sometimes, even gives you an answer. Sometimes, discussing the options available for consideration, sometimes providing the right person for legal help, help in choosing the right summer camp for your child or even the right counselor for your situation. It was all there in an open platform.
Here was a safe place to vent out your hurt and frustrations, knowing you’ll be understood without being judged. Here were a group of people who had gone through similar painful breakups, if not more agonizing and going through similar challenges as well, walking out of abusive relationships and raising their children alone. There was always a sympathetic ear to listen and say – hang on, it’s a rough phase. But it will pass. Seriously, sometimes you just need one message to make the journey smoother and to motivate you to continue on this difficult path you’ve chosen to take.
Added to this, there were the meetups where you could hang around with each other and talk, sessions to learn from and listen to each other’s stories and relate to. I made some good friends who had common interests with me related to writing, travel or even spirituality. I found good legal help to go to in a crisis situation, a friendly place to be in and relate with and play dates to take my child to. It was something I hadn’t realized the importance of, but once I found it, I felt this was exactly what was needed for me at this time in my life. I was grateful and happy for it.
Some pointers, I would want to empathise on when viewing meet ups online, or before joining online groups, is to be cautious. There are a wide variety of meet up groups on the meetups site as well on Facebook. But you need to choose one, which you feel goes well with you and your interests. Exercising caution at first is extremely necessary because you don’t want to have your phone number landing in the hands of strangers. It is always better to be safe that sorry. This is even more important for females, since it is a convenient platform where phone numbers can be easily misused. I was fortunate that I did not need to worry and got lucky with the first group I joined. Also, the admin of the group had taken the extra mile of meeting new members personally before adding them to a whatsapp group, so that mostly only the genuine ones were added. My task here was just to be and render support to others as others had been there for me.
Top image via Pixabay