I think it’s safe to assert that people who are engaged to be married and wearing a fiancé/fiancée “hat” happily take it off to don the husband/wife “hat.” Through the simple legal act of marrying, people are allowed to wear their new “hats” and reap the benefits of a social institution that our commonwealth legally upholds.
But the act of divorcing, i.e., legally redefining oneself by changing “hats” by shedding the husband/wife “hat” and being handed the ex-husband/ex-wife “hat” is a big deal. This “hat” change abandons one identity and assumes a new one, requiring the hat-wearer to see him/herself differently. And once the world sees the new hat, the person wearing it will be regarded in a new way by others.
In the process of divorcing–with all the forms, figures, and negotiations acting as busy distractions–the shift in this relational identity can get lost. I believe that this oversight is a mistake, even a tragic consequence, of not looking holistically at the transformative process of divorce.
For people brave enough to divorce, it’s essential to respect and recognize the “hat change” from spouse to ex-spouse and to consider what it means (to the individual who is divorcing and to the communities where the individual lives and works) to say “I’m married” and now to say “I’m divorced.” These are critically important reflections that often don’t happen during the divorcing process.
At Holistic Mediation, I encourage my clients to stand in front of the mirror and see how their new hat looks on them. And while most knew that this change was coming, it can be unsettling to see how different their reflections are with the new “hat.” Still, my clients have the space to consider their new “look,” and I’m right there to consider it with them.
If you are interested in this holistic approach, please call Jenna Brownson, Esq. at 978.760.0482