Split Decision: Future Following Divorce


Recently I had the pleasure of attending a meet-up for divorced and separated people held at a new hip bar “Goldberg’s” in Cork. The meet-up is run by the “effervescent” Jan O’Connor. Jan has been separated for a couple of years and having tried a few online dating sites she came to the same conclusion many divorced and separated people do- these sites are often expensive, cold and impersonal!
Having done her research Jan happened upon the idea of creating a meet-up that would cater specifically to the needs of divorced & separated singles rather than singles in general.

Feeling a bit disingenuous as I am married I decided to have Jan tell the group why I was there. Admittedly, I felt odd at first as I pondered the many stories that led to the breakup of each marriage/ partnership. However, I soon realised this could be me or anyone for that matter! As the evening progressed I met an array of interesting, vibrant people (mainly women). The group is actively encouraging more men to attend but so far the male response has been slow to build. I guess for men it’s somewhat easier to transition from marital status to “single again” status as it is not unusual to see a single guy on his own in a bar having a drink no matter what age. The same however cannot be said for women. After several conversations it occurred to me that “single again”women regardless of finances, education or profession often find themselves bereft of friends to socialise with. This however doesn’t mean that men don’t feel the loss of friendship and companionship marriage provides, it’s just that they don’t seem to face the same social stigma whilst flying solo.

Writing this from a female perspective I feel hopeful that this overlooked aspect of separation and divorce will work itself out. After all divorce is still a relatively new concept in Ireland. Few people have any historical family experience to draw from. Dating after divorce can’t really mean picking up where you left off in some cases 20 years ago? Even Carrie and the gals couldn’t pull that one off! However, online dating seems to offer just that, albeit at a more frantic pace (booty calls, sexting and friends with benefits!) not exactly ideal for a soccer mum of four?

All in all I think the meet-up offers a more civilised nonjudgmental approach to dating and meeting people after a long term relationship has ended. There is no stigma and you can opt in or out as you please. Moreover it helps a newly single person build a social network and gain confidence without any pressure. While online dating is a booming industry it definitely has it’s drawbacks for single parents and those who’ve been out of the dating scene for a decade or so. However, if you do feel so inclined it might be wise to brush up on the ever changing lingo of online dating. You wouldn’t want to request a CD (cross dresser) when you meant to invite someone for a casual D (a Drink!).

Interested in attending Jans meet-up? Click here.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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