The new trend of taking divorce selfies is all the rage. What's up with that?
It seems that everywhere you look on social media these days, you can see the smiling, happy selfies of newly divorced couples standing right outside the doors of divorce court.
While most people's reaction to these divorce selfies (after thinking ... WTF?!!) has been positive, if you happen to be facing divorce yourself at this point, you might be wondering whether you, too, should take a selfie with your ex on the day of your divorce. Isn't that what an enlightened divorcee does now?
The new trend of divorce selfies.
The divorce selfie trend seems to have started about a year ago with Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight. The couple ended their 3 year marriage with a smiling selfie of them holding up their divorce judgment outside of divorce court. Underneath the photo, Keith wrote "... We smile not because it's over, but because it happened."
More recently, Canadian couple Shannon and Chris Neuman took a beaming selfie of themselves outside of divorce court. It got over 38,000 social media shares in less than 3 weeks! (Yes, they were shocked.)
And they are not alone. Over 100 happily divorced couples have posted divorce selfies on Instagram documenting the demise of their marriage.
What's up with all this?
Why would anyone want to take a divorce selfie?
While taking a divorce selfie may strike you as being as inappropriate as taking a selfie at a funeral, not everyone sees it that way. Shannon Neuman put it like this:
"Are we smiling because the partner we chose for forever turned out not to be the forever partner we needed? Of course not. We're smiling because we have done something extraordinary (we think anyway!) We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honorably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children ... "
Taking a divorce selfie is not a celebration of divorce. It is a celebration of making it through your divorce with dignity and respect. It is a celebration of being able to maintain some sort of relationship with your ex, even if that relationship is no longer one as man and wife.
It is tangible proof that you were able to rise above a really difficult situation and come out smiling (at least for the couple of seconds it took to snap the picture!)
But, is it a good idea?
The good and bad of divorce selfies
The truth is that, even though maintaining a good parenting relationship with your ex is super important, your kids may be confused when they see a smiling selfie of you and your ex standing outside of divorce court. After all, your kids might wonder why you and your ex got divorced in the first place if you could get along so well that you took a divorce selfie together.
Yet, the good that divorce selfies represent (the ability to get through your divorce without making your ex a mortal enemy, and a genuine concern for putting the kids first) far outweighs the potential bad.
If your kids aren't old enough to understand that your smiling selfie doesn't mean you are happy that your marriage ended, but rather that your divorce went well, then don't show them the picture! Or, better yet, take the time to explain to them, in age appropriate terms, that mommy and daddy will always be there for them. That's why you are smiling.
Is taking a divorce selfie right for you?
The ability to take a divorce selfie may be the height of maturity. It may be tangible proof that you and your ex were able to rise above your circumstances and triumph with love.
It may showcase that you can "consciously uncouple," just as well as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. But what if you just can't do it? Or, what if you don't want to?
Even if you were able to navigate the choppy waters of divorce peacefully, it is understandable if the thought of standing outside of divorce court with your arm around your (now) ex and smiling for the camera makes you a bit queasy.
I mean, honestly. Who does that?! Plus, on a good day, selfies don't tend to be the most flattering pictures on the planet. Is this really a picture you want to have hanging around in the photo album for the grand kids to gawk at some day and wonder what was up with you and your ex?
In the end, of course, the decision is up to you. Taking a divorce selfie may make you trendy, but ultimately, it's just a picture. You are not any less "enlightened" or "progressive" if you don't take one. You are also not disrespecting your marriage or your kids if you do. Like so many other parts of divorce, it's a personal choice.
As your divorce approaches its end, and your day in court arrives, taking a selfie is now one more thing you might want to think about ... or not. But if you do, remember: smile!