Engaging and groundbreaking, Splitopia challenges outdated, negative assumptions about divorce with sharp wit, searing honesty, rigorous research, and intimate interviews, and offers guidance for healthier, happier splits.
When Wendy Paris announced that she and her husband were separating, friends forecast a tsunami of devastation—for both of them and their child. But as Paris would discover, divorce has improved dramatically in recent decades, due to changes in laws and family structures, advances in psychology and child development, and a new understanding of the importance of the father. Yet disapprobation and fear persist.
In this incisive book, Paris cuts through the moralizing and myopia, and explores the new cultural phenomenon of the “good” divorce. Splitopia chronicles Paris’s own divorce in real time; shares insights from happily divorced couples, international experts, and the latest research; and follows her own divorced parents’ possible reunion. Splitopia calls for a more flexible view of how we wed and how we part, and offers support for creating loving families, whatever the legal relationship status.
Divorce is no one’s first choice, but as with other difficult, unwanted experiences, it can lead to growth, deeper connections, and a more fulfilled life.
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About the Author
Wendy Paris is a journalist and essayist whose work on marriage, relationships, and contemporary culture has appeared in The New York Times, Psychology Today, Glamour, Brides, QZ.com, Salon.com, Travel & Leisure, Essence, and Marketplace radio. She was a 2014 Fellow with New America Foundation, a 2013 Fellow with Encore.org, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a Visiting Artist at the 18th Street Arts Center. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Columbia University and blogs about the good divorce at WendyParis.com and PsychologyToday.com. She and her ex-husband and son moved together, separately, from the New York area to Santa Monica, California, while she was writing this book. Find out more from WendyParis.com and follow her on Twitter @WendyParis1.
Read an Excerpt
Many people assume divorce destroys relationships, but some former spouses get along better after they part. Fears about being single, miserable, and broke tend to be overblown. My husband and I set off on a quest to separate, together.
Table of Contents
Note to Reader 1
What We Talk about When We Talk about Divorce
Part 1 Love, New American Style
Chapter 1 The Joy of Ex 15
My Quest for a More Perfect Disunion
Part 2 Doing It Well
Chapter 2 Principles of Parting 39
Laying the Groundwork for a Good Divorce
Chapter 3 The Expanded Family 71
Break Up a Marriage, Not a Family
Chapter 4 The Opposite of an Engagement 96
Telling Others about Your Divorce
Chapter 5 Friends… and Lack Thereof 122
Loneliness and How Divorce Affects Non-Romantic Relationships
Part 3 The Tunnel of Darkness
Chapter 6 Hurricane 145
When Crisis Hits
Chapter 7 I Love You, You're Perfect (Now That You're Gone) 166
The Need for Boundaries
Chapter 8 Don't Buy Your Lawyer a Country House 180
Making It Legal
Part 4 Signs of Light
Chapter 9 Transformative Acts 201
Making It Feel Real
Chapter 10 Does This Couch Match My Personality? 212
Creating a Home, Alone
Chapter 11 Am I Free Tonight? Let Me Check with My Husband 231
Dating While Divorced, or even Just Separated
Chapter 12 Happily Ever After Divorce 250
The Evolving Post-Marriage Relationship
Resources for Readers 273
Resources for Professionals 279
Policy Suggestions & Reforms 283
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Engaging and groundbreaking, Splitopia is a combination between scientific research and journalism pioneering the new cultural phenomenon of ‘good divorce’. Wendy Paris challenges the social stigma around divorce through a combination of wit, research and insight, offering guidance for healthier, happier splits. Almost like a roadmap, Paris addresses the various stages of divorce - from the initial announcement to the dividing of assets, addressing each stage with pointers on dealing with the inevitable challenges. About two million people divorce in the United States each year. Every state now authorizes joint custody, making corporation between parents essential throughout the children’s childhood. Research has proved that high conflict between parents is the most damaging factor for kids, whether parents are divorced—or married. A ‘good divorce’ protects kids from ongoing conflict of a bad split and enables adults to work together and be attentive parents. The Seven Principles of Parting not only help in avoiding the pain of divorce, but also give pointers on legal matters and on creating a positive environment for children, families, and friends. Her own journey through her divorce, that of her parents and profiles of people in positive post-marriage relationships illustrates collective learning experiences that define today’s family structures.
Author Wendy Paris found herself in a marriage which felt unfulfilling. However she still respected her husband and wanted to keep him in her life, and more importantly, in her eight year old son’s life as well. She wondered if there was such thing as a happy divorce. Through speaking with peers, psychologists, and her own experiences on this topic, Paris crafted this book as both a therapeutical guide for those who have experienced a divorce, either in their own or a loved one’s life. What was previously perceived in history as a failure in a relationship (and in vintage years - a failure in life), is now becoming a normal occurrence. This book is a game-changer for all of the people who ever felt stuck in a marriage, but had their family in mind or didn’t want to completely cut ties with their spouses. Paris’ has stated that overall summation of her philosophy is “to not take your spouse’s personality personally”. She encourages divorced families to take joint vacations and to still be involved in each other’s lives. This method somewhat follows the 1950’s style marriage counselor advice of working through the problem together to keep the marriage intact, except with Paris’ spin the marriage staying a solid relationship is not the primary objective, as it was then. It is a book that is in sync with today’s modern relationships, thus making it the perfect model for the modern divorce.