Loss of Status After Divorce: Or the New Invisibles

Ladies in Lavender Image@Having a Solid Gold Life
A book club friend and I met recently and discussed her recent divorce. (She's my age and was married for 25 years to my 26.)

Sherry (not her name) mentioned that the transition went smoothly. She and her husband knew that they would be divorcing for a number of years, about 4 or 5, but they stayed together for the sake of the children, who were about to graduate from high school and enter college.

He made more than a comfortable living. In fact, their 2-story house was more 6,000 sq ft.and a bargain compared to their digs in New England.

He earned most of the money.

But she was a computer programmer, or coder, and could find a job whenever she needed one. Still, her salary was worth a quarter of his.

Flash forward...

He found a new love and a new life, and she moved out of the house after his insistence that they sell it for its equity. Most of their fabulous furniture would have to go (I bought a beautiful Sheraton sideboard).

He continued living a lavish lifestyle with his Tootsie. She moved into a 2-bedroom, 925 sq foot apartment - alone and happy as a clam.

My opinion of her rose when she entertained us in her much reduced circumstances, uncomplaining and making the most of her new life. She seemed to blossom, losing weight and laughing more than I had ever seen her laugh.

We met several weeks ago over dinner and drinks. After a long, honest conversation,  the one thing that Sherry regretted was her loss of social status. I agreed with her assessment. We were the new invisibles. No one, not our old couples friends or the men our age that we encountered, noticed us much any more.

Here we were, two women of a certain age cast upon the job market in our fifties, having to fend for ourselves, yet rising to the top of our respective professions. We had made it despite the odds! We were paying our bills, our mortgages, adding our own money to our pensions, and pursuing our passions as far as our jobs and personal preferences were concerned.


We both agreed that one of the hardest changes we faced was our loss of social status as wives who had entertained a large cadre of married and professional friends.

We had become invisible to society at large - rarely invited to couples parties or weekends away at a lake house with a group, and no longer noticed by men our age. At best, for me, I was invited to womens' luncheon during the week when I worked, which meant that I had to leave the gathering early.We were regarded as non-entities when we did receive the rare invitation to social events with both men and women, finding ourselves seated with other single ladies.

As married hostesses we both had invited single women and single men to our homes to fill in the odd chair at the dining table or attend our barbecues and picnics and mingle, mingle, MINGLE! I took it as a point of pride to make no distinction between couples or singles when I made up my guest lists. After my divorce, I discovered that my married friends were not equally inclined. As one coolly honest "friend" said to me, "It isn't personal, really, but you are a reminder of how fragile marriages can be. Besides, you've made new friends, haven't you?" Color her clueless.

During our most recent outing on a Friday night after work, Sherry and I again commiserated on our loss of social status and largely female lives, but since we were enjoying ourselves and each others' company, we exclaimed, "What the hell!" We clinked our glasses and confirmed our love for each others' company and independent lives, determined not  to dwell too much on the loss of our old couples' friends and our once active social lives.

When I hear music wafting into my yard from a young neighbor's couples party, I still feel an occasional twinge. But not as often as I used to.

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Utah Divorce Attorneys said...

It is indeed a great post. I truly enjoyed reading it. But I am very glad that in-spite of losing your status, you are enjoying life as that is more important.

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