Revisiting Divorce

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I cannot believe that I am writing about a show like Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce – again. I would have, when it began, sooner shot myself than watch it. And watching the first season, it was as bad as I feared. It was one of my big hate-watch shows. But in the subsequent seasons, it has sometimes knocked the wind out of its characters – shown them and their glitzy lives as being far from perfect, shown some struggles and shown the consequences of the girlfriends’ frequent poor decision making. It’s still totally unrealistic and the characters are a bunch of self-absorbed assholes. But there are tiny glimpses of realism now and then that humanize the nonsense and fluff.

And occasionally it hits some nerves. In the final episode of the latest season, messy, selfish protagonist Abby is newly entangled in an affair with a guy who is in the midst of a very fresh (as in, he has not even moved out of the house or started divorce proceedings) divorce. She tries to overlook all the warning signs, her constant string of hurts and wounds, his tendency to shut down and completely avoid her, because their connection, as she herself says, “It’s great, it’s rare, and that’s why we should stop now.” She had been through a divorce that dragged on painfully (as breaking up, particularly in a long and messily intertwined relationship, does) over the course of the first two seasons. The guy, Mike, tries to insist that he is solid and ready, but Abby knows from experience that he is wrong. She argues that everyone told her that you can write off the first full year after a divorce because you are and will be “certifiable”; she tells Mike she ‘ruined’ a man because she was so raw and not ready. Maybe the timing is wrong, they tell each other, so maybe the door is not shut forever, but for now, she has firmly closed it.

At the very end, I was relieved and uplifted, actually, by the fact that instead of chasing the man or relationship or changing her mind about closing the door, Abby has her ‘epiphany’ and runs to her former colleague and friend to enlist her help in launching a website for women their age. Not that love – or whatever – is not important – but it’s no more important than deciding you’re not taking any more shit, not going to answer to anyone else, and will not get tired of waiting while you’re being jerked around.

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