[Dash of SAS] Divorce selfies
“We’re divorced!” read the photo caption that noticeably ended in an exclamation mark.
The young couple announced that they are now happily divorced from each other and snapped a photo of themselves and their divorce certificate to prove it.
A new addition to the list of various selfies (after-sex selfie, pregnant selfie, engagement selfie, etc, etc) making the rounds of social media is the "divorce selfie" where newly-divorced couples are joyously commemorating their uncoupling with a selfie. It has outraged some people, has made some people cringe and some websites like Fast Company are calling divorce selfies the new “thing”, but these divorce selfie snapping couples say they are simply rejoicing in the fact that they have amicably and respectfully ended their relationship.
The imminent end of marriage as we know it or an ominous prediction about the future of divorce?
May be a little bit of both.
A study by Pew Research shows that the number of single people has reached an all-time historic high. In 2012, about 20% (about 42 million) of Americans age 25 and up had never put a ring on it; in 1960, this number was only 9%.
Chalk this up to the many other options to marriage: living together, having kids with or without a partner, and even just postponing marriage. Marriage is just one of the many permutations that a relationship and a family can have.
For those who do get married, a number are getting divorced in their 20s. In her book, "Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in Your Twentys," Joelle Caputa puts together stories of women who all went through love, marriage, and divorce before they crossed over to the third decade of their life – a life cycle that too many foremothers 3 decades go through.
No divorce selfies in the selfie capital of the world
Divorce selfies are unlikely to happen in the Philippines even if we are the selfie capital of the world because, well, we have no divorce. We have legal separation, annulment, and we can even throw in labor migration dubbed as “the Filipino divorce” because it compels couples to live apart, but nope, no divorce.
Malta, the only other country that once stood by the Philippines in this no-divorce Alamo (or Siege of Baler, if you want a local version), gave in, in 2011 after a referendum showed that the people wanted divorce.
A civil annulment, the only light at the end of the tunnel for those couples who are at the pull-at-each-other's-hair end of the rope is a laborious, extremely expensive and very adversarial process.
You need to file a case and prove psychological incapacity – the default reason cited for annulment – and hang out every last bit of dirty laundry to dry. And no, you shouldn't hold out because if you have a flimsy case, the judge just might not grant you an annulment. So it’s better to pay the judge a "professional fee" which everyone knows is a polite way of bribing him. You can get your annulment in about 6 months, but it will set you back by as much as P500,000 ($11,128).
“It costs less to hire a hitman to nuke your spouse,” was the snarky comment of one of my friends. Probably easier and faster, too. Said friend had already spent about P350,000 ($7,789.9) on his own annulment proceedings when he found out that his (ex) wife had already annulled their marriage and just did not tell him.
Annulment proceedings are painful, manipulative and deliberate – making it impossible to have a smidgen of civility at the end, much less an amicable “divorce-selfie.”
During an interview, Senator Pia Cayetano described the current process of annulment as inhumane. “It is hurtful to two people who once loved each other and may have even at one point, tried to work things out,” said the senator whose own annulment was finalized a few years ago.
Break-ups are ugly
Bitter fact of the matter is that, most break-ups are ugly. Even break-ups of shitty relationships are shitty and staying friends is more of a press release than a personal choice.
Maybe this is how divorce-selfie couples are choosing to deal with the anger and pain of the divorces that they witnessed or were born into. This is, after all, the generation who bore witness to 50% of all marriages ending in divorce.
This generation lived through all of that and wants things to be different for themselves and their own kids. Maybe taking a divorce selfie is the start of documenting a life that is lived happily ever after, separate from one another.
We, as a country, could learn a thing or two, from these divorce-selfie snapping couples. – Rappler.com
*$1 = P44.93
Ana P. Santos writes about sex and gender issues. Seriously. She is a regular contributor for Rappler apart from her DASH of SAS column, which is a spin off of her website, www.SexAndSensibilities.com (SAS). Follow her on Twitter at @iamAnaSantos.
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