Having fun with divorce: cathartic or cruel?

Nadine Bells
Shine from Yahoo! Canada

Motown’s Jimmy Ruffin famously asked, “What becomes of the broken-hearted?”

For some, denial, bitterness or depression sets in. For others, broken hearts serve as catalysts for creativity.

This week, blogger Kevin Cotter made the talk-show rounds, promoting his book “101 Uses for My Ex-Wife’s Wedding Dress.”

When his wife of 12 years — and mother of his two children — left Cotter in 2009, she also left him her wedding dress.

It wasn’t long before he discovered many, many uses for the once-sacred dress: grill cover, yoga mat, coffee filter, pasta strainer and drag-race parachute.

Cotter and his brother, Colin, documented the dress adventures on his blog, eventually compiling the photos into a coffee-table book.

[See also: How to overcome divorce]

“My brother said that it wasn’t until we started working together photographing the dress that he heard my real laugh return,” Cotter writes in his new book. “People have asked me if what I have done with the wedding dress has been cathartic. The answer to that is yes.”

It appears Cotter’s creative divorce-coping mechanism worked: He’s since remarried and is once again part of a happy family.

Divorce-fueled creativity seems to be the latest trend in heartache. Divorce parties celebrate signed paperwork, divorce rings reconfigure old engagement rings into jewelry worthy of post-marital bliss, and divorce registries help newly single people live on their own once again.

"For most major life events we have some sort of ritual or ceremony or gathering to help us through it. With divorce, people are kind of on their own. It can be really depressing. A divorce party can be a very primitive way to gather around and help the person through,” divorce party planner Christine Gallagher told Darn Divorce.

Are the parties, presents and wedding-dress repurposing making a mockery of marriage? A lack of respect for what was once an honoured relationship? Or are they merely making the heartache a little more bearable?

Most importantly, would you dare to leave your wedding dress with your ex?

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