Almost half of divorcees feel a sense of shame and failure because their marriage ended. But one couple is looking to challenge the negative stigma that surrounds divorce by sharing a celebratory selfie of themselves after filing their papers.
Following an 11-year marriage, Canadian parents Shannon and Chris Neuman (pictured below) agreed to put their children first when they made the decision to separate.
Far from the heated arguments and tears associated with divorce, the couple commemorated their camaraderie with a wide-smiling selfie as they left the court.
“Are we smiling because the partner we chose for forever turned out to not to be the forever partner we needed? Of course not. We're smiling because we have done something extraordinary (we think anyway!),” Shannon writes in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 30,000 times.
“We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honourably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children.”
Shannon says they didn't want their children to feel they have to choose a parent or take on the burden of coordinating their time between them.
“They'll never have to wonder which side of the auditorium to run to after their Christmas concert or spring play, because we'll be sitting together. They won't have to struggle with their own wedding planning because we'll be sitting on the same side of the aisle - THEIR side.”
The response to the post has been “99 percent positive,” Shannon tells The Huffington Post, but some have criticised the couple for seemingly celebrating their divorce.
“We weren't celebrating with the pic, we were commemorating the accomplishment of a goal that we worked really hard to reach, together. If we were celebrating, it was the completion of the process and coming out on the other side as friends.”
The post has now been made private, however Shannon shared the screenshot above and says she stands by her message of putting children first in a divorce: “If two people can smile at the end of each other and not hurt each other and not hurt anyone else along the way, then that's a positive.”
There are a host of other couples posting divorce selfies on Instagram in order to reclaim their split as part of their shared experience.
Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight (pictured above) in Florida appear to be the first couple to publicly share a divorce selfie when they ended their three-year marriage a year ago.
“We wanted to let people know this didn’t have to be a negative experience,” Hinson said at the time. “We've been separated a year, and throughout that time, we've both been committed to preserving our friendship...We are choosing to move forward with love”.
Here are a few other couples who are toasting to peaceful separations with a #divorceselfie