Oct. 16, 2005 -- After three decades of marriage and years of fighting over a nasty divorce settlement, it's time for Madalyn Pollit to party.
As she toasts to "the beginning of the best years of my life," Pollitt is part of a trend of women and men embracing their breakups with divorce parties.
"A new season, a new me, a new beginning: That's why I wanted the party," Pollit said. "I wanted to celebrate my new life."
Part celebration, part exorcism, the parties typically involve a signature cocktail -- marriage on the rocks.
And, it wouldn't be a party without some games. Remember Diane Keaton tossing her wedding ring into a glass of champagne in "The First Wives Club"? Well, there's "throw the wedding ring in the toilet" and "pin the blame on the ex." And there usually are voodoo dolls.
With nearly half of all marriages ending before 'til death do us part, divorce has gone from a private shame to a peculiar rite of passage.
Even in the Muslim world, where divorce is still a disgrace, divorce parties offer a way for women to redeem themselves.
In Morocco, single men are invited to the party and they bring the woman perfume, money, even camels. The party lasts for three days or as long as it takes for the woman to find a new companion.
America may not have the camels, but we do have businesses that are cashing in on the breakup party circuit. Plumparty.com sells all the fixings for a great bash. Theytookeverything.com offers a divorce gift registry. And, thousands of copies of "How to Throw a Divorce or Breakup Party" have been sold.
The Right Time to Party?
But this trend doesn't put everyone in the party mood. Some divorcees believe the end of a sacred union weighs too heavy on the heart.
"I don't find anything funny about divorce at all," said Jim Clarke, who is divorced. "I find the whole experience rather tragic."
But marriage therapist Helen Rudinsky says there can be a right time to celebrate.
"You're not grieving, you're not pining over the relationship," said Rudinsky, who practices in Washington, D.C. "You wish them well. It didn't work out. You're going forward."
"It's a different kind of party," Madalynn Politt said. "It's kind of like a New Year's Eve celebration, but it's a new life's eve celebration."