The Ex Factor

You could be best friends, cordial acquaintances, or never speak again. What type of relationship should you aim for with an ex? And how do you get there?

Celebrating an Ending

Sometimes an ending is the best beginning

Today the National Singles Week blog crawl stops right here at Living Single. I am so delighted to introduce you to novelist Laura Dave. She is the author of The Divorce Party, which she has already discussed with more than 100 book clubs. She also wrote London is the Best City in America. She has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered and wrote a Modern Love essay for the New York Times that was not at all about romantic love. Is she the perfect person for Living Single or what? Here's her essay. Read it first, then I'll say more about my own reactions, and look forward to seeing yours.

Celebrating an Ending...
by Laura Dave

A few weeks ago, I attended a ‘break-up party.' A girlfriend of mine, who had been dating her boyfriend for several years, asked her twelve closest friends to join her at a restaurant in Venice Beach for an evening of cocktails and cake to celebrate the end of her relationship.

It is probably not entirely surprising that looking around the real-life ‘break-up party', I got to thinking about my novel, The Divorce Party, and the idea of celebrating the end of a relationship. Because of my book's title, many people assume that this type of party is the primary focus to the book. And while that is an element of the story, my book's primary focus is on two women-at different life stages-each asking the question: how can I live the most fulfilling life?

Without giving too much away, let me say that one woman finds that answer within the context of a relationship, and the other finds that answer by deciding she needs to live her life on her own. I interviewed many women over the course of working on The Divorce Party, who found themselves at a crossroads in their lives: some of whom were in the process of leaving long marriages, moving across the country alone, making a new start on their terms. It felt important me to represent their point of view: these wonderful women who found themselves learning how to stop sacrificing in the name of everyone else, and figuring out how to be there for themselves.

While the cookie-cutter route to fulfillment in movies, television, and books often involves finding or honoring a romantic partner--it felt very important to me to honor the stories of the women who chose another way. And, in turn, found themselves on a path to extraordinary redemption.

On the way home from the break-up party, I found myself thinking that maybe-in a way-this is what a break-up party can be at its best, what a celebration of all endings can be--a gathering that makes starting over feel exciting. A gathering that reminds us--there is no right path. There are many ways to become happy. They all involve becoming conscious of what we really want and need. And some of the most exciting ones involve raising that glass to the beginning of a new life-an exciting life-lived on one's own.

From Bella: Thank you, Laura, for your wonderful essay. I spent four years in graduate school in social psychology where almost all of our learning came from research studies and journal articles. But I've always looked to literature for sources of ideas and inspiration. I so appreciate it when someone has something important to say, as you did in this essay, and can say it in such a beautiful way. We don't have to do our best writing for blog posts - the informality of the form allows for less self-consciousness about style - but I love it when we do.

There was, though, one thing I didn't love: I wanted to have a copy of The Divorce Party in time to read it before posting this. That didn't happen. But I will look forward to reading more of Laura Dave's writing in the future.

Blog Crawl: Tomorrow (Saturday September 26), I'll close out the blog crawl by guest blogging over at our friends at Onely.

Special deal on "Single with Attitude" ends tomorrow: Give yourself or someone you know the gift of attitude - Single with Attitude, that is! You can get $3 off your purchase of the book between now and the end of Singles Week (September 26) when you order it from this website and use this coupon code during checkout: WR6PYUZQ. (You can also order it from Amazon as a paperback or Kindle version, but I can't create discounts on the Amazon pages.)

The Ex Factor