While some people dread going through a lengthy divorce, others are celebrating in an unconventional way — and they’re not afraid to let their Facebook friends and Instagram followers know about it.
The New York Post has found that a number of (former) couples have taken to social media to post their “divorce selfies.” The self portraits — usually taken with a smartphone and uploaded onto web-based apps — show ex-husbands and ex-wives standing side-by-side just moments after leaving the courthouse.
Melissa Smith, a 36-year-old mom from St. Paul, MN, has her divorce selfie with her former husband interspersed with pictures of her home and children. Those who miss who caption (“I can’t believe we did this. #divorceselfie #itsofficial #happyhour”) may think it’s just a normal photograph.
One of her followers had commented that the picture was “Sad,” but Smith disagrees.
“We’re not celebrating the fact that our marriage didn’t work,” she said. “We’re more celebrating the fact that we did the right thing and we were able to get through it without causing a lot of animosity.”
The ease with which Smith and her ex divorced was perhaps another factor in the otherwise cheery-looking photo. Most splits require months of working with divorce lawyers and can cost thousands of dollars, but Smith’s divorce only cost $1,500, didn’t require any attorneys, and only took four months.
With two divorces occurring every minute in the United States, it’s no wonder that the divorce selfie may have taken off on Instagram and other social media platforms. And Smith’s attitude about the divorce seems to sum up the prevailing feelings for many other couples who take such photos, according to one expert.
Rachel Sussman, a therapist and relationship expert from New York City, told the New York Post that the pictures carry a clear message to others about those marriages.
“I think what people are really trying to say is, ‘we’re getting divorced, it’s not ruining our lives, and we don’t hate each other.’ And that’s not a bad message,” Sussman said.
Divorce selfies are also fairly safer than some other types of selfies, which, according to The Huffington Post, are now becoming deadlier than shark attacks.
A Sept. 16 report from Condé Nast Traveler found that 11 people have died taking selfies. Most often, the victims were participating in unsafe behavior, such as standing at the edge of a cliff or holding a loaded gun. By comparison, there have been only six shark attacks resulting in a fatality.
That report, however, did not count the recent death of a 66-year-old Japanese tourist who fell while taking a photo at the Taj Mahal, which happened just days later.