Break-ups get harder as we get older. No one tells you this. Teenagers look at divorces with a cold, hard stare – assuming that it’s someone’s fault. And what is more disgusting to the arrogance of youth than the frailty of maturity?
But – much as we may acquire tools for living and loving and even leaving – break-ups do get harder as we get older; whether it’s the end of a 20-year marriage or the dizzying, else-esteem-shattering let down of a two-month affair. All our myriad of disappointments concertina up on us and down we go like shamed skittles. Isolated. Scared. Stuck in grief or anger or acceptance but somehow unable to move on.
And so, divorce coach Sara Davison has launched break-up retreats at a hotel in East Sussex. The idea is not necessarily to make you ripe for the picking and hugely desirable – “A man is not a plan” – but rather to uproot the sense of sadness and failure and turn it into a progression. To make us single in a way that feeds our freedom rather than fake single, which is just alone and yearning.
The retreat looks at patterns – yes, those inconveniently deeply forged neural pathways that frame our thinking comfort zone. Our autopiloted thoughts. Do what you’ve always done, they say, and you’ll get what you’ve always got. Time to shake it up. As the sensational Carrie Fisher advised: Take your broken heart and turn it into art. You’re the art guys. Your picture, your colours, your rainbow.