Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘marriage

Happy Summer Solstice to All…

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…and man, do we need it.

Folks, my hope for everyone is that the Summer Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) will bring about a positive change.

For me, this is when I start intensively thinking about my husband Michael. Because on this date in 2002, we’d taken out our marriage license. And we celebrated over the weekend as best we could, knowing we would marry on the 24th, which was also the night of a full moon as best I can recall.

We had the whole world to look forward to, then…love, happiness, spiritual fulfillment, the joy of creativity, the joy of emotional and physical and mental and spiritual harmony, and the fun of being around Michael — the funniest, most intelligent, most spiritual and most everything person I have ever known.

I wish our journey together had been longer than a bit over two years. But I will never regret marrying him. Marrying Michael was the best thing I have ever done, and I am very happy that I get to remember him in the ways that I do — at the height of his creative powers, and at his happiest and most content.

For us, the Summer Solstice of 2002 was extremely beneficial.

May your Summer Solstice of 2018 be equally generous.

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Written by Barb Caffrey

June 21, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Divorce Can Be Beneficial

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For the past several days, I’ve been pondering one question given to me by a new friend — someone I’ve known for less than a week. That said, this person is remarkably perceptive, and she asked me this penetrating question:

“Can divorce, contrary to popular opinion, actually be beneficial?”

Here is my answer:

“Why, yes. Yes it can.”

“But Barb,” I can almost hear you protest. “Divorce is painful. Why would I ever want to go through that, and why do you say it can be beneficial?”

My answers:

“Yes, divorce is painful. But if you and your spouse do not understand each other, have grown apart, or worst of all, he’s brought another child into this world outside of your marriage (which my second unlamented ex-husband did), you need to be gone. It’s not good for you to stay. And if you have children, your children will see all your pain, all your anger, all your dysfunction, and start to model it for themselves in their own relationships…something you truly don’t want.”

In other words, divorce in some ways is like a rebirth. It’s hard. It is not for the timid, no. But it allows you to restart your life, reassess who you are and where you’re going, and get yourself back on track if nothing else.

(Again, if you have kids, be sure to be civil to one another. For example, I understood that my parents were divorcing; I would not have understood them bad-mouthing each other. Thankfully, I do not remember either of them doing that, which in retrospect was a huge blessing.)

Mind, in case you’re sitting there thinking, “Your divorce must’ve been the easiest on record,” my answer is, “Um…no.”

My divorce was brutal. I remember eating baby food, because nothing else would stay down. I saw my soon-to-be-ex-husband parading around town with the woman who became his second wife, and I could do nothing but swallow helpless rage. (It took me some time to realize that I was enraged, mind, because at first I was so saddened by all of this, and wondered how it could have ever come to pass.) I played in a group with my soon-to-be-ex-husband and his new girlfriend, the woman who became his second wife, and it sometimes was agonizing…yet I refused to give up the comfort of music, as I knew I needed it to help me somehow get past the pain.

I did not enjoy going through the divorce process at all. But eventually there was light at the end of the tunnel…and it wasn’t an oncoming train.

In other words, I found Michael (or, as he would no doubt want to have it, he found me). And finding him, being with him, being married to him, was worth every other pain in my life, past and present. He understood me, he was creative and funny and helped me be my best self, and I did my best to give him all the support, encouragement, laughter and love that I could, too.

Because that is what love is.

So, if you are divorcing right now, try to avoid giving in to despair. Divorce gives you the opportunity to find someone who is truly right for the you-who-is right now, rather than continuing to fight the same old battles in the same old ways.

In other words, do not see yourself as a failure if you must proceed with a divorce.

Instead, see yourself as a survivor. Someone who will do what’s necessary, so you can have the chance to meet the person who truly is right for you down the road…just as I met Michael.

——————

**Edited to add: I am not ashamed to say I was twice-divorced before I finally found Michael, my late husband. I just didn’t want to bog down the narrative, which I would’ve, so I didn’t discuss my second ex hardly at all. Seems appropriate. (I know who mattered to me in this life, and my ex-husbands did not, except as shining examples of what not to do.)

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 18, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Figure Skater Johnny Weir and Victor Voronov Separate, on the Road to Divorce

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Folks, a few years ago I was proud to congratulate figure skater Johnny Weir on the event of his marriage to Victor Voronov.

Now, I am saddened to hear of their impending divorce.

Media reports thus far have said that Victor Voronov feels blindsided by what’s happened (the link I cited above from US Weekly had a headline of “shocked by the abrupt ending of his marriage, dealing with trauma endured”), which saddens me even further.

Look. Divorce is no picnic. (I should know; before I finally found Michael, I was divorced.) It can come out of the blue, or a lot of little things can lead up to a dissolution that at the time seems abrupt . . . but after a healing distance seems inevitable.

I don’t know what happened in Johnny Weir and Victor Voronov’s marriage, mind you. But I can tell you that historically, in some marriages between two people who are otherwise well-suited — such as English mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers and Scottish journalist Atherton Fleming — when one person succeeds more than the other, as Sayers did in a resounding fashion with her successful series of mysteries featuring Lord Peter Wimsey and his eventual wife, Harriet Vane, it can cause fissures that are nearly impossible to heal.

Granted, Ms. Sayers lived during a time where divorce for an observant Christian was not always the “done thing,” which is possibly why she did not divorce Mr. Fleming. (Divorce was possible, sure. But unless there were overpowering reasons for it, usually couples would suffer in silence.) But in most of the biographies I’ve read about Ms. Sayers, the reason for her marriage having enormous difficulty was given over and over again as one, simple thing: She was successful. And he wasn’t successful to the same degree.

Now, that doesn’t mean Atherton Fleming resented his wife or her success. But her overwhelming success still hurt the marriage, because he wanted to be equal to his wife, was a good writer in his own way, and just didn’t find the same success no matter what he did or how hard he tried.

Worse yet, it’s harder for a man sociologically in Western society when a male spouse in a partnership isn’t equal to his spouse. (Just because both spouses are male in the case of the Johnny Weir/Victor Voronov marriage doesn’t change that sociological fact.) It doesn’t seem to matter how much love there is, or how much empathy, or how much understanding if one spouse is more successful than the other — under those circumstances, unless both people are fully present in their marriage and are willing to see themselves as flawed people who need and love each other and see success as a relative thing as opposed to simply a status thing — and will throw one hundred percent of themselves into their marriage — their marriage ultimately has little chance of success.

Now, what do I mean by success being relative? Well, in this case, Victor Voronov is successful because he’s always fully supported his husband Johnny Weir. That isn’t always easy to do even for the most loving of spouses, especially when one person is in the public eye all the time and the other just isn’t.

Whereas Johnny Weir is successful for other reasons.

And both of them need to see each other as a success in his own way and on his own terms, or the marriage just hasn’t a prayer of working.

In this particular case, looking in from the outside, Johnny Weir has obviously been on an upswing in his professional life over the past year-plus. He’s just come off a well-received stint at the Sochi Olympics as a figure skating commentator, where he received largely favorable publicity. He and his figure skating commentator partner, Tara Lipinski, were both signed by Access Hollywood to provide coverage for all sorts of things, including the Oscars. And his own personal, rather flamboyant sense of style has been plastered across society pages from one end of the Internet to the other.

Whereas Victor Voronov has apparently been settling into a career as a lawyer. His job is full of stress and long hours for much lower pay than Weir has been receiving for Weir’s various duties. Voronov is trying to establish himself, which is incredibly stressful in its own right.

Having a globe-trotting husband who’s plastered across society pages is possibly not what Voronov had expected his marriage to look like, especially as he married an athlete, not a celebrity icon (though to be fair, Weir was already both things when he married Voronov in December of 2011).

This sets up a lot of inequality that would be tough for any couple to deal with. One member of the marriage — Weir — is often gone and away from the other. Even with all the love in the world and complete and utter fidelity to one another, that one thing has been the death of more marriages than almost anything else.

At any rate, Weir has announced his separation from Voronov on Twitter and apparently has filed for divorce. Weir will be talking with Access Hollywood (one of his employers) later today (Thursday, March 20, 2014) by most media accounts, so perhaps at that time more will come out about the dissolution of his marriage.

That being said, while I can see from the outside why there would be extra stress on the Weir-Voronov marriage, I still had hoped it would endure. Weir seemed to settle down quite a bit after his marriage, and had shown himself to be a more mature and sensible individual — perhaps he always was that way, granted, and the media just didn’t portray it overmuch because being colorful is always “good copy” — and by every account I’ve ever read, Voronov was deeply in love with Johnny and was an extremely supportive spouse.

That’s why I find this particular divorce between two men I have never met and don’t know to be incredibly sad.

* * * * *

Edited to add:

Since I first wrote about this, a number of particularly nasty things have come out regarding the split between Weir and Voronov, most particularly via the gossip magazines.

I feel badly for both of these men. Divorce is hard.

But divorcing in public in the age of Twitter and non-stop communication seems to be the height of insanity.

I don’t know what to make of some of the things that have come out, to be honest. But I still believe that people have the right to make their own choices, as well as their own mistakes; because of this, sometimes marriages don’t work no matter how much love there is between the two parties.

I wish both men well as they do their best to move forward from what all accounts have shown thus far to be an incredibly traumatic experience.

 

Written by Barb Caffrey

March 20, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Time to throw the confetti — Johnny Weir Gets Married

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Folks, figure skater Johnny Weir, 27, got married on New Year’s Eve to Victor Voronov, an aspiring lawyer.  He announced this via his Twitter feed and with an interview to Ice Network; Yahoo Sports picked it up as Weir is one of the most popular figure skaters in the world today even though he hasn’t competed since the 2010 Olympics (where he undeservedly finished sixth when he deserved, bare minimum, the bronze medal after his excellent free skate). 

While I’m unsure of Weir’s husband’s age, as he’s preparing for his 2012 bar exam, he sounds like he’s reasonably close in age to Weir.  This should be a plus, as will the fact that Mr. Voronov (who’s now going by Weir-Voronov) is from Russia and Weir is a well-known Russophile.

The happy couple plans to live in New York City according to this report.

Congratulations to the newlyweds!  (Confetti all around!)

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Sports figures

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