Create a Divorce Club - Optimist's Guide to Divorce
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Create a Divorce Club

Creating Community

Jill and Suzanne launched the Maplewood Divorce Club in the spring of 2013 at a local bar to create a community of family like support. We spread the word about our club via word of mouth, local websites, and Facebook. To our surprise, more than fifty women attended our first meeting. You may only know a few other women who are going through a divorce right now, but once you post information about the group and tell friends about it, you will likely discover that there are plenty of women interested in joining.

Knowing we had people we could turn to in our time of need went a long way toward lessening stress and loneliness during challenging times. Numerous studies find that social support is essential for your physical and mental health. Having a support system can increase your sense of belonging, boost your feeling of self-worth, and help you feel more secure, because you have people you trust sharing their advice, guidance, and information. As news of the divorce club got around, women as well as men in neighboring communities asked for our playbook to start their own groups. We share this information here so that people everywhere can learn how to launch their own group and benefit from the loving support of friends who know your deepest struggles, are there for you in a pinch, and help make the journey more fun.


Use our starter kit to get some basics on launching your own club. Read chapter 17 in The Optimist’s Guide to Divorce to get a full picture on all that’s involved in not only starting a club but making sure it thrives.

Meet the Characters

Meet our circle of friends — women going through divorces who have been where you are — and learn from their stories, insights and wisdom. You are sure to see someone whose story mirrors yours.

Jill, an athletic, upbeat social butterfly in her late thirties, with two young daughters, left her husband when their conflicting parenting styles, contrasting ideas on how to spend their money, and opposing views on how to spend their free time created a crack in their marriage that continued to widen.
Suzanne had been swept off her feet by her husband. Theirs was a whirlwind romance. After their son was born, the giddy thrill of new love carried them for a few years. However, the forty-something native New Yorker soon discovered, however, that they had very different expectations of what married life would be like.
Amali, in her late twenties, a tomboyish Indian IT consultant with a long, swingy braid of jet-black hair, found the stinging goodbye note that her husband left for her on the kitchen table. It would take time for her to get over her surprise and anger, and realize that she got married to please her parents more than to please herself.
Denise had known for years that her marriage was broken. But one child and ten years later, the forty-something African American beauty found herself continually working late at her demanding job, all the while resenting her husband, who worked sporadically. She finally left him in search of passion and true love.
Pilar, a late-forties Cuban American mother of two tween sons, believes a feeling of panic about her life slipping away led to her decision to leave her husband. After she had an affair with a young English teacher at work, she told her husband she wanted to separate so she could think about what she really wanted out of life.
Meghan, in her twenties, and her wife, Joan, had recently moved to Maine so that Joan could take a job as head chef at a well-regarded restaurant. Only a few months later, Joan inexplicably moved out of their home, leaving Meghan broke and broken hearted in a town where she didn’t know a sole.
Renee, early sixties, with an Audrey Hepburn–esque short bob and big brown eyes, asked for a trial separation after 30 years of marriage. The former flight attendant finally gave up waiting for something to change–for her husband’s over-the-top work schedule to slow down or for him to become emotionally available to her.
Iris, a Chinese American stay-at-home mom in her late thirties, knew that her husband wasn’t around much but had no idea that he wanted to leave her—until he actually did. Her world got turned upside down one random Wednesday evening when he announced in front of their 3 daughters that he was in love with someone else.
Gina, an Italian American hairdresser in her thirties, pregnant with her first child, never expected to learn that her husband was keeping a secret that would cause their marriage to end. She suddenly found herself alone, about to give birth, and more confused and afraid than she had ever been before.
Eleanor, in her fifties, known for her stylish silver bob, could not accept the news when her husband told her he was leaving her. Though she slashed his tires to delay his departure, she could not escape the fact that after a lifetime of caring for her husband and their daughter, she had no idea who she was or what she wanted.
Jamie left her husband after eleven years when the incidents of being mistreated by him started multiplying in frequency and intensity. The more he drank, the meaner and more violent he became. Timid and afraid, she finally got the courage to escape with her two kids to an apartment across town.
Carlotta, a blue-eyed blonde who could pass for Reese Witherspoon’s sister, had suspected for years that her husband had someone on the side. When she discovered their amorous texts, it wasn’t long before he moved out. A deep depression followed, making it impossible, for a time, for Carlotta to care for their teenage daughter.