A divorce registry is exactly like a wedding registry minus the heart-shaped salt and pepper shakers and, well, the marriage. It’s a way to replenish all the things you gave to your ex when you separated and you are left starting over. Unless you and your ex-partner had been stockpiling for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, you may notice a shortage of household items to be divided evenly between you when you separate.
According to Brandie Weikle, founder of The New Family and an online support group called Positive Co-Parenting After Divorce, a divorce registry helps the newly separated in a very tangible and practical way. Often, people want to help out but just aren’t sure how to be supportive. A divorce registry allows people who might not otherwise be able to find the right words to say, “Here’s the blender you wanted from your registry so you can make those smoothies you like.”
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Picture frames
Surround yourself with family and friends. From as little as $5.99 per frame, you can grab a handful of frames and plaster your walls with photos of your nearest and dearest. This is less about creating a pristine gallery wall than it is about feeling the familiarity of loved ones’ goofy faces keeping you company in your new digs.
If chopping lettuce to reality TV isn’t your thing, consider registering for an audiobook subscription. Loaded with over 180,000 books to choose from, Audible lets you choose a new dinner date every night of the week. Not sure where to start? Try some of our favourite badass lady pal memoirs like Yes, Please (Amy Poehler) or Why Not Me? (Mindy Kaling). Alternatively, your local library may have a digital service too, free of charge.
3. Safety classes or a kit
Initially, living alone may make you feel vulnerable (there’s that dang zombie apocalypse to fret over). Combat that easily by getting yourself protected. Take a CPR course (ahem, they teach you how to save yourself if you are choking and alone), a fire extinguisher (they sell them in a stylish chrome finish so you have no excuse for stashing it uselessly in the back of a cupboard) and a First Aid kit.
4. Starter tool set
You are going to need to get those pictures up on the walls. There’s something very satisfying about lugging out a weighty tool kit and deliberating over which drill bit, no matter the size of the job or the fact that you could get the frames up with just a hammer and nails. Just picking up a drill will make you feel 80 per cent more like Furiosa (Mad Max) and optimistic about your survival skills. Basic starter tool kits are all you need — and yes, of course, you don’t have to buy the pink one unless you like pink anyway.
Brighten up your day with fresh flowers. There is something so invigorating about the scent and pleasing look of bright, beautiful flowers. Some shops let you sign up for regular deliveries, or you can check out local farmers markets for seasonal options.
6. A sex toy
If you are going to be spending more time alone, you may as well find ways to, um, enjoy yourself. There are many different types of devices you can use to pleasure yourself. Don’t be shy. Stores like Come As You Are are completely inclusive and friendly, and they can walk you through all their products based on your interests. In addition to just making you feel great, self-loving has a bunch of benefits, like giving you the confidence to better communicate with future partners about what you enjoy.
7. Healing stones
These inspiring pebbles are a reminder that you will survive the breakup. The emphasis is on hope and healing, and seeing daily encouragement like “Keep the wild in you,” “Let life surprise you” and “Dream the impossible” will remind you that you are going to survive and thrive.
8. Cosy pyjamas and blankets
Keep comfortable and carry on. There is very little that a soft blanket and perfect pair of pyjamas can’t cure. If you’ve relied on another body to keep you toasty and warm while lounging on the couch and binge-watching Homeland, you may want to double down and indulge in both.
Weikle acknowledges that society really reveres marriages, and with the end of that union comes a lot of shame and a big shift in identify. A registry helps mark the milestone as a new chapter worth acknowledging, not a shameful thing that’s difficult to talk about, Weikle explains. As for populating the registry, she suggests keeping it to the basics as this isn’t a cash grab.