Kathryn Peterson writes the “Split Happens” column for the Houston Chronicle’s Gray Matters blog. It debuted on Valentine’s Day 2015, and she’s been doing it ever since. It’s mostly personal essays, her own processing about her divorce, and riffs on dating in one’s 40s. She’s been charged with being “the Carrie Bradshaw of Houston.”
She recently wrote a piece about Splitopia. As Kathryn said, she was intrigued by the idea of the “good divorce,” but also skeptical:
“My biggest question was how a couple can have a good divorce if they are really on different pages? For instance, if one person wants the divorce and one doesn’t, or if one person is still very angry and tends to want to punish the other partner.”
While I have a friendship with my ex-husband, not everyone wants that. Sometimes a good divorce means extricating yourself from the chaos of the other person kindly, and as cleanly as possible, turning your focus to your own future.
I met Kathryn at Epicure, a café and bakery on West Gray in Houston where I used to write when I lived there in the early 1990s. I knew the owner, and whenever I’m in Houston, I stop by to say hello. In our era of non-stop change—and during the personal sea change of divorce—it can be reassuring and grounding to see people who’ve stayed in their jobs, remained invested in their same careers, continued baking the same cookies.
I like change in general, and am always eager to try the new restaurant or take the new route. Change keeps us mentally alert and current. But stability matters too, for us and our children. I find that visiting people who’ve stayed where they are, or places that have been around forever, is a reassuring reminder of the continuity and continuation of so much in our lives, even when it feels as if we’re standing in a hurricane of upheaval.