'Divorce is having a moment': Women who've seen the end of a marriage find empathy, hope in Adele's latest single

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Women who have seen the end of a marriage say they're finding a sense of validation in the lyrics of Adele's latest single,
Women who have seen the end of a marriage say they're finding a sense of validation in the lyrics of Adele's latest single, "Easy On Me." (Photo: Adele via Instagram)

The end of a marriage is an event that can leave both parties feeling their share of shame and regret, but since Adele's latest single, "Easy On Me," was released on Oct. 15, many women who've been through a divorce say they're feeling validated by the 33-year-old singer's words.

Adele has shared openly that her long-awaited album, 30, which will be released on Nov. 19, contains songs inspired by her divorce from Simon Konecki. The pair share a 9-year-old son, Angelo, and first announced their decision to separate in 2019 before finalizing their divorce earlier this year.

When asked about the divorce in Rolling Stone, Adele described picturing herself as someone in a busy home filled with the hustle and bustle of family life. Yet, as she approached her thirties, she felt like she no longer belonged in the marriage.

"I didn't really know myself," she said in the interview. "I thought I did... but I just didn't like who I was."

Still, the decision to end the relationship was devastating.

"It made me really sad," she said. "Then having so many people that I don't know know that I didn't make that work... it f***ing devastated me. I was embarrassed. No one made me feel embarrassed, but you feel like you didn't do a good job."

In an interview with British Vogue, the singer said "Easy On Me," as well as the upcoming album, is her attempt to explain the end of the marriage to her son.

"I just felt like I wanted to explain to him...who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness," she said. "It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that's a real wound for me that I don't know if I'll ever be able to heal."

Women like Michele Mammarella can relate.

"The line, 'I changed who I was to put you both first,' is rattling and relatable," Mammarella, who has five children, three from her first marriage, tells Yahoo Life. "There's no possible way to prepare yourself for the moment when you're going to tear your child's world apart by telling them you and their dad are getting divorced — it was the hardest thing I've ever done."

"I know I'm the adult, and I could never ask my children to fully understand the complexity of it all," Mammarella, who has been remarried for two years, explains, "but I tried everything I could to make my marriage work for these kids and it still didn't work. So go easy on me."

Michelle Mammarella with her husband, Nate, and their children, who range in age from 1 to 13.
Michelle Mammarella with her husband, Nate, and their children, who range in age from 1 to 13. (Photo: Michele Mammarella)

Mamarella says she was 21 and pregnant the first time she married. She and her first husband spent years attending counseling and marriage seminars in an attempt to stay together. 

"We had no money. We had no clue what life was. We had lots of unhealed childhood trauma," she explains. "We for sure didn't know who we were as individuals yet."

Eventually, the work became overwhelming. Still, when they announced their decision to divorce, Mammarella says people close to them were surprised.

"People saw the shiny exterior — the seemingly happy little family and the social media posts, but they didn't see the blood, sweat and tears behind the scenes," she says. "So when we finally called it quits officially and filed for divorce it seemed sudden. We lost a lot of friends."

Mammarella says listening to Adele's words made her feel hopeful that the stigma surrounding divorce can change.

"Adele's song is a plea for mercy: for others to consider that every avenue has been explored in the hopes of saving a marriage — you just don't broadcast all of that," she says. "It's not like I was 'checking in' for our therapy sessions on Facebook or posting all of the desperate attempts to salvage our relationship on Instagram. Divorce is traumatizing on many levels, but I think the most traumatic thing of all is the gossip and assumptions outsiders make long after the agonizing decision to divorce is final."

In a recent Instagram post about "Easy On Me," Sarah Nicole Landry, who blogs at The Bird's Papaya, shared her own feelings about the song, saying because of Adele, "divorce is having a moment."

"Adele wrote an album on divorce and the world is having big conversations about it. In an empowering way I've never seen before," she wrote. "Adele writes about divorce, in a way that is not rooted in devastation, but an ask. An ask for empathy. An ask for compassion."

Landry tells Yahoo Life that, when it comes to the trauma of divorce, there's too much poking and prodding into what went wrong from outside parties and not enough holding space or showing empathy.

The Canadian mom of four says she hopes Adele's album begins a conversation that changes that.

"I made a decision during my separation that I wouldn't be openly sharing the why in the divorce — that not all questions need answers and ultimately I was one person in a five-person family who had little hearts to protect," Landry, who has since remarried, shares. "Nobody knows what we've been through...so go easy on us for going through it at all."

Therapist Barbara Greenberg says whether a woman is just beginning the process of a divorce or has been divorced for some time, it's rare that a divorcee is treated with empathy or compassion.

"What they do get that's not helpful is a lot of voyeurism," says Greenberg. "They get people who want to know what happened and was it their idea or their partner's idea. Then the second question they get is if they sought counseling. The implication is, first, that there's a guilty party and, second, that if they would have tried harder and sought counseling they would have been OK."

Sarah Nicole Landry at her second wedding. (Photo: Lydia Ivy Photography)
Sarah Nicole Landry at her second wedding. (Photo: Lydia Ivy Photography)

According to Greenberg, lyrics like Adele's could be resonating with so many divorced women because they say aloud what women going through a divorce are often thinking, but feel too alone to talk about.

"For women, divorce comes along with a lot of shame and embarrassment," she explains. "You have to go very public about your very private matters. Here you are in a situation where you're already feeling terrible about yourself. You're feeling like a failure and you're feeling embarrassed and then it becomes public material. That makes it exponentially harder."

Mammarella says she also hopes the conversation will turn into supporting couples who are in their second marriage.

"Second marriages are even harder than first marriages because you have the scars left over from the trauma of divorce," she says. "Sure the wounds heal, but the marks are still there and need to be considered."

"Really, just support anyone you know who is married," she adds. "An excellent way to support a marriage is to only speak positively of it — whether to that couple or behind their back. The universe picks up on it."

This story was originally published on Oct. 29, 2021, at 3:37 p.m. and has been updated to include Adele's latest comments on her divorce.

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