Aprés Divorce provides hope, community
For a year, women around Fairfield County have been finding encouragement through a small business that provides community centered around a somber circumstance — divorce.
Last June, Westport resident Sylvia Beckerman launched Aprés Divorce to give women the support and hope she struggled to find following both of her own divorces. Last week, Beckerman hosted Aprés Divorce’s one-year anniversary event, which featured discussions about online dating from dating coach and online profile writer Ronnie Ann Ryan. It proved to be “one of the best events yet,” Beckerman said.
“Aprés Divorce is what I wish I had,” she said. “It’s about showing women that there’s time for mourning and a time to go through emotions, but there’s also a time where you have to move on.”
Beckerman, who also works in business consulting, hosts monthly events with Aprés Divorce that includes discussions about topics relevant to going through a split such as dating, finances and getting through holidays.
The monthly events cost between $35 and $40 and are meant to be “social gatherings that are informal and fun” Beckerman said. She’s held them around the county, including several each in Greenwich, Norwalk and Stamford.
The concept arose after Beckerman decided to throw herself a party of sorts to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter after getting divorced in 2015. For the second time, she found herself with few friends and almost no belongings since she’d donated all hers to charity before getting re-married in 2010.
So she went into stores and set up a registry under an “other” category, because “why not?” Beckerman said, and had a small party to mark her new phase of life.
Plenty of women wind up in similar situations and could benefit from such an experience, Beckerman said, so she decided to foster the type of community she wanted to have in her own dire times.
Around 25 to 35 women typically attend each event, Beckerman said, and many more also take advantage of her blog, in which she discusses topics relevant to divorcees.
Aprés attendee Jamie Schwartz of Norwalk, whose Stamford financial firm sponsored one of Aprés’ first-ever events, said she’s found renewed self-confidence through the Aprés community.
“Aprés is about women helping women and networking for life,” Schwartz said. “It’s about networking for survival, so you can have hope and take care of yourself and your kids and maybe get a new job. You lose your lifeline when you get a divorce, but with support, you can change your life.”
In addition to Aprés’ official monthly meetings, Schwartz said she frequently meets up with women she met through the community for other things.
Similar groups Schwartz has attended for divorcees commonly felt negative and depressing, she added, but Aprés instead is infused with positivity. “Aprés is light-hearted and takes an inspirational approach that bad things happen in life, but that’s life and now good things can happen,” she said. “It really changes your energy.”
Looking ahead to the next few years of Aprés Divorce, Beckerman said she forsees it growing to include additional chapters. “This isn’t the only place with a need for community,” she said. “I want to help women be able to open the next door in their lives and not be afraid of what’s there.”
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