Cutting Loose by P-HarpercollinsPubl


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									Cutting Loose
Author: Ashton Applewhite

One out of every two modern marriages ends in divorce, and 75 percent of those divorces are initiated by
wives. Author Ashton Applewhite is one of these women, having sued for divorce after enduring an
unfulfilling ten-year marriage. Cutting Loose is a wonderfully appealing book for women who want to leave
their marriage but fear the consequences.Shattering the media-generated image of the lonely, deprived
and financially strapped divorcee, Applewhite provides a much needed reality check. Cutting Loose
introduces 50 women, varying in age, race, class and predicament, who have thrived after initiating their
own divorces. Their fears of financial, emotional and romantic ruin were never realized; on the contrary,
their lives improved immeasurably, and their self-esteem soared.Cutting Loose also answers the crucial
questions: How do you finally decide to make the big break? What is getting divorced really like? What
are the shortcomings of the legal process? What about custody and child support? financial and
emotional survival? and how does a woman's self-image change during and after divorce?

. . . if I continue to endure you a little longer, I may by degrees dwindle into a wife [italics added].—
Millamant, in The Way of the World by William Congreve What happens when women turn into wives?
Too often they dwindle, which is why Congreve's phrase, written in 1700, reverberates so clearly today. A
snippet from the opposite end of the literary spectrum, the gossip column of the New York Post, observed
that the two wives of New York financier Sid Bass had apparently traded identities. "Mercedes, the
current Mrs. Sid Bass, has metamorphosed from uninhibited and fun-loving to tense and chilly. Whereas
Anne, the former Mrs. Sid Bass and the original ice princess, is now the outgoing one, the one you want
to sit next to." The same topic came up when Tory, a human resources coordinator, was talking about
wives with her best friend one day, "about how there's something that bleeps off their radar screen when
they get married. They started out being bright people, and some element of their view of the world kind of
drops off."Dwindling into WivesMarriage reduces many women, who willingly, often unthinkingly, embrace
a peculiarly circumscribed identity and set of priorities when they give up being single. Looking back,
they are often frustrated and puzzled by their own collaboration in the process. Susannah, at forty-nine a
respected film archivist and the kind of person you can't imagine taking no for an answer, married a much
older artist who shaped much of her taste and opinions. She describes her married self as "kind of
paralyzed. I couldn't make decisions." Jodie, a widely respected software industry spokesperson, admits,
"I had so surrendered to him and to his way that I didn't know who I was anymore."For my part, I worried
constantly about incurring my husband's displeasure, an unnamed fear way out of proportion to any
possible consequences. No brute, he was handsome and funny, and we had a lot of fun. We were true to
each other. We seldom fought. He said no to many of the things I wanted to do, which angered me, but
instead of acknowledging it I colluded vigorously, even frantically, in the illusion that I was getting as
much out of the marriage as he was. It held up for a long time, especially during the years when I was
busy with babies, just as it did for Karen, a sculptor, who says that her divorce was made far harder
because "it took me so long to realize my own investment in this fantasy."Now I wonder how on earth I
reconciled my strong, articulate self with that anxious, muted creature. What I didn't understand was how
the illusion that he and I were equal is built into our culture. The truth is that the only time when a
woman's social worth equals a man's is during courtship, when the man must work to win her. Small
wonder that little girls dream of being brides, the pinnacle of desirability, the ultimate female leading role.
But Bridal Barbie offers nothing but a short-term sugar rush. Once married, no longer an object of
competition among the men, a woman finds that her value plummets. "It's like a new car," one woman
commented. "The minute you take it out of the showroom, it loses 25 percent of its value."Consciously or
not, many new husbands feel justified in treating their new wives less well, or at least reminding them of
their diminished status. Many brides noticed that romantic behavior abruptly stopped after the wedding.
One husband declared dancing no longer necessary; another pulled the plug on kissing and oral sex.
Anneke, a romance writer from Tucson, doesn't think the...
Author Bio
Ashton Applewhite
Ashton Applewhite is the author of Thinking Positive: Words of Inspiration for People with AIDS and the
coauthor of And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary
Speechmaker. She lives in New York City with her two children.

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