Orpington Divorce Recovery Workshop helping people come to terms with separation

PUBLISHED: 11:40 14 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:40 14 March 2013

Pictures of Vivienne

Pictures of Vivienne


The average marriage in the UK now lasts little more than 11 years.

Whether it’s because of an affair, a mid-life crisis, domestic violence or simply growing apart, divorce has become commonplace.

Once couples have signed on the dotted line and made their final break from each other, the struggle of coping without their other halves can throw them into a state of turmoil and despair.

A six-week course in Orpington aims to address these issues and encourages divorced folk to meet people in a similar position and share experiences.

The Divorce Recovery Workshop, based in Sevenoaks Road, is run by Vivian Marriott who attended the classes herself and now helps men and women overcome the grief that a marriage break-down can cause.

“When my marriage broke up I was devastated and shocked,” said Vivian. “It affected all parts of my life and I found a lot of people didn’t understand.

“Had he died I think people would have understood my situation more. My friendships were hindered because they were all married and I found it hard going out to places.”

The workshop has been running for 20 years and has 14 groups across the country offering support on issues such as forgiveness, children and taking on extra responsibilities.

Vivian’s class attracts a large number of members who can often feel lonely or confused.

She said: “It’s a huge thing and people don’t know where to start getting over it.

“Sometimes if you have been married for years, you don’t know what it’s like to be single or deal with the hostility you might have towards each other now.

“It can also isolate you and people often find close friends through the workshops.”

One woman who turned to the Orpington group is Lynn Farley-Rose, 53, who split with her husband after 31 years of marriage after he went through a long illness.

She describes the after- effects of the split as a “gaping wound” and says she had to get her life back and stop draining those around her.

“I took up riding and singing in a rock choir,” she said. “Then I joined the workshop and had no idea what to expect.

“I have made lifelong friends and we regularly meet up over supper. If I ever have inevitably down days, I can ring them and they can do the same with me.”

She says forgiveness was a challenge for her and, despite beginning her six-week class in September, says she is only now getting to grips with it.

She added: “I was a very married person with very married friends and I never came across this world. I never thought it would happen to me.

“It’s up and down now for me but there are fewer bad days than there were before.”

Lynn will now join Vivian as an organiser at the next workshop in Orpington, sharing her experiences with those for whom divorce is still fresh.

Vivian is keen to point out that the effects of a marriage ending hit those of all ages, married for all lengths of time and of both sexes.

n The next workshop begins on May 13 and costs £40 for the full six-week course. For more information, contact Vivian at or telephone 07917 101 520.

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