|The following article appeared in VIVE Magazine and gives an insight into why Ondivorce was started.|
When he split from his wife of ten years, Richard Simpson discovered it wasn't easy to get access to the sort of advice he felt he needed. "With all the turmoil that was going on around me, I needed someone to talk to about how I felt." he says. "The divorce and everything associated with it was always on my mind. It dominated my every thought. At the time, I needed to communicate my thoughts to someone; I was obsessed with it." Richard had a real need to get his thoughts down on paper and the person most readily available was his solicitor. "He was more than happy to be my sounding board, but his support came with the inevitable price tag," he reflects now. Thinking back, Richard believes his main feeling when he was going through his divorce was loneliness. He no longer lived with the family he had spent over a quarter of his life with, and although he had a few good friends and close family to support him, he did not want to burden them. It was then that the Internet became his focal point. Richard was struck by the impact the worldwide web is having on the way we communicate. "I thought that if I could get ordinary people with similar experiences to communicate with each other in some sort of forum, I would have made some progress towards making the process a little less painful for others," he says. His site, www.ondivorce.co.uk went live several years ago and Richard has been overwhelmed by the response. "I receive emails every day from users complementing us on the design and content of the site." Ondivorce is full of useful stuff. There are case studies, information-based articles and even an 'e-friends' page to allow people to hook up with others in a similar situation to themselves. These features may be pretty standard fodder for Internet sites these days, but where Ondivorce is different is in its lack of commerciality. Richard is an accountant during the day, and Ondivorce is something he created in his spare time. "I realise now that I spent a heck of a lot of time on it, but I was on my own in the evenings, and I really enjoyed doing it," he says.
For Claire and John, and for Lucy and Christopher for their never ending help, encouragement and friendship.
For Claire and John, and for Lucy and Christopher for never ending help, encouragement and friendship.
"Creating this site has been a great challenge for me. I've always admired people who can create things, and it's quite exciting for me to have made something that's of use to other people." The site is growing in popularity and Richard says he's now receiving lots of questions from users. However, since he's not qualified to answer many of them, he points people in the direction of organisations which can help - such as Marriage Care, Relate and the Citizens Advice Bureau. "In a way it’s a very arm’s length thing", says Richard, "but I'm hoping it's a catalyst for people." The key to the whole thing is communication. "All I want is for loads of people to use the site," says Richard. "I get very excited when they do - that's my real kick. I'm not in it for the money," which makes a refreshing change.