screen-shot-2016-09-09-at-2-24-45-pmWhen Essence Atkins revealed in 2009 that she’d met her husband, Jaime Mendez, on Match.com, she single-handedly removed a lot of the taboo that still surrounded online dating at the time — and gave a lot of single gals hope that Mr. Right could be a mere click away.

Unfortunately, the couple has succumbed to the dreaded seven-year itch, as Atkins revealed on Hollywood Today that she and Mendez, who are parents to a 4-year-old son named Varro, have decided to split. She told her co-hosts:

“I am going to be entering the dating world after nearly a decade. I’m in the process of getting a divorce, sadly. But it’s weird because literally, three weeks after filing, I got this job where I’m playing a newly divorced woman who’s co-parenting with her ex that she still loves, but they’ve somehow realized that they’re not meant to partner together anymore. So it was kind of this weird, amazing moment the universe was like, here’s art imitating life and we’re going to talk about this and you’re going to explore it in a really humorous way so I’m grateful, really grateful.”

The show is the upcoming NBC sitcom Marlon, loosely based on the life of comedian Marlon Wayans, in which Atkins plays a mother attempting to co-parent with her immature ex-husband. Though we wish art wasn’t imitating life in this situation, we’re happy to see Atkins is open to the lessons she may learn in this new role, not to mention showing a new side of divorce — one that is still grounded in love, rather than the nasty splits that have become characteristic of Hollywood. We’ve become so accustomed to scandal and drama when it comes to marriages that we forget it is possible to simply fall out of love with someone or even want different things at different stages in life, but still have love and respect for one another as you deconstruct your family and figure out a way to still be a family under separate roofs, as Atkins explained it.

Though the 44 year old admits she’s not quite ready to get back on the dating scene after an 8-year hiatus, our fingers are crossed that all goes well once she does.

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