A friend suggested I write this post, when I mentioned to her some of the things people have said to me post-split. It’s been three and a half years since my divorce but the hits keep coming! So I asked some of my divorced Facebook friends to tell me some of the worst comments they have gotten. Since I have even more readers on this blog, if you have one you want me to add any that I don’t have here, PLEASE SHARE THEM! I am considering sending this to HuffPo depending on how it goes. More often that not, the rudest most inappropriate comments come from casual acquaintances, not close friends. Also my friend and fellow divorcee, Carolyn Castiglia has re-posted some of my comments at Babble.com If you notice any changes in my quotes from this article to hers, it is just because I made edits to my piece in the after she had read it, but before her article got published. I don’t have an editor over here, so I am constantly revising myself.
1. You should have tried to keep it together for the kids - There have been tons of studies published about the negative effects of divorce on children. Divorce is never easy on anyone and it usually the last resort for any couple with children. It isn’t exactly healthy to raise children in a combative environment with constant fighting. If one spouse is being physically, mentally or emotionally abusive to another, the abuse could easily spread to the children. In fact some may have divorced for the sake of their kids, as they didn’t want them growing up in a toxic environment. The decision to divorce has probably weighed heavily on them for months if not years. When someone states this obvious fact it is just rubbing salt in a wound.
2. How could you give up that lifestyle? The money, cars, vacations? Couldn’t you just put up with it? - So are you a spouse or a prostitute? For some, it is a fine line, as some men and women marry purely for financial gain. But for the vast majority of us, we married for love and no amount of money and stability can replace that. If one partner is treating the other like garbage, the damage to a person‘s self-esteem and sense of well-being is not worth any amount of material wealth.
3. I totally saw it coming – Who are you the divorce Svengali? No one knows what goes on in a marriage besides the two people in that marriage. No one. You may think you do, but you don’t. It is one thing if you have confided to your friend that you were having problems. It’s another thing entirely if you haven’t.
4. You need tons of sex, you should just go out there and get laid, go crazy - It’s not terrible advice, but for some sex can turn into another form of self-destructive behavior just like drugs or alcohol. I suspect that some people say this because they are secretly wishing they could live the dream. Being single after a certain age is hardly a sexual paradise, especially if you are picky about your sexual partners. For many of us it is boring, lonely and quite sexless.
5. You’re in denial – For some divorce is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. No one should assume that they are denying their real grief.
6. You should change your name back – I just got this one the other day. I just looked at the woman funny when she said it. I decided to keep my ex-husband’s surname because I had built up professional credits with it. I didn’t want to have to try to start over and rebuild up everything considering I had lost so much. Legally I can keep his name. Why anyone would think this is nothing more than a personal decision is baffling.
7. Oh you’ll get married again. There’s someone out there for everyone - This comment is well-meant, but a lot of divorced people NEVER want to get married again. Since divorce is hell on earth, for so many of us, why would we want to repeat it?
8. I always hated him/her – Ouch. When someone says this they might expect a divorced person to immediately agree with them and start ripping apart their ex. Divorce is sometimes extremely one-sided and a person could still be very much in love or at least conflicted about their former partner. When in doubt, don’t go there.
9. I never knew why the two of you were together in the first place – I have no idea why anyone would think this is appropriate to say, yet plenty go right ahead and say it anyway. A statement like this completely invalidates their marriage. It implies their partnership was a freak show that no one could understand. A newly divorced person is usually in mourning for what they just lost, a comment like this hits below the belt.
10. You really need to get over this and move past it. - Are you their therapist? Everyone grieves at different speeds. No two divorces or relationships are the same, so unless they are paying you money to sit across from them in a therapy session, you might want to save it.
11. Welcome to Hell – I know this bring it to 11, but I personally love this comment because people also say it all the time to people who just got married! I guess it is a matter of perspective.
12. You gave him the best years of your life – OK now it’s 12 things. But my mother actually said that to me for months, in fact she still does. She means well and now when she does it, she makes me laugh. I did sacrifice most of my child-bearing years to my marriage, but I still think the best years of my life are yet to come. So thanks Mom, I know you mean well.