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! 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 kids. Parents know 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 couples may have divorced for the sake of their kids. Growing up in an extremely toxic environment can cause a lot more damage than splitting time between two households. The decision to divorce has probably weighed heavily on the couple 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 they the divorce Svengali? No one knows what goes on in a marriage besides the two people in that marriage. No one. 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 say this because they are secretly wishing they could “live the dream.” Being single after a certain age is hardly a sexual paradise. 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 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 do. A statement like this completely invalidates a 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. - Everyone grieves at different speeds. No two divorces or relationships are the same. No one should make a judgment call about another person’s suffering . The most annoying people who make this comment, are those who have never even been married.
11. Welcome to Hell – I know this bring it to 11, but I personally love this comment because people also say 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 exact phrase to me for months, in fact she still does. My mother means well, and I have developed a sense of humor about her morbidity about the failure of my marriage. I did sacrifice most of my child-bearing years to that partnership, but I still think the best years of my life are yet to come. So thanks Mom, I know you only want the best for me. :-)
PLEASE SHARE any comments you have gotten! :-)
- Why Do We Place So Much Blame On “Homewreckers”? (blogher.com)
- First wives say ‘I don’t’ to second marriages (marketwatch.com)
- Why is it so Difficult to Date in Your Late Thirties (julietjeskeblog.com)
- On Being a Straight Spouse – Broken Memories (julietjeskeblog.com)
- Why Divorce is much more than a Break-up (julietjeske.blog.com)
- Life After Divorce: The Kinship of Divorce (julietjeskeblog.com)