LOL Just divorced. And no, that's not my car.

LOL Just divorced. And no, that’s not my car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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!  :-) 

16 comments on “Top 10 Worst Things to Say to a Newly Divorced Person

  1. Anders

    I admit, I have never had anyone say this directly to my face but I think it’s a real contender for the top ten “God hates divorce”. My response would be: Because God want’s you to be miserable ??? Divorce was to me a last resort and a choice made for no light and transient reason. Also who could possibly know the truth of this statement in several ways?

  2. candidkay

    How’s this? “So when are you going to try online dating?” Which I wasn’t going to do. But an editor twisted my arm. More at my recent blog entry–which I hope makes you laugh. Right there with you, sister.

    1. julietjeske

      Wow that is crazy? Why do people think any of it is their business? It’s really amazing, I am floored with how some people think it is perfectly OK to say such cruel things or to ask such personal questions post-divorce.

  3. stilllearning2b

    My husband disappeared with a text message, left me with an unknown pile of debt and committed felony bigamy. So many people have said that he must have left because we didn’t have sex. Uhmmm….1) What? Were you in my bedroom for those 16 years? and 2) Your knee-jerk reaction couldn’t be further from the truth. Overall, it’s the assumptions that bother me: that I receive alimony (not even close), that I saw it coming and chose to ignore it (I’m not blind) or that he left because we didn’t have kids (mutual decision!). Don’t assume that one marriage is like another and that all divorces are the same. Listen to the person.

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  11. April

    “Well marriage is a lot of work.” As if because you’re divorced, you’ve failed. Sometimes you just can’t know how much “work” a person has put into their marriage or what kind of suffering or abuses they have gone through over the years just to keep their marriage together. Hearing anything that implies they didn’t work hard enough is like a slap in the face.

    1. julietjeske

      That is a really good one. I didn’t hear that one because of the circumstances of my divorce, but I know people are just idiots. They say the absolutely worst things. One concept a single person (never married) will never understand is that one half of the divorce may not have any choice in the matter. If one spouse wants out, there is little the other can do about it. I sacrificed so much for my ex, and it was all for nothing…so trust me…I know! Hang in there.

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