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Things people say when you're getting divorced(29 Posts)
Now that my breakup with ex-h is public knowledge, I'm finding that there's certain 'lines' people have used when mentioning our impending divorce (if they say anything at all). Sometimes said out of kindness, or disinterest, or discomfort. I'm finding it irritating although I know generally people mean well.
Some of the gems I've heard:
'But you always looked so happy' (yes I was very good at hiding the pain I was going through)
'You've hurt his male ego'. (used to explain ex-h's extremely shitty behaviour towards me post-breakup)
'It'll be nice for you to get some time free from the kids' (about my 'free' weekends every fortnight. Instead I spend these weekends missing the DC so much I never enjoy myself)
'We/I never liked him because of (insert event here)' (yes and you're telling me this now?)
'Don't worry you'll find someone else' (I don't want anyone else)
'Marriages are hard' (no shit. And divorces are just SO much easier)
'How are the DC?' (finding it extremely hard as it happens, like their whole world has come crashing down. Funnily enough people don't know how to respond if I say that).
I realise I just sound incredibly prickly and like nothing would be the 'right' thing to say. Overall I'm surprised by how rare it is for someone to say 'how are you?', which I guess is what I want to hear.
Anyone else had any gems from well meaning (or not so well meaning) people about their divorce?
How are you, Nickname? You clearly have considerable self-control. Even allowing for people being being shocked out of tactfulness and into cliche or rambling, there's a lot of punch-worthy stuff there. If someone tried to justify an ex's bad behaviour with references to Fragile Male Ego, I'd be fit to be tied.
I've had many an occasion when I've had to grit my teeth potato. And these are just the things people are willing to say to my face - I hate to think what's being said behind my back! And thanks for asking how I am . I'm tired, worried about finances, DC, the effect all this is having on my health and work, and I'm so so so SO angry with ex-h. I have to stop thinking about things so often just to avoid the rage.
Oh and I thought of another gem:
'He's single now, though.' (when I discovered ex is already seeing someone he's introduced to the DC no longer than 3 months after we split)
When I "came out" regarding the demise if my marriage - me, heartbroken - was dismayed by the "high fives" (metaphorically speaking) and calls to be vile and take him to the cleaners.
Only three people reached out to say how sorry they were. Surprising sources too. X
Beyond - I also had the "take them to the cleaners" stuff. Some people want you to be ruthless regardless of the circumstances!
I can't remember what people said. It was a long time ago.
I can remember that men started to turn up from all over - his friends, husbands of my friends, all with silly, stupid grins on their faces thinking that because I'd thrown my husband out I'd be wanting to have sex with them (ie anyone) right away. Er, no. I didn't go with you before I was married, I didn't go with you while I was married and I'm certainly not going to go with you now.
'now' as in then.
What I might do now is an entirely different matter.
Oh god yes, to the having free time comments when the kids are with him, usually followed by something like 'just do something nice like get yourself a massage.' Helpful.
The ones that drives me nuts (and I realise people are just trying to be kind or aren't sure what the 'right' thing to say is) are 'be strong' which feels like they're saying 'suck it up & don't fall apart,' you can't help how you feel, if you don't feel strong, you can't will yourself to be and I don't particularly feel like pretending I'm coping better than I am for them!
And 'you need to move forward now', I'm sorry my partner of 16 years & father of our 3 children left only a couple of months ago because he was sleeping with his secretary, am I not dealing with it fast enough for you?! In the same vein last week I had the comment 'Oh, I thought you'd be feeling better about it by now.'
'Overall I'm surprised by how rare it is for someone to say 'how are you?', which I guess is what I want to hear'
What's really rare is people asking how you are and actually being prepared to listen to the answer, whatever it is. I haven't been divorced but I have had a dreadful couple of years and I find that most people just cannot handle pain. They either ignore it or minimise it or joke about it or tell you all the reasons you have to keep your chin up. Or give you some crappy platitudes like 'keep strong' or 'look after yourself', which usually mean keep your big smile on and act like everything is ok. It makes me want to scream!
I'm so sorry. It sounds like things are very sad and very tough for you right now x
The only really bad comment I had was from my boss, who was a prize fuckwit anyway. My DS was not my son, he was H's son by his previous partner who I had raised since he was 5. During the split H was an evil twat about allowing me contact and then announced he was moving 250 miles away to live with a woman he had been in a relationship with for a week.
I rang my boss to say I wasn't coming in the day after my H announced this and the boss went "buh buh buh" for a while, not knowing what to say, and then said "Oh well... maybe you'll get back together?"
Apart from that I think I got off quite easily by the sounds of some of these.
Several years back, I had not a divorce, but the breakup of an almost decade long relationship.
The number of people whose eyes lit up and started the 'ooh the bastard, I hope you're going to make his life hell' stuff was incredibly depressing. It was an amicable split. No need to make it harder.
Sometimes people find it hard to confront tough emotions and so they say any old cliche (don't worry you'll find someone is in that kind of category.) but sometimes they're just showing you they're awful
My advice is usually, 'that sounds tough - be kind to yourself.'
I said to my Mum "I'm scared".
She said 'We all are. You can't believe the stress that this is putting us under.'
I said to my Mum 'I'm having to sleep in the car because I'm scared of what he's going to do'. (He was violent)
She said 'You made your decision, now you have to live with the consequences'. (DSis has lived at home for the ^last 15 years^). For the record, I wasn't asking for money. I have NEVER asked my parents for money.
I said to my Mum 'It's nice of you to support exDP, but I do feel like I need some support too, and he did attack me with a hammer'
She said 'Don't tell me who I can and can't see. YOU introduced him to our house and you cannot expect us just never to see him again just because it suits you'.
When I finally met someone new, she refused to meet new DP for a year because I was 'introducing a new person and this was too stressful because she would have to meet them'. When we did visit, she made it clear that it was only happening against her wishes by refusing to speak and sitting in sulky silence the whole weekend.
Lovely shovetheholly, just lovely. I have a mother who is similar - everything is always about her. Just what you need when you're going through pure hell Is she still in your life?
"take them to the cleaners" - as if that was at all possible! People really don't know the reality, do they?
at a job interview 'Were you the dumper or the dumped?"
"But he adored you and the kids. He lived for you" Yes, that's what I thought
"You're still young, you'll find someone else" Furthest thought from my mind.
"Who wants a 30 year old with two kids? You can't afford to be choosy. Don't leave it too long." Thanks, I feel great.
"it won't last, he'll be back".
"You have to pull yourself together for the kids"
"Get yourself down the social. You'll get a fortune"
"That's good he still sees the children" once every six weeks? Bloody great!
Sorry you're going through this, OP. I admit now I can look back and smile. It was a horrible time but we got through it. The kids got through it. Someone said to me that I'd look back and see this as the best thing to happen to me. I thought that was outrageous at the time but actually - had some great years as a single parent, had a fabulous career and studied for two quite hefty qualifications.
*SkiptonLass" has the best advice - be kind to yourself.
lotta - yes, she is. It was valuable, in that it was so overt that it exposed the dynamic (and scapegoating) for exactly what it was and actually gave me some freedom to say 'This is really, really not normal'. Up to that point, I had been trapped in FOG and had believe everything they said about my being 'selfish' (because I wasn't willing to be part of an engulfing family dynamic).
I have contact with my family, but I have protective walls up now. It still hurts on the odd occasion I think about it (I don't believe that will change), but that hurt doesn't creep into my bones and affect my sense of self-worth any more, and it isn't constant. I have lots of days where I am just happy where I am! The next step is for me to work on my assertiveness, so that I can feel comfortable about having a place in the world instead of feeling either overly aggressive or overly passive.
I'm exactly where you are shove. Very low contact with family but it doesn't consume me with pain and guilt like it used to. It's utterly shit though, isn't it? Life is not fair. Well done for finding your voice and moving through the FOG, it takes serious guts
Don't have anything to add. People said all that to me and it was true, so I didn't mind.
However, I never understand the 'mussing the children too much to have fun thing'.
In the nicest possible way, you need to get a life. That way it won't feel quite so crushing to you, or the children.
It really does work.
Oh yeah I also found that I became a magnet for married men.
The husbands of friends who told me how lucky they were that their husbands had never looked at another woman; colleagues; friends... people have no idea!!
Turned them down of course. My exh cheated on me. Why on earth did these men think id do it to someone else?!
Probably the most jaw-dropping one was from a former colleague who, after apparently listening to my massive rant about what a knob XH had been for the last 23 years, bringing me to the point where the only options were divorce or being carried off wibbling, asked "But don't you love your husband?"
I've had the "but maybe you'll get back together" line from about 3 people as well. I told them I worked bloody hard for that divorce and was blowed if I'd waste it by going back to Square One.
I've had the 'take him to the cleaners', as I know he has had about me (this difference is he's acting on that advice). I find that really sad. As though divorce isn't bad enough and when there's children involved you have to be able to at least co-parent for the foreseeable future. Ripping each other to shreds (and being encouraged to do so) doesn't do anyone any favours.
I had a another good one last night from a well-meaning friend - "I thought you would handle this better than you are".
My family are very fond of telling me "You're doing so well" and it's reached the point where I now say back "I don't exactly have a choice". I would LOVE to curl up in a ball and hibernate for 6 months but with DC and a job that isn't an option. Instead I have to drag myself through every day whether I want to or not.
It's the assumptions that got to my DB more when he got divorced.
It 'got out' some how that DV was involved and it was the assumption that it was DB who was the violent party, whereas it was actually the other way round.
his ExW was having an affair and put him in hospital on a few occasions
until he left
On my birthday a couple of months after we split up, my mother phoned and when I started blubbing down the phone she exclaimed "Oh, are you still upset?!"
"It takes two people to end a marriage".
Umm..no...it takes one!!!
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