It can be tempting to want to shower a good friend of yours with love and comfort after they’ve gotten divorced, but the hugs, the cards, the inspirational sayings may be far from what they actually want after they’ve split from their marriage. While you might think you’re dishing some good advice or handing them a one-liner that will make them want to put on a dress and start dating again, you might just be getting on their nerves and making them feel worse than they might already feel.
Wondering what not to say? Here are four things divorced women wish people would desperately stop saying to them.
But You Two Seemed So Happy
Even if you’re shocked by the news of the divorce, avoid telling your friend that their ex-spouse seemed like their perfect match. The truth is, you might not have known what was actually going on.
Poppy Spencer, a relationship and certified parenting expert, says that the woman might have made a conscious choice to maintain an intentional public persona, while her home life was falling apart. Hearing that just makes the divorced woman feel even worse about the decision she made.
You’ll Find Someone Soon
If you’re eager to encourage your gal pal to get back out there on the dating scene, know that it’s not always what that person wants or is ready for.
“As if you are a Garrett ATX human metal detector who scours beaches (and bars) for the right tone,” says Spencer, who also describes that comment as a throwaway sentence that people use when they want to change the conversation.
Don’t pity divorced women. It can be as simple as that. Joelle (Caputa) Speranza, the author of Trash the Dress: Stories of Celebrating Divorce in your 20s, says that many divorced women are happy to be free of an unhealthy marriage, eager to move on and are taking pride in our strength to pick ourselves up and leave a situation that was no longer for our greater good.
“We’re celebrating our divorces and changing the stigma of this often shameful social status,” says Speranza. “Yes, it’s difficult and we all go through a period of mourning but we know that divorce isn’t the end of our happily ever after — it’s just the beginning.”
Hope You Got a Lot of Money
The 50/50 rule of divorce isn’t always a standard and what your friend received from the divorce might be something she wants to keep to herself.
“Please stop assuming that women earn less, need support, want support or even care to share any of these intimate details with you,” says Erin Levine, a certified family law specialist, founder and CEO of Hello Divorce, co-founder of Love & Real Life and owner of Levine Family Law Group. “It also assumes that your divorce is just like everyone else’s. In reality, many people forgo paying or receiving support in favor of a more creative agreement — such as an unequal division of property or debt.”
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