It’s no secret, friends. A couple years ago, the world that I knew was shattered. It no longer existed on any level. Having my marriage end and having the man that I spent 5 years with move across the country felt like being homesick for a place that no longer existed. It took a lot of time and what is still a daily journey in healing and self-love for me to be in a position to write with advice and just the slightest bit of comedy (because if you can’t laugh, it’s just, well, a terribly tragic breakup story).
During our separation, as well as many months after the marriage ended, there were some conversations with friends and other people in my life who I’m sure had the best of intentions, but their words did nothing productive for my healing experience. In fact, my personal growth was quite stunted until I was able to break away from the noise and BS from those around me and just find my own way of coping with the greatest loss of my life.
Today, I want to share a few things that you should never (never, ever, ever under any circumstances) say to someone who is going through a divorce or severe breakup.
At least you didn’t have kids. “Oh, geeze, wow, I never thought about that!” Listen — real talk? Yes. I’m REAL glad I didn’t have babies with that man I’m no longer with. Yes, that would have been destructive and difficult on a whole new level. BUT — if you think that spouting that statement to someone who’s in the midst of a traumatic grieving process is remotely helpful, you’re wrong. It provides no relief. We don’t consider ourselves “lucky.” Kids or no kids, the truth still remains that you are experiencing the loss of someone who you thought you’d be spending the rest of your life with. Making a list of all the things you never got to share with them really doesn’t soften the blow.
But…why? It’s none of your damn business. That’s why. People will share what they are comfortable, willing, and ready to when the time comes. This is not your special time to indulge in gossip. If you can’t be present without an agenda, don’t get involved at all.
Are you okay? Ummm…for basically just being placed inside of a tornado? In all seriousness, what I needed most was for people to just be present with me and create space for me to be in any state without looking at me like I was some sort of new weird alien creature now.
I never liked/trusted him anyway. This one is funny, but like, not okay at all. It isn’t helpful, it isn’t productive, and it’s information that only makes someone feel even more like a foolish victim. Just keep that to yourself.
Couldn’t you just put up with it and try to give it another year? This one goes along with all flavors of how it could come out, including but not limited to:
“God doesn’t believe in divorce”
“It really can’t be the bad”
“Is that really abuse, though?”
“You’re making a mistake”
Listen here — when someone is unable to live in peace, is in an abusive relationship, and/or is ultimately going to be damaged for the rest of their life by choosing to stay in the relationship, no. They don’t just need to “put up with it.” Again — not helpful, not your business. Your friend’s relationship is not your gospel. It is not your time to shine and come in to save the day. The truth is, if you’re not in the marriage, you have no idea what they are experiencing. It is not for you to decide what is tolerable or not.
We all have our opinions — I get it. You’re entitled to them — sure. But compassion goes a lot farther than agenda. Trust me. And as the rule of thumb goes, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all — or, just send chocolates, plants, and wine if your words can’t be productive.
And if you are walking through a separation, breakup, or divorce right now, just know that you are not alone. My heart breaks with you. It is such a deep pain, but I promise that no matter how things turn out for your story, you will grow. And it will be beautiful.