I recently read an article called, “Life Hacks You Don’t Need”. The author listed things like using coffee grounds to get rid of under-eye bags, hemorrhoid crème to decrease under-eye puffiness, dunking your face into a bowl of cold water to set your makeup and other interesting, albeit a tad crazy, things. I thought about some things I heard after I divorced that are similar to these “life hacks” (not at all interesting, but totally crazy):
1. “Just Get Over It!” Okay, this may not necessarily be a hack, but I heard this from sooo many people! I was married for almost 25 years. One does not just “get over it” after investing that much time in a relationship. It takes time and some good counseling.
2. “We Didn’t Like Him Anyway” Your friends and family may want to be ‘encouraging’ by saying this, but it’s far from encouraging. I may not have made the best decision, but at the time, I thought it was. Can you just keep your opinions to yourself?
3. “There Are Lots of Other Fish in The Sea” What, is there a fishing rod sticking out of my back pocket? I am not a serial dater/marry-er. What if I just want to be alone for a while? What if I just want to step back and take a look at my life and where I want to go? Getting back into the dating pool takes time and courage. Dating isn’t it used to be 30 years ago! Who even says I need to date at all?
4. “What Are You Going to do With Your Newfound Freedom?” Granted, at times it may have seemed to me like I was in a prison. However, I had three amazing children, I home schooled them, and basically had a good life. Ex didn’t beat me or try to control me. I am thankful for that. Give me time to adjust to a new ‘normal’. Let me figure out how to live as me. I can’t just run right out there and jump into a different life.
5. “He Wasn’t That Good (Nice, Handsome, etc.) Anyway” We all have our faults. I was no angel during the latter years of my marriage. Stop passing judgement. He is who he is and now we are divorced.
It has been my experience that people often don’t know what to say when they hear about a particularly rough experience in another’s life. Most people are not that good at being encouraging and tend to blurt out their first thought. The majority of people told me, “Oh, I’m sorry.” I learned to say, “Thank you” instead of “I’m not!”
We need to be compassionate toward our friends who are going through a divorce. If we don’t know what to say, be quiet or say, “I don’t know what to say.” Be there for that friend – listen, take them out for a cup of coffee or for dinner. Don’t pass judgement on them or their ex. Be kind and give grace. Stay tuned . . .