Sharing your divorce: it’s uncomfortable, but sometimes you can’t avoid it.
I’m a licensed therapist and divorce coach, and here’s my tips on how to navigate those difficult conversations.
Avoid Trying to Get People On Your Side
Although it’s a natural desire, avoid trying to form alliances or getting your loved ones to choose sides. This is not only unnecessary and unhelpful, but harmful in the long run. Take peace in knowing that both you and God already know your side of the story, and it’s nobody else’s business.
Understand That People Are Naturally Nosy
Going through my own divorce, I learned the reason people usually want to know the intimate details of your marriage is so they can make sure it doesn’t happen to them. Because my ex and I looked like the perfect couple on the outside, some of the people close to us thought, “If it can happen to them, then it can happen to us.” Knowing what went wrong in your marriage also makes people feel better about themselves because they think, “Oh, at least we’re not like that.”
Remember – it’s natural for people to be curious and gossipy, even our Christian friends.
Put Together an Elevator Pitch
Your elevator pitch is your go-to statement that’s short, to the point, and doesn’t make people take sides.
For example, my statement was: “Yes, we’ve decided to get a divorce. And my soon-to-be ex and I have decided we’re not going to share the details of our relationship outside of what our children don’t already know.” As my kids are the most important people in my life, my boundary was that I didn’t tell people information that I wouldn’t tell my kids. Your boundaries might look different.
Here’s the caveat. Decide who is going to be on your “A” team – probably your 2 or 3 closest friends – and spill your heart out to them. These are the trusted people you can vent to, lean on for support, and go axe-throwing with (just kidding!).
There’s also nothing like therapy, especially if you find yourself without this close group of friends. I relied heavily on my therapist during my divorce as I had a lot of processing to do and things to figure out. I also didn’t want to over-burden my friends and have every conversation of ours center around my divorce.
Of course, if you’re looking for more support, the RISEilient Divorce Recovery Weekend for Women is being held October 15-17, 2021 in Corbett, OR. Read more about this powerful healing weekend here.