I’ve noticed that the most difficult part about telling people that I am getting divorced is having to hold space for their story in the midst of, and as a result of, telling mine. When you tell people you are getting married, it’s all about YOU, your audience is giggly and excited and they all ask the same questions about when and where the wedding will be, how did he propose, etc. When you tell people you are getting divorced, you become the audience to the dramatic saga of their divorce and/or their parents’ divorce. You also become privy to a lot of man hating which continues to baffle me.
On another day, I could sit with these stories. I am good at that. People come to me to tell me their stories regularly, and I enjoy being able to listen and acknowledge them. But today I am getting divorced, and if I have bothered to tell you that, it is not because I wanted to hear about how horrible it was for you when your parents divorced, how it ruined your life or how AWFUL it is for children when their parents get divorced nor do I want to hear how “all men are scum” or to be asked “Why on earth I would go and do a thing like that?!” Because this is my story and in my story all men are not scum, my soon-to-be-ex-husband and father of my child is not scum and I am sorry, I am so so sorry that your parents’ divorce was traumatic for you, but you know what? Parents living together in misery is also hard for children, and my son is going to be fine. He has two parents who love him and they always will and that’s what matters.
So my request is this: the next time someone tells you they are getting divorced just give them a HUG. If they cry, let them cry. Make them a cup of tea or offer to go for a walk and just LISTEN. You don’t have to agree with them or their choices, but let them have their own story and then maybe they’ll have enough space in their heart to hear yours too.