Stop It, With Divorce Shame

There are a lot of nasty rumors about Divorce:

Divorce is the easy way out

Divorce means you didn’t try hard enough

Divorce means you don’t take marriage seriously

Divorce is a failure


Not true.

Stop saying these things to yourself and to anyone else.

Most people that have been through a divorce will tell you that there is nothing easy about it. And, when I mentioned to a handful of people that I was thinking of writing about divorce, I was met with a resounding “Yes, please!”

People do not get married with the intention of getting divorced. They don’t gather their friends and family in a celebration of love with the hopes that the relationship will end.

Divorce is a devastating process made worse by the social implication that you somehow failed. You did not fail.

You tried and then something (or somethings) happened. Something that only you and your partner know.

This was the clear message conveyed to my by every person I talked to about this topic. Some variation of “only the two people that were married know the intimate details about what happened” so please stop thinking you know what happened, you don’t. And, please stop judging people for making this extremely challenging life decision. The truth is, most people that go through it are so incredibly hard on themselves, they don’t need their support system saying “they’ve failed” or “they took the easy way out.”

Why not instead, try and offer support. Maybe listen without making judgements or offering advice and please keep what they share with you in confidence.

Staying unhappily married is ridiculous. I think most people really try to figure out a way to make it work before coming to the conclusion to end their marriage. As Bryan put it when we talked about this post, “You don’t win a prize for being miserable.” It is not noble to stay unhappily married because it is what you are supposed to do.

Because people think in black and white (when the whole world is shades of grey). This post does not imply people should not try to make their relationships work. Again, I believe most people do try (hard) to make their relationships work.

In terms of religion, I am no theologian but I do know that The Greatest of These is Love cuts across all the major religions. So, instead of thinking you have the right to judge maybe you really only have the right to love?

I’m going to say this a lot through these posts because it’s true: even when we try and do our best the bottom fails out from under us and we have to make decisions we never dreamed we would have to make.

So, if you know someone going through a divorce don’t assume you know why or what is happening. And if you are the one going through the divorce, be nice to yourself, it’s the healthiest way to move forward.


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4 thoughts on “Stop It, With Divorce Shame

  1. A poignant reminder of exactly how I should be treating myself right now, thank you for this post. One of the most important lessons I am learning as I navigate this process is remembering that “what other people think is none of my business”. I’ve had people express their opinions to me regarding my divorce but what I have found is that most people don’t say anything at all. Initially this caused me more anxiety because I wondered what they were thinking and often imagined in my mind all kinds of catastrophic scenarios. Were they judging me for my decision? Did they know the whole story or only his side of it? Should I tell them my side of the story too to make them understand where I was coming from? It was exhausting to worry about what others may or may not have been thinking about a very personal decision in my life. Once I was able to start letting go of caring what others thought, I found a new freedom. I cannot lie and say that I don’t still wonder what other people think and sometimes my mind still wanders to the “worst case scenario” perspective but not nearly as much as before. I’ve come to accept that I did the best I could with the resources and options I had available to me at that time. I truly believe that all people are doing the best they can with what they have available to them at any point in time and I am no exception.
    “Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of, it’s yours”. -Unknown


  2. Thank you so much for sharing your heartfelt reflections on this!
    What kept coming back is that “only the two people in it know what happened” And to be honest a lot of people talked about “what side were people on.”
    I wanted to write about this to bring the taboo topic of divorce out of the shadows and right into the bright lights because as we both know Brene Brown says “the antidote to shame is empathy.”
    Linz, I hope you know, I think you’re amazing and I think your COURAGE with the openness of your comment makes my heart explode with so much love.


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