What Do I Say When People Ask About the Divorce?

Going through a divorce is difficult.  Not only from a financial and emotional perspective, but from a societal one as well.  People are nosy, rude and insensitive; especially when someone they know is going through a divorce.  Everyone wants "the dirt" on "what's really going on."  Even some well-meaning friends and family can pry too much, reopening wounds and increasing your anxiety.  Handling questions from friends and family can be extremely difficult.  How can you handle these questions?

Your right to privacy

Remember, the fact that you are going through a divorce does not mean that your life has now become an open book for all to read.  You still have a right to privacy.  What happens in your divorce case and between you and your soon-to-be ex is none of anyone else's business.  It may be difficult, but remaining silent about your divorce case is a perfectly acceptable and reasonable response to busybodies.

Do not encourage gossip

This means do not engage in it yourself.  There is a phrase widely used on the internet that says "Don't feed the trolls."  A troll is someone who posts intentionally inflammatory or offensive comments in hopes of getting a reaction from others.  The more you respond to (or "feed") the troll, the more satisfaction they get and the more comments they make.  The same holds true for gossipers in your daily life.  The more you "feed" them, the more they will gossip.  While you should definitely have a close circle of friends or relatives to lean on and draw emotional support from, resist the urge to trash your ex or go into all of the sordid details of the breakup.  Although those kinds of stories can be a juice topic of conversation, they are also the things that will get distorted and spread quickly.  Not only can that hurt reputations, but it might also get back to your ex and hinder efforts to settle the case.  Why put yourself through the worry of who has heard what?  Staying mum is much more prudent.

What do you say?

Try as you might to keep silent, there are some people who simply will not get the hint.  For that situation, it is best to have a prepared phrase memorized that you can throw out there.  Something simple like, "I'm making it one day at a time and I appreciate your thoughts and prayers," or "Thank you for your concern.  It gets a little easier every day," gives you an easy response.  From there, ask something about the other person with something transitional like "Enough about me; how have you been?" to change the subject to something other than your divorce without appearing to be rude or nasty yourself.

All of this may be hard to do when the other party is intent on dragging the case through the gutter.  However, in a divorce case, not only from a strategic perspective but from a personal and emotional perspective, it is better to take the high road.  The scenery is better.

Photo courtesy of Francesco

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