Divorce can be one of the most challenging periods in a person’s life, filled with a myriad of emotions and changes.
During this vulnerable time, the support of loved ones is invaluable.
Yet, sometimes even well-intentioned words can be hurtful. In “What Not to Say to Someone Getting Divorced”, we’ll explore phrases that might seem supportive but can unintentionally cause pain.
15 Things You Should Never Say to Someone Getting Divorced
“I always knew he/she wasn’t right for you.”
Why: This suggests that the person made a poor choice from the beginning, which can make them feel regretful or even more down about their past decisions.
“So, when are you going to start dating again?”
Why: It implies that moving on quickly or finding a new partner should be their priority. They might need time to heal and process before even thinking of dating again.
“Who gets the house/kids/pets?”
Why: This can seem intrusive. Divorce settlements are private matters and can be incredibly emotional.
“I never liked him/her anyway.”
Why: Even if it’s meant to be supportive, it might make the person feel that their entire marriage was a mistake or that others were judging them throughout.
“You think this is bad? My friend’s divorce was way worse.”
Why: This diminishes their feelings and experiences. Everyone’s pain and situation is unique.
“At least you’re still young and can remarry.”
Why: It presumes that remarriage is a solution or even something they’re interested in. This also implies that their age is a factor in their worth or ability to find happiness.
“Didn’t you see this coming?”
Why: This insinuates that they were naive or ignorant, further adding to their emotional burden.
Why: It suggests they were being deceptive or that their pain wasn’t genuine since they appeared fine online.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Why: While meant to be comforting, it can feel dismissive of the very real pain and chaos they are experiencing.
“What did you do to cause this?”
Why: This directly places blame on them and assumes that the divorce was their fault.
“Are you sure you tried everything to save the marriage?”
Why: This questions their commitment and effort in the relationship, which they’re likely already questioning themselves.
“Now you can join the singles’ club!”
Why: It makes light of their situation and presumes they’re happy or excited about being single.
“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”
Why: It trivializes the deep emotional bond and history they had with their partner.
“So, are you going to be financially okay?”
Why: Money matters can be a significant stressor during divorce, and bringing it up can be seen as prying or suggesting they can’t manage on their own.
“Maybe if you two take a vacation, things will work out.”
Why: This oversimplifies the complexities of why marriages end and can seem naive or dismissive of their very real issues.
Be Aware of the Emotions Someone Going through a Divorce Is Experiencing
Divorce can be one of the most emotionally turbulent experiences in a person’s life.
The emotional journey varies for each individual based on the circumstances of the divorce, the relationship dynamics, and personal coping mechanisms.
However, there are several common emotions that many people experience during the process:
Grief: Similar to the grief felt after the death of a loved one, individuals might grieve the loss of their marriage, shared dreams, and future plans.
Anger: This emotion can arise due to feelings of betrayal, perceived injustices in the divorce proceedings, or resentment over the breakdown of the relationship.
Fear: The future can seem uncertain after a divorce. There can be fear about financial security, the well-being of children, or the thought of being alone.
Relief: If the marriage was especially tumultuous or abusive, there might be feelings of relief that the relationship is ending.
Loneliness: Even if one knows that the divorce is for the best, they can still feel lonely without their partner, especially if they were together for a long time.
Shame or Embarrassment: Some might feel that they’ve failed or worry about how society perceives them after a divorce.
Guilt: One might feel guilty for wanting the divorce, for the way the relationship ended, or for the impact it has on children or mutual friends.
Rejection: If the decision to divorce was primarily initiated by one party, the other might feel unwanted or unloved.
Confusion: The end of a marriage can bring up questions about one’s self-worth, the authenticity of past feelings, and doubts about one’s judgment.
Hope: In the midst of the pain, some individuals might also feel hope—a belief that the future holds happiness, that they’ll find love again, or that they can rebuild and live a life more aligned with their values.
Regret: There might be moments of second-guessing the decision, wondering if things could’ve turned out differently with varied actions or choices.
Jealousy: Seeing an ex-spouse move on with someone else or appear to be happier post-divorce can stir up feelings of jealousy.
Overwhelm: The logistical aspects of divorce, like dividing assets or determining custody, can be emotionally taxing and feel overwhelming.
Supporting a friend or loved one through a divorce requires sensitivity and understanding.
The end of a marriage is complex and deeply personal, and it’s essential to approach conversations with empathy.
Simple phrases, even if meant in good spirit, can exacerbate the pain or make someone feel misunderstood.
By being cautious and compassionate in our choice of words, we can truly offer the kind of support that someone navigating divorce genuinely needs.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.