7 Pieces of Bad 'Advice' You Get When Going Through a Divorce

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Opinions are like belly buttons -- everyone has one. Especially when they are trying to “help” someone that they feel is making a very bad decision. You know, like getting divorced.

In the five months since I left my husband, I’ve received more than a few pieces of advice on how to save my marriage. Most of it is well intentioned, I’m sure, and since I’m not really getting into the dirty details of what went on behind closed doors, I don’t blame people for hoping that reconciliation is possible.

That being said, some people are really pushy when it comes to the “magic formula” for fixing any marriage. Something I didn’t understand before this process is that by the time someone up and files for divorce and moves out, the marriage is usually DOA.

If you find yourself being bombarded with unwanted relationship advice when you’re trying to move on from a very broken marriage, here are some responses you might use to get people to mind their own business. And if you’re one of those happily married people, good for you. All you need to say is, “I’m so sorry to hear ... here’s a gift card to Chipotle.”

  1. Just stay married -- it will get better. Tell you what. You marry him, live with him for 11 years, bear two of his children, then get back to me about how long a person is supposed to wait for “things to get better.” What’s the definition of insanity again? Oh yeah, doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.
  2. You guys need a date night. Right. Because if you don’t enjoy spending time with each other at home, everything will change once move into a public setting and pay for the privilege. Especially when your hubby is a self-proclaimed agoraphobic. Dates aren’t a recipe for stress at all! Or something.
  3. As a woman, you can’t expect that he’ll ever appreciate you enough. I’m sorry, but did you just insinuate that the demise of my marriage was my fault because I have impossible expectations about gratitude? That must be why I chose to become a mother.
  4. Don’t you want to honor your commitment? Sometimes the marriage contract is broken before someone files for divorce.
  5. You need to stay together for the kids. Actually the children are very well settled. They are happier, healthier, getting better grades, and generally loving the routine that can’t exist in a home filled with chaos and tension.
  6. Have you seen Fireproof? Yes. I loved that the fictional characters were able to work it out in the end.
  7. I have the perfect book/conference/counselor that can help you guys! Really? Is it on how to transition from marriage into an amicable co-parenting relationship? Because this is all new to me, and that advice might be helpful.

If all else fails, just stare blankly at Melly Meddlesome and say, “I can’t believe you really just said that.” Remember, this is your business and no one else’s, and no one has to live your life but you.

What's the worst advice for couples going through a divorce you've heard?


Image via Courtney Carmody/Flickr

breakups, divorce, exes, marriage


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erica-3 erica-3

Someone had the nerve to ask if me and my ex were having enough sex. Um, what? I said I wasn't, but he apparently was.

Survi... Survivingthe2nd

I have been approached with all 7 of these.. my goodness!

nonmember avatar Mark

Marriage is a sacrament. Divorce should be the final option. And trust me, I have had a rough marriage at times. You work it out, go to counseling, whatever. In most cases, divorce should not be an option.

mamat... mamatreat

Good for you Mark.  So glad you voiced your opinion on the "sacrament."  How do you sum up what a non christian marriage? Should everyone that wants a divorce have to get your approval or the approval of the government?  Don't like divorce- don't get one.  Every couple divorces for a different reason and every divorce has its different ups and downs.  Don't pretend you know what is going on in other people's lives or how repairable their relationship is.

mande... manderspanders

I agree with Mark.  Most people who divorce truly haven't a damned clue what a *BAD* marriage is.

I'm divorced and remarried.  My ex was crazy...mentally ill and emotionally/verbally abusive and manipulative, I tried for 8 years... but a gal can only take so much abuse and isolarion.

Worst "advice": if you would have just listened to begin with, you wouldn't be in this situation. 

Cuz yea, ya know... we all make great choices all the time.

LawNO... LawNOrderMommy

I agree with both Mark and Mamatreat for different parts of their opinions. Mamatreat is right, if you don't like divorce then don't get one. Everyone has the right to do what's best for them and the situation they are in. I also agree with Mark though that divorce should be the final option. If you and your partner have tried to make it work but it just isn't happening then you shouldn't be made to feel bad for not "being able to tough it out". Divorce is an incredibly personal thing that is different in each case, there is no catch all answer to repairing a marriage and stopping a divorce from happening.

nonmember avatar Nina

I have heard many of these and I have one to add. Several people suggested my (then) husband and I simply "go away for the weekend... just the two of you." What is wrong with people? I didn't even want to be in my own house with him, much less go away for the weekend with him!

nonmember avatar robert108

Lots of hate in this article. Maybe he is also better off, although you obviously don't care about him. Having been divorced, I was appalled at the hatred from my ex-wife, after years of pretending she loved me. I have refrained from marriage ever since, as I don't trust women anymore; they are too skilled at projecting false feelings to get what they want.
In all fairness, a divorce is the fault of both parties, and this screed was pretty one-sided.
I feel sorry for the author.

nonmember avatar lazlo

So, for advice #1 you 'wait' for it to get better? So it's all up to him is it? I guess actually investing in the relationship is a non starter for you.
#2 Dang the guy has a debilitating condition, how inconvenient for you. I wonder if it bothers him as well
#3 Get defensive much? As in #1 they are 'His' kids anyway.
#4 So, once a commitment is broken by one side, you are free of your end of it?
#5 But are they better than they would be if the home was a happy one? Cart before Horse logic.
#6 So the real problem with this one is your repressed guilt about your religion aversion
#7 Classic Passive Aggressive posturing. No one can know the depths of your trouble, so helpful hints are all attacks in disguise.
Lady, you are a classic Passive Aggressive modern woman with monumental daddy issues and aversion to any self responsibility for anything around you.
Your snarky writing does not hide what is inside; a bitter person, mad a the Guy who, if only he were different somehow he would meet your high expectations.
I'm sorry for all your friends and acquaintances, they sound like real Pains to be around.

Tomat... TomatoPotato

I got married at 19. I was told that I was just too young when I got married to know how to be successful at a marriage--except that we started the divorce process when I was 27 and after 8 YEARS of marriage. My marriage wasn't failing because I was too young, it failed because my husband was emotionally abusive.

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