5 Things I Used to Judge About Divorcees (Until I Was One)

Broken HeartOnce upon a time, I was a happily married lady that would never, ever, in a million years get divorced. The D-word was not even in my vocabulary -- it wasn't even an option. Because only selfish people got divorced.

Isn't it funny how we get certain ideas in our heads sometimes about acceptable behavior? I've always been of the mindset that women should be "one and done" when it comes to domestic violence. If a man hits you in anger, you have every right to walk away, head held high. But without that, you need to stay put, because marriage is sacred.

In other words, I was a judgmental idiot that completely discounted the anguish a toxic relationship can place on a soul. I judged divorcees for not being strong enough to stay married, to keep it all together, to be the glue that bonded their families together. I did. I'm not proud of it now, and I didn't realize I was being prideful back then, and of course I tried to be kind and compassionate to those going through it, but somewhere in the dark corners of my heart, I thought to myself, "Thank God that will never be me."

Never let anyone tell you God doesn't have a sense of humor. Or that pride doesn't go before a fall.

So here I am, 31 years old, 2 kids, and an ex-husband. I'm a divorcee. A label I'm neither proud of nor offended by -- but one that is now part of who I am. And hopefully I've learned my lesson on judging others.

Here are five things I used to judge about divorcees (until I was one).

They were selfish. They put their own happiness first instead of having a sacrificial attitude toward keeping the family together. Now I know there's only so much you can sacrifice before every single day is a trial and you feel like you can't even function like a normal human being.

They were bad communicators. Everything can be worked out if you talk about it long enough, right? Wrong. When two people want very different things, it doesn't matter how much you tell the other person your perspective if they're unwilling to bend or compromise.

They were lazy. Relationships are hard work, and people that chose divorce over working out their issues just weren't willing to tough it out. Now I know that dissolving a marriage and dealing with the fallout of it all is hard work, and not for the faint of heart or weak-willed.

They didn't put their kids first. There have been countless studies done showing the benefit of being raised in a stable, two-parent home. Obviously people that chose divorce weren't doing the best they could for their kids. The fact of the matter is that every situation is unique and can't be summed up by some study. My ex and I are both better parents to our kids now, and they're doing great. It turns out that being raised in a home with near-constant tension isn't good for kids after all.

They didn't have faith. Faith in God, faith in themselves, faith that things will get better ... didn't matter, they just didn't have faith. Maybe sometimes the true faith is trusting that things will turn out OK when you do the best you can. Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away from from a bad situation. It turns out that it takes a tremendous amount of faith to make a major life decision -- even divorce.

Have you ever been knocked off your high horse?


Image via David Goehring/Flickr



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colts14 colts14

Yep, I was knocked off my high horse 7 years ago. I thought all of this too, but learned that at least for me none of it is true.

HeywoodJ HeywoodJ

Y'know, it's remarkable how you keep offering vague justifications for divorcing your husband, Jenny, yet you loudly claim to be a Christian. How come you never ever ever ever ever offer a single specific reason for divorcing your husband that squares with the permissible reasons for divorce set forth in the Bible?

You go into excruciating detail on everything else about your divorce & your post-divorce activities, so don't fall back on your "sense of propriety" to explain this one area of silence. You spray countless pixels across cyberspace trumpeting your status as Totally A Divorcée Now, You Guys … but the one thing you never discuss is your justification for destroying your marriage. Everything about you is divorce divorce divorce, 24/7/365. It's who you are.

You've done the blogosphere version of a Kanye West act in your bid for attention. "Yo Leif, I’m really happy for you, Imma let you finish but I had one of the best divorces of all time…one of the best divorces of all time!"

So just buck up and tell us exactly why you torpedoed your marriage. You're determined to turn your decision into performance art, so stop denying everyone the money shot.


WOWZERS! Way to judge a person. I am not Jennys biggest cheerleader, but I really feel I have to stick up for her. You can be a Christian and have foibles, everybody does. One doesn't have to be battered or maimed for someone to pull the trigger on their marriage. It isn't anyone's business why she got divorced except for the two people in the marriage. It's not Christian to judge...Ya know, lest we be judged. I think THAT was in the Bible.

nonmember avatar andie

I have to parrot what Prima487 says. It's none of your business, Heywood, so back off.

nonmember avatar Zach

I don't agree with 98% of what Jenny writes in her columns, but she's entitled to her opinion and her privacy. I hope she's learned not to be so quick to judge people. And btw, Christians in this country have a higher rate of divorce than non-Christians and non-believers.

nonmember avatar Tava

This is the first article I've read by Jenny, but after reading the comments I went back to see others and since divorce is a Top Topic for her, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask, "Why did your marriage end?" Of course it would only be one side of the story and there are always three sides, but Jenny is clearly effected by this decision, which appears to be hers, to end the marriage. Court order not to talk about the decree? Or maybe it was in a previous blog and we missed it.

berit berit

HeywoodJ, I completely agree. And the Kanye bit was hilarious

nonmember avatar Sabine

Jenny got divorced because she married the wrong person.

I mean, that much is obvious. She didn't even wanna kiss him on her wedding day... when she was only 19 years old. Some people have shoes older than that.

belie... believeitornot

Ha...I knew who wrote this before I even clicked on it...

nonmember avatar bette

@Tava, just so you'll know a little more about the woman who wrote the column above: she has been writing for this web site and has been blogging for many years, and has been the epitome of a judgmental, holier than thou, right wing Republican tea partier. (Not that all Republicans are like that, but she sure is.) It is my hope that her divorce will make her see that differing opinions and different ways of seeing the world don't make others wrong - only different. For instance, she was vehemently opposed to gay marriage - until her marriage fell apart. I suspect that her core values haven't really changed, but maybe her experience will lead her to having some compassion and empathy for others. Sometimes a divorce is the best thing that happens to a person - if it means they become more human.

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