If I were to pick the two most difficult things I think a person could experience in life it would be divorce and death. In the last few years, I have lost two uncles and an aunt. The feelings and emotions I dealt with through these losses were beyond anything I ever imagined. I shed tears, reminisced over old memories of them and prayed hard for the longevity of my own husband, parents, sisters and kids. No one wants to suffer the ramifications of death. No one.
Divorce comes close to death and I say this because there is a similar sense of loss felt even when two unhappy adults decide to separate their lives for good. No matter how dysfunctional the relationship, divorce can be a stressful experience affecting finances, living arrangements, household jobs, schedules and more. If the family includes children, they may be deeply affected as well. Unless you have lived through divorce or helped someone get through it, you truly don’t understand the emotional and physical ramifications of it. To fully understand what the process is like you have to experience it firsthand.
In the last few years, a handful of family and friends I am close with have gone through divorce and for varied reasons of which are no one’s business but theirs. I say this especially because I am tired of watching and listening to “people” gossip endlessly when a couple, family or friend, decides to call it quits with their marriage. I’m using the word “people” in this post to mean the general population who may know the divorcing couple in question whether they are related through family or connected to them through friendship or work. “People” are very judgmental of others and especially when they are going through something as difficult as divorce. “People” find great pleasure in deciding amongst themselves the reason/s why the marriage failed without even walking in the couple’s shoes or knowing anything firsthand about the relationship the couple shared behind closed doors. “People” enjoy making rash judgements based on personality (which partner of the couple they liked better, which one was nicer) or they come to conclusions about the couple based on hearsay from others. Hearsay is no different than rumours. Above and beyond all else, “people” seek to choose themselves which partner they think is the cause of the couple’s separation. Did he cheat? Did she withhold physical affection? Did he abuse her physically? Mentally? The questions are endless and without knowing any real concrete facts, “people” come to their own conclusions and then share them openly with others. Really? Is this the kind of world we live in?
Having lived through divorce myself, I know firsthand how hurtful it can be to know that “people” are freely discussing your failed relationship even when you are not there. I know how difficult it is to know while some people show you genuine support, most people are passing judgement on you based on something as simple as “but I thought he was so nice”. It is beyond me how and why people feel they are entitled in anyway to draw conclusions on anyone’s relationship be it successful or not. NO one knows a couple’s relationship well enough unless they are the said couple or they are very close, immediate family who spend great lengths of time together. Other than that, what gives anyone the right to gossip about people who are going through one of the most difficult times of their lives? No one!
If you are a friend of a couple who is going through divorce, the best thing you can ever do to show your support of them (one of them or both) is to be there for them. Listen when needed, offer advice if asked and be available for comfort in the way of spending time with them. The minute you start questioning their decision to leave or start sharing the hearsay you got from so-and-so and s0-and-so who knows so-and-so, you are not being a good friend. The minute you find yourself talking about your friends’ failed relationship with others in a way that you know will most likely create and spread rumours, you are not being a good friend. It’s not that difficult to be kind and supportive of someone. Ignore the hearsay, don’ t talk about other people’s relationships with anyone and don’t pass judgement on something you have no right or premise to do.
As quick as you are to pass judgement on others, someone is doing the same to you.
How would you feel?