What a Divorced Mom Wants You to Know

“People just don’t try anymore.”

That phrase burns when it hits my ears. Have you heard it before? It usually follows the news of a married couple splitting up. I get the thought process when you hear the news of a separation after 72 days :: side eye:: but there’s more to it than that. Me being a divorced woman, I hate hearing it. I’ll explain why.

After getting married mere weeks after I graduated college, my ex-husband and I divorced after a little over four years. I’m remarried now, but navigating this life hasn’t been easy. I’ve found solidarity in other women (and men!) who have been on this very tough journey, and we tend to have the same sentiments. Here are some things I want to share.

I probably won’t tell you why.

Asking someone why they got divorced is a pretty personal question. Also, it’s one-sided and hearing just my side isn’t fair. My ex-husband and I have a child together, so I’m not going speak negatively about him. However, if that inappropriate question is raised, I just answer with something vague. Or say “irreconcilable differences” like I’m a celebrity. 

It embarrassing and isolating. 

Now that it’s been several years, I feel confident that we made the right decision. At the time, however, it was … embarrassing. There was a huge wedding, tons of Facebook pictures depicting a happy, perfect life that essentially came to a halt. I hated telling people we were separated, and the subsequent questions were awful. When the idea of what you thought your life was going to look like changes, you can feel very alone. I found it helpful to try to focus on a fitness goal to beat feeling constantly sad.

I actually really, really tried.

When someone goes through the long, tedious, and expensive process of separating from their spouse, it’s not an overnight decision. By the time a person files, the marriage is already over. Chances are you’ve exhausted every other avenue to try to make things work, including counseling, prayer, books, and advice from elders. Moving forward with separation after doing all of that left me feeling defeated, but I can say that I tried. 

The guilt and shame of being divorced still creeps in every once in a while. It’s difficult figuring out scheduling for a person who has two parents that love him very much, but who don’t live together. Not to mention continuing a co-parenting relationship. Divorce can be seen as a “selfish” decision, but children deserve to see their parents at their best, even if it’s not with each other. 

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