The Big Tell: I’m Getting Divorced

Having to tell your family and friends you’re getting Divorced can be a surprisingly difficult part of the process. At a really awful time in your life, when you’re already dealing with all the turmoil and fear and uncertainty, one of the last things you may want is to run into a friend at Starbucks who asks, “So what’s new?”

Author Wendy Paris, writing for Psychology Today’s website, believes that the act of telling others about your split is actually a great opportunity. She explains that marriages exist within communities, and members of those communities can be confused by a Divorce. So the way you break the news helps the community see how you’re viewing it, and lets them know what to expect.

The key to handling it well is, like so many things in life, preparation. Paris suggests developing an “elevator speech,” a term from the business/networking world, which means a quick, organized, presentation — but instead of pitching yourself or your product, you’re describing your Divorce. And she offers some steps  to creating a good one, among them:

  • Define the Divorce. Position your split in a way that gives you more strength, not less. If it’s amicable, say so. If it’s not, say you’re working toward amicability. Avoid, or at least limit, criticisms of your ex. This is about you. Accentuate the positive.
  •  Issue a call to action. Keep in mind that most people will be thinking “How does this affect me?” So, depending on who they are, give them a task. From a good friend, you may ask for support. From an acquaintance, perhaps a set-up when you’re ready to date again. This call to action turns the conversation from “why” to “what’s next.”
  • Always be closing. Be ready to shift topics once you’ve finished saying what you want. A simple, “Anyway, what’s new with you?” should suffice.

Read the full article for more detail. And, you may want to check out Wendy Paris’s very highly rated book, “Splitopia: Dispatches From Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well.” Wendy chronicles her own Divorce in real time, concluding that though it’s no one’s first choice, Divorce can lead to a more fulfilled life. Huh, sounds a lot like what we preach here at Divorced Over 50…