This post is my first Guest Post, by my friend Cara. She is a fabulous jewelry designer (you can find her website here) and recently divorced. She is looking for advice on how to connect with other divorced moms in the most positive way, something she is finding challenging. If you have advice, she’s all ears.
Ten months ago, when my divorce became imminent, I remember thinking, “No one I know is divorced.” The thought was isolating, sobering. Now, due either to the laws of attraction or simple statistics, every other person I meet seems to be in some stage of divorce. In conversation, when we establish that we’re among the ranks of the Divorced in some way, we have an obvious common ground and simple questions are asked: Who’s your lawyer? Have you filed yet? How’s *it* going? All above board and fairly impersonal.
Sometimes, though, the conversation quickly degrades into a marriage/spouse bashing session. A hue of “This is why I deserve my divorce” is added to the exchange. I don’t discount the need for support and the feeling that we are not alone on this hellish journey to single status. I do loathe the back and forth about who did what and wants what and on and on. I have had those discussions and I don’t find them to be particularly healing or even cathartic. I have found that they can make me feel worse.
I know divorce is a gut-wrenching experience and that sometimes people need to just spew their anger and frustration about it. During the process people find out more about themselves, their to-be-ex-spouse (and friends and parents, for that matter) than they might have wanted to know. For me, I found out that I’m not comfortable airing my dirty laundry. I also didn’t want to Monday Morning Quarterback my whole marriage nor did I want to relive it. (If I’d wanted that, I could have just stayed married.) I don’t mind sharing the facts but you aren’t going to find me bad-mouthing my spouse to everyone I know. My goal is to leave my marriage in the past. If I am talking about how upset my ex-husband makes me, then I can’t do that.
My problem is, then, how do I deal with other divorced moms (usually, with a dad here and there) who bash their ex-spouse? Does it make me insensitive or unsupportive to not want to perpetuate the bashing cycle? Do I stand there, smile weakly and nod or do I find a way to force the conversation down a more positive path? Is it even my place to dictate the flow of the conversation? What do you think?