When we marry, it is said that not only do we marry the person with whom we will be legally wed, but that person’s family and friends, and shared communities as well. Therefore, the same thing goes for when we divorce.
As hard as it may be to decide to divorce, it is also extremely hard to tell others of your decision.
As with anything you are “selling,” a divorce should also have a rehearsed elevator speech of sorts, which allows for you and your soon-to-be ex to get all the necessary information across, short and sweet.
Here are steps to writing your divorce short story:
Figure Out the Right Narrative
First, figure out how you want your divorce to be seen by others. It is important to define your divorce in the way in which you would like for it to be perceived by others – one that will provide you with strength.
If you are fighting with your spouse, but want to get along, think of your message in much the same way as you think of interviewing for a job. Explain what you want your situation to be and paint your current circumstances in the best light. It is good to remain positive and not bad-mouth anyone. You should look at this as an opportunity to focus on what it is that you want going forward.
Explain What Part Someone Else is to Play
It is a natural human reaction for people to think of the news of your divorce in the context in which it will affect them. It is helpful to focus on how they can assist and what they can do. Maybe you want emotional support or physical presence.
No matter what you are looking for, this gives you the opportunity to avoid further delving into the “why” of things, and focusing more on what can be done going forward. Remember, it is also important to understand that people often need time to digest the information.
Share How You Are Doing with the People that Matter
Whether it is a family member or a friend who is concerned with how you are doing, it is helpful to explain to them, to the extent that you are comfortable, where you are “at.” Depending upon the person, they may be interested in what you need; or how it will impact their relationship with your soon-to-be ex; while another may be interested in arranging a playdate for their child and yours.
Sharing this personal news with your boss and colleagues may be necessary. This is because your schedule and needs may change. For example, you may need more time available for things such as therapy and meeting with an attorney. You may also want to speak with your HR department, as there may be available benefits to you.
Sharing the news with your children will be dependent upon their age and their developmental level. It is best not to burden your kids with more than what it is that they need to know. Sharing unnecessary information, such as the technicalities of child custody or visitation, may only serve to upset them more.
When possible, if you can break the news to the children together with your spouse in a calm manner, and reinforce your love for the them, it will be the best way to cushion the blow.
Be Sure to “Close” the Conversation Once You Get Your Points Across
Once you have explained all that you feel that you want to, it is important to “close” the conversation before you say anything that you may regret, or before someone asks something else that you do not feel comfortable with answering.
A good way of handling this is by asking the other person questions about themselves, so that the attention is no longer on you.
Update Facts as Things Change
Divorce changes as time goes by. It makes sense that what you say and the things that you focus on will change with it.