ten don'ts and one do in dealing with separated or divorced people

I am growing so very weary of the dramatics that surround people who make a show of knowing everything about something when they know absofrickenluty nothing at all.… so this was written for them… 

This is a list of ten Don’ts and one Do for those of you who have never been abandoned by your spouse but may know someone who has…

No doubt this list would work in any situation – though maybe that’s just the wee bit of pride I have left talking.  Or maybe I’m just in one hell of a serious Clark W. Griswold Jr. Don’t Piss Me Off Art! frame of mind - because I think everyone should understand the art of conversation/communication, and so few really do...

On with the list: 

Ten Don't s and One Do When Dealing With Separated/Divorced People 

1.  Don’t tell someone you know how it feels to be living alone for the first time ever because your spouse is always outside, in the barn, watching tv, working on a hobby…  excuse me, but doesn’t that mean you still have a spouse?

2.  Don’t ask how someone feels and then respond to their heartfelt turmoil with a four paragraph story about why you are too busy to respond properly - and then never bother to respond at all…

3.  Don’t spend time explaining to someone why certain people can’t live without a mate after you have just been told their ex is showing off a replacement a few short months after their marriage has legally ended…  stick a knife in and twist it why don’t ya?

4.  Don’t tell someone to call if there is anything they need if you are only going to spend time telling them why you are not available when they finally gain enough courage to ask…

5.  Don’t offer advice in the form of an order…  (any sentence with “YOU NEED TO” in it is an order) If you don’t live in their house, pay their bills or live their life; you got no clue and you got no right.

6.  Don’t tell someone who just poured their heart out to you that their spouse would have never done that – obviously they did and it took a tremendous amount of courage to share that secret with you.

    On the other hand;  

7.   Don’t simply believe what you hear.  There are always two sides to every story but in this situation only one of those stories will be completely true – care enough to look for, and at, the truth.    

8.   Don’t assume someone’s grieving is ever over – assume instead that YOU just got tired of listening.

9.   Don’t say you know how it is, you understand how it feels, or ever EVER offer advice unless you have been there in the same exact form.  Meaning; if you are the one who abandoned your spouse you know jack $*** about  how it feels to be abandoned so keep your mouth shut.
     In the same respect;

10.   Don’t play the ever so lovely; “My situation was far worse than yours because…” card… the object is always to GIVE support not GET support.

And, finally the ONE and only Do:

1.   LISTEN. FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. AND, unless you are opening it to validate someone’s feelings or offer genuine support, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.


  1. Replies
    1. thank you.... and about time do you not think?

  2. Ah, Dear Annie... you took the words right out of my mouth. I had a brief moment of self pity again the other day and someone told me I "just need to let it go." Easy to say when you've never been there. Even eight years later, there are still times when it can hurt . Hugs to you!

    1. Exactly! Though i never would, i so want to say; "I know exactly how I will respond to you when your crisis hits..." Huge hugs right back to you! x

  3. Having been through a separation and divorce albeit many moons ago, I wish I'd had this list to pass to 'friends' at the time. Time is a healer they say. Thank Christ for that say I!

    1. thank you for that reminder Alistair... i do need to look at how far i have come and how much i have accomplished on my own and focus on those things i am finding instead of dwelling on that which i have lost. god if it were only that easy...

  4. Sigh...people can be so insensitive, can't they! Sending you vibes of strength and endurance.

    1. much appreciated Rebecca - and yes, there are some who don't stop to think before they speak. hearts can sometimes not handle truths when they are in such fragile form.

  5. I've never been divorced, but I do think you're right about this applying in many situations. Shut up and listen, and keep shutting up and listening.

    Thanks so much for joining my site. I "know" you as Indigo's friend, and I'm delighted that you've cone over. And I love the coffee beans here. Feeling livelier already.

  6. A lot of those things are just common sense...which makes me wonder (and this wouldn't be the first time) how dumb some people can be???!!

    I am sorry Eolist, about everything you are going through. I am glad you wrote this...very well said.