11 Things Divorced People Want To Say To Our Married Friends

divorced people

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Before I got divorced, I had no idea what I would experience, and what life after divorce would look like. So, that being said, divorced people should remember that all of our married friends have no clue about what it’s like going through a divorce or being divorced.

Let’s help them out!

Here are 11 things divorced people want to say to their married friends and family.

1. Don’t judge divorced people.

It’s so easy for people to judge divorced people when they don’t have all the facts. Every divorce is beyond complicated, with countless factors that the couple must consider when making decisions. When I was first getting divorced, a woman in my community said to a friend of mine (who told me, of course), “Why would she ever divorce that guy? He’s such a great guy and a good dad!”

While I agree wholeheartedly with the woman about my ex-husband, we had our reasons. This judgmental woman was not living in our house and had no clue what our issues were. So, butt out! Also, people say things like, “I can’t believe she’s not going for sole custody!” or “How could she stay with him when he cheats all the time and she knows it?”

I can answer these questions by saying this to these judgmental people: Men and women getting divorced take ALL the factors into account when making decisions. We don’t take it lightly, so if you don’t have all the facts (which you don’t) we don’t want your or appreciate your opinion.



2. Do you really think we wanted to be divorced?

I recently had a heart to heart talk with an old friend about my divorce. I hadn’t seen her in many years and she never really knew why I got divorced. Until a few weeks ago, I think she was judging me. When we really talked, and I gave her the story, I think she understood. It’s easy to think someone jumped ship too easily, but honestly, when people get married, they do not want to be divorced, so whatever the reason , (whether you know specifics or not), you should believe it was a pretty good one.

3. Don’t pity us.

No divorced people want others to give them that look. Let me tell you about “that look.” It’s when you are first separated and everyone is finding out, and you run into someone and they give you this look like you just found out you are terminally ill. And then they say, “How are you?” with a sad smile. What you want to say is, “Well, things suck right now, but I’m on my way to a much better place! So, really, I’m excited for a wonderful future! How are YOU doing??”



4. Set us up!

I know your divorced friends love lives are not in the forefront of your mind every minute, but if you meet anyone single, set us up! Divorced people can lack self-confidence, so if you set someone up, that shows them that they are still attractive and wanted, and have the chance for love again. Also, divorced people can be lonely. So, even if you set someone up and the two people end up becoming friends, you’ve done something great!


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5. Please don’t call us pretending to be concerned when all you really want is the scoop.

When I was first getting divorced, I will never forget, I got two calls the same day. The first one was an old friend, who said, “OMG, I heard so and so moved out. What happened??” After that phone call, she never called me again, and I have never spoken to her since. The other call I got was from an old friend who left a message that said, “I’m just calling to make sure you are Okay. You don’t have to tell me anything or go into details, I just want to let you know I’m thinking about you and if you want to talk or get together, I’m here for you.” BIG difference. Love this girl!

6. Invite us out.

When I got divorced, many couples stopped inviting me out for dinner with them. I guess it was just too uncomfortable. I know it probably wasn’t personal, but it really hurt. A lot.

7. Don’t ask us about the divorce every time we get together.

There is a woman in my community who STILL asks me how things are with my divorce. It’s been 15 years! I am almost to the point where I cringe when I see her, even though she isn’t a bad person, just because I don’t want to talk about my divorce any more!! Now, I will say, when someone is getting divorced, many times, that’s all they want to talk about. But if they don’t bring it up, you shouldn’t either.


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8. Don’t tell us about what our ex’s are up to.

“I saw your ex out on a date the other night. The girl was really pretty.” Someone actually said that to me in month 2 of my separation. Seriously? Why the fuck would I want to know that?

9. Don’t feel like you have to badmouth my ex.

Divorced people are funny this way. We can get offended if someone badmouths our ex, but if WE want to badmouth him or her, then we want the person to fully agree and chime in. It’s a hard time. Just appease us.

10. Don’t tell divorced people when we should start dating.

“I’m sure you must want to be by yourself for awhile and not rush into dating.” That came from a married person, which makes sense because anyone who is even remotely happily married cannot understand that by the time you decide to get divorced, you have been so unhappy and lonely for so long, that you might want to date the minute the two of you decide to get divorced. So, the only person who can decide when they are ready to date, is the one going through it.


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11. Remember that there is only one of us and there are two of you.

This is particularly applicable to carpooling. I have been in carpools with parents who were all about being even-Steven. What that means is, the divorced mom has to drive one way and then one of the two married people can share the other way. To me that seems unfair. I have also been in carpools with people who were so over the top trying to help me out, that it made me cry (in a good way.)

In closing, I don’t want to slam any married people because for the most part, I remember how much most of them tried to help, in their own way. But honestly, I think they are clueless when it comes to many aspects of divorce.

So, my advice is, if a married person pisses you off in any way, by something he or she says or does, just be honest with them and explain in a nice way how you feel. Remember that they aren’t in your shoes so nothing was meant to hurt you.

Lastly, in the midst of a divorce, it’s so easy to talk about your own life and forget that your married friends have problems they want to talk about, too. Ask how they are, listen to them and don’t minimize their problems. Divorce or no divorce, you will find that most of them will still be the same friend you’ve always had.

Like this blog post? Check out,  9 Signs of a Healthy Romantic Relationship


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    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    8 Responses to “11 Things Divorced People Want To Say To Our Married Friends”

    1. Sara Woodard

      I LOVE this list. I lol’ed at #9. I also got people who told me “I never did like him.” Oh, right, that makes me feel a lot better. And #10 is spot on. A friend was going through a divorce the same time I was and a co-worker told her she should start dating even before they separated. Too much pressure. Thank you for sharing this.

    2. Jeff Cone

      I’ve been going through a separation for 5 years. Only recently, turning the corner towards divorce. Your web-site (I’m a guy) has kept me laughing,opened my eyes, and helped me understand the so,so many complicated feelings and issues surrounding “the things” we are going through. From of course a womens perspetive. Which,is kinda’ eye opening and an excellent, enlightening perspective. You and your web- site Rock. Thanks

    3. Tim McClain

      Wow! Thank you for writing all of this. it is so spot on. Since becoming divorced, I have a greater affinity for divorced people because they understand what it is like and “get me” because they’ve been there. Relationships really change after a divorce and it can be baffling. Some friends who I thought would be more understandable didn’t stick around while others who I thought might be more judgmental stayed and even said some nice things and were supportive. Go figure. Humans are just weird. I’m not advocating divorce or saying it is great at all. Please try to stay married. But I think married people should look around and see just how common it is and not be so shocked when it happens. We’re ALL human. It really can happen to the best of us. Thanks again, Jackie.

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        You are so welcome. You are right! People are just weird. LOL. I can’t believe I’m in my 50s and people can still surprise me. –in both good and bad ways. Hang in there. Some of your divorced friends will end up being your best friends for life.

    4. Sam

      Wow, I love this article. I’ve been through every single thing that you said, but have a couple of more specific comments. 1- I had a very close group of married friends and we used to do so much together, and they’ve stopped inviting me, and ouch, it really hurts a lot. It’s been 14 years and they love me but I became an outsider, even remarried, because they grew closer and I was just the single one dating different guys, so they weren’t that interested in having to meet my new boyfriend every once in a while… 2- I still remember when I have personally asked someone if she had anyone to introduce me to, and she said that she thought that it was too soon for me. It annoys me to this day. And… She was a (and not my) psychologist. 3- about your number 11, I once went on a trip with my son, my parents and my sister with husband and 2 kids. They came up to me and said that instead of seeing how much each of us had spent in every meal, they thought it was better to just split every meal in 3 families, and I said I disagreed, first of all because they didn’t look at prices and didn’t care about how much they would spend, and I was more careful, and if my sister’s family was made of 2 adults and 2 children, I should pay for half of what she did. They have judged me so much for that, like I was greedy, for so little, etc. I said to them that they didn’t know what it was like to be responsible for everything alone, that they had never slept alone, even if they were going through difficulties. That even if money was an issue, they always had their partner to count on, to work, to make plans, to make double the money. And I was on my own…
      Last, but not least, something that’s not on your list, but I hated it (and even if I’m remarried, I still do) when my married friends complain about this husbands, how they’ve traveled and they have left them to do everything on their own, like look after the kids, pick-up the laundry, etc. They would complain about doing it for a week, saying how they were suffering. Or very small things that I just wanted to yell at them, saying have you got any consideration that you don’t even work, and I have to work and be everything on my own?
      Anyway… What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and thankfully everything that I’ve been through has made me a tough and self sufficient woman, and I value my relationship and everything that I’ve built in life so much!

    5. Dor

      Can’t relate to article
      Good for those that can
      I didn’t tell friends and family right away when he left the house
      All my friends were supportive and one surprised

    6. Tracy

      I’ve felt a weird kind of judgement coming from my girlfriends since I got divorced (it took 18 months, has been final for four months now)–the same girlfriends who pestered and almost bullied me into getting a divorce, as if it hadn’t already been on my mind for a long time already–I just hadn’t been ready yet.
      Anyway, I feel like these friends feel entitled to “look out” for me now. We went on a weekend away together, and they were all taking turns paying for my meals, etc. I appreciated that, but felt weird about it. Anyway, on the way back to our home state (a 3 1/2 hour drive), the three women I was riding with staged an “intervention” on me. I had been using Delta 8, which is a LEGAL variation of marijuana that is legal in my state. I had begun using it before the divorce even started, and my then-husband knew about it and supported it–I was using it to subdue my extreme IBS. These friends knew that. Yet they spent the first hour and a half of the ride home berating me and informing me that I could lose my 16-year-old son (again, D8 is legal in my state), and that, when one of my friends’ mothers had gone through problems, she had resorted to taking pills and sleeping all day–and this friend said my children would resent me the way she STILL resents her mother. (My two older children are in their early 20s, and they know and support my medicinal use of Delta 8.) Whenever I took D8, I made sure I was home for the night–no driving while under the influence–I never used during or before work, and I was always very responsible about it. During this confrontation, I was weeping the entire time, realizing they’d been talking about me behind my back and planned this ambush while I was trapped in the car. Nevermind that one of those mothers ALSO uses Delta 8, and another one of them drinks an entire bottle of wine, herself, almost every night. I was gutted by this, and I still am. I feel I can’t trust these women with even the slightest detail about my life anymore without being judged, so what kind of friendship remains? I’m very lonely now, as I continue to deal with the aftermath of divorce.
      (Side note: I have almost completely stopped using D8, and I haven’t been drinking alcohol since my ex moved out…. The IBS has come back with a vengeance!)


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