A Horrific Act in Marriage Can Be A Gift In Getting Over A Divorce

getting over a divorce

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

Getting over a divorce isn’t easy, and it takes time. But believe it or not, sometimes something horrific happens in the marriage, and thinking about it, can actually help you get over the divorce quicker. This is a story I heard from a friend of mine.

This guy was married for several years with children. Towards the end of his marriage, (they were going through a divorce but still living together), he had a test that came back positive for cancer. When he got home, he decided to share the news with his wife, knowing that the reason for telling her was for practicality, (telling the kids, possibly having to take time off work, etc.)


Colleen Breems, Divorce Attorney, Beermann, LLP


In other words, he didn’t expect her to run into his arms and cry and tell him everything was going to be OK. Their relationship was clearly over, and he felt the need to tell her because she was still his wife. It was as simple as that.

When he told her the news, his now ex-wife was sitting in her office at her desk with her back to him. She did not turn around to look at him and her response was very businesslike: “Can’t you see I’m working?” She said these words without even turning around to look at his face, to see the fear that was most likely in it. There was no, “I’m so sorry.” There was not a word of sympathy. Instead she was cold, distant, and dismissive.

While this is a very sad story, there is a silver lining attached that has to do with getting over a divorce:

Her reaction is the silver lining!

Her heartless behavior in response to her husband telling her his test came back cancerous was actually a gift and here’s why. But first, I want to share that the guy’s cancerous thing turned out to be completely curable, so that’s good.

But here’s what I want to say about her horrific reaction. Everyone who separates has some doubt or at least a twinge. Am I doing the right thing? Maybe this could still work out if we both try harder. I don’t want to be divorced. Maybe if I tell her I want to stay together, she will say that she does, too. Sound familiar?

You might disagree, but I think there is always a teeny tiny bit of doubt in the decision to divorce for a long time.


Amanda Campbell, Financial Advisor and Managing Director, Wealthspire



This woman’s heartless behavior was ironically a great comfort to this guy because it validated two things: one, that the marriage was definitely over, but even more so, her character was revealed, showing that even though she knew they were headed for a breakup, she could not find it in her heart to show any compassion to this person she just spent over a decade with or even just tell him “I’m sorry you are going through this,” or “Please don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.” Or, how about just turn around to look at him?

It is these kinds of “gifts,” as painful and cruel are they might be that can help people in getting over a divorce because it solidifies the decision that splitting up is best.

Another example of a gift someone got right before her divorce: Someone I know was married to a drug addict. The night before she was moving out of their home, he came home very drugged up. Until that night, she had been unsure of whether or not she was doing the right thing.


Soberlink - Protect What Matters Most


Maybe there was still a chance. Maybe he would get help. But when she saw the behavior, she realized he gave her a gift, so that when the moving truck showed up the next day, she didn’t have to second guess herself. Her soon-to-be ex helped her in getting over the divorce by showing that he had no plans to get help for his addiction.

Sometimes it is very difficult to realize that these gifts are not bad things, but rather they are signs that divorcing is the better option. It’s almost as if someone is banging you over the head with a heavy object to wake you up. The blow hurts, but now you are awake and you have reassurance that your decision was the right one.

So, if you are having a hard time getting over a divorce , see if you can remember a couple gifts your ex gave you. Forcing oneself to stare at the truth isn’t always easy, but I bet it will help you immensely.

Like this article? Check out, When Trust is Broken, How Can You Ever Learn to Trust Again?

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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

    2 Responses to “A Horrific Act in Marriage Can Be A Gift In Getting Over A Divorce”

    1. Matt

      I accidentally stumbled upon this blog as I was looking online for resources. I must say, very disappointing. Marriage is a sacred institution that requires work and partnership, this blog is a joke that glorifies divorce! How very sad. I was a loving, non-cheating, supportive husband and I am horrified by the stereotypes written here as well as the calculated, whining and entitled entries on this blog.

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        I’m sorry you feel that way. I actually started this blog to help and inspire men and women. I am in no means promoting divorce. In fact, I love the institution of marriage–if you are with the right person.


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