Tell someone you are divorced (or separated) and you are sure to get an earful, most times without even asking! “Who would divorce YOU?” “Men are such jerks!” “You are so cute, you will find another man in a heartbeat!” “Oh, I’m so sorry, was he cheating?” and my favorite, (and this is usually accompanied by the person putting his or hand on your shoulder): “Let me give you some divorce advice.”
Most people love to talk versus listen. They jump at the change to voice their opinions, to speak their minds, to try to impart their own little piece of wisdom onto you, and most of all, to give DIVORCE ADVICE, whether they are single, married or divorced!
Some divorce advice I get from people in my life is GREAT. Pearls of greatness, valuable gems of information, advice that I’ve listened to and was really glad I did.
Then there’s the advice that makes me smile politely, while in my head I’m rolling my eyes so far back, I’m actually getting a headache.
I say, take divorce advice from who it comes! Here’s whose divorce advice to embrace, and whose to steer clear of.
Divorced Friends: Who better to give you suggestions about what to do in certain situations than people who have gone through it? (Like Divorced Girl Smiling!!) They get it. They’ve lived it. They’ve done things wrong, they’ve done things right. Learn from their mistakes.
Friends of the opposite sex: I have to refer to one of my all time favorite movies, “When Harry Met Sally.” Having a friend or friends of the opposite sex is great when it comes to hearing the guy’s (or girl’s) point of view. It’s insightful and can help you deal with things the right way, knowing a little bit of what the guy or girl is probably thinking.
Your best girlfriends/buddies: Let me be clear on this. Take advice only from the girl or the guy who would step in front of a bus for you, not the friends who you go out to the bars with occasionally, just to have fun. Your BFF’s will tell you the truth, no matter how much it might hurt.
Your sister/brother If you have one: I’m grouping him or her into “the best girlfriend/buddy” category. Blood is pretty dosh garn thick. Even if you aren’t really, really close, your sis or bro will stick by you in divorce. He or she will have your back on this one.
Your therapist: I have gone to the same therapist on and off (when I say ‘off’ I mean I didn’t see another therapist, I just didn’t go) since 1994. I’m serious when I say the woman has never been wrong about one thing. It can be infuriating, but facing up to the truth is always better than masking it so you will feel better.
Your divorce attorney: You’re paying this guy (or woman) $350 or $400 per hour –those are the rates in Chicago—so listen to their advice! They’re not wrong! If you are doubting their advice too much, you need to get another attorney.
Your gut: YOUR GUT INSTINCT is never wrong. Listen to its advice.
People at the gym/random people you see: A guy I don’t know very well recently from the gym recently told me that since I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 4 years, we should already be married, and that because we are not, it’s not right and it isn’t going to work out. Hmm… “On what are you basing your theory?” I asked him. His response was that he has been married for 40 years so he knows. My point is, seeing someone at the gym over the years doesn’t make that person your psychotherapist of fortune teller. Other than how many reps you can do during your upper body workout with 10 pound weights, they really don’t know you that well. That said, there are a couple people from my gym who have become dear friends, who if given advice, I would completely listen!
Your parents: These are the two people who love you more than anyone on earth. They want you to feel okay and for things to work out. Their judgment can be clouded at times. They have the best intentions, but again, they will do anything to protect their child. Just know that when you ask their advice. They could give you THE BEST advice, but keep what I just said in mind.
Married people: “If I ever got divorced, I would never get married again.” Every single married person says this, which leads me to my theory that married people are clueless when it comes to divorce advice. I’m not saying they are stupid or have bad intentions. In fact, they might be your best friend and love you dearly. But, they don’t know the correct answer on what your custody arrangement should be, or how you feel when your ex is getting remarried.
Bitter divorced people: When I meet a divorced person, I can tell in 30 seconds if they are bitter and acting victim-like, or if they are healing and on their way to a better life. I try to stay away from bitter people-not just divorced bitter people, actually. And, I especially don’t take divorce advice from them. It’s like injecting poison. When you meet someone like this, RUN the other way.