Several years ago, I wrote an article, titled “20 Lies Divorced People Tell themselves.” The producers of the WGN podcast, “Uh-PARENT-ly” happened to see it, and asked me to be a guest on the show to talk about each one of these lies, why people tell them, and how to better cope with divorce. The podcast also included advice for when/when not to tell the kids, and tips on co-parenting.
It was so much fun talking with Anne and Tracy!
In the meantime, here are 20 Lies Divorced People Tell Themselves” in an effort to cope with divorce.
1. I could care less what happens to my ex.
Not true. Most divorced people care about their ex and will in a way forever. People say this as a defense mechanism, and out of anger, frustration, and resentment.
2. I hate when I’m not with my kids.
You don’t hate it all the time. Sometimes you welcome the break. Being alone offers reprieve from stress. Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy your time without your kids. Doing nice things for yourself and having some life enjoyment that doesn’t involve your kids makes you a better parent.
3. I don’t want to meet anyone and I’m never getting married again.
I just ran into a woman going through a divorce who said these exact words to me. I don’t think she meant it. I think the divorce is raw and there is so much resentment, anger, and sadness. Also, for divorced people, trusting and loving someone again seems really really scary at first. You can’t imagine trusting someone after the lies and deceit you’ve just been through. I get it. But over time, you will see that there are really good men and women out there who want to be committed and monogamous. It really just takes time and healing to get here.
4. I know my ex will regret this someday.
He or she might, or might now. Does it really matter? No, it doesn’t. Instead of focusing on that burning feeling of wanting justice and wanting your ex to be upset and realize he or she made a mistake, focus on NOW and your future. It’s so much more productive.
5. When I was married, I was really happy or When I was married, I was really miserable.
When you were married, you were both. You were happy at times, so don’t be afraid to remember those times, and you were miserable at times. Remember that too. It will reinforce the fact that you needed to be divorced.
6. Everyone knows the divorce was his/her fault.
Friends of divorced people tell them what they think they want to hear, because they love you and care for you. But don’t be naive. They will do anything not to take sides. But honestly, does it really matter? Try not to focus on what others think, but rather on what you think of yourself.
7. My attorney really hates my ex.
Your attorney appears that way because you are paying him or her to be on your side. Your attorney is your business partner in this–not your therapist or friend. Of course, the attorney has your best interest at heart, and I’m not even saying he or she is being fake, but in the end, this is business for him or her, (which is a positive) and it’s better if he or she has no real emotions in the case.
8. Even if I could find a way, I’d never be interested in checking out my ex’s profile on dating sites or on facebook.
Curiosity is human nature. Of course you want to see what’s going on. That’s only natural. Just don’t become a stalker or spend too much time on it. Instead, focus on your life and the new people in your life.
9. I hate dating.
No, you don’t. You hate bad dates. Good dates make dating really, really fun! Dating offers the opportunity for love and romance. It’s exciting and it’s OK to admit that!
10. The thought of having sex with my ex is repulsive.
Maybe at first, since there is most likely resentment, anger, and/or bitterness. But it’s OK if there are moments where sentimentality comes rushing in and you think about him or her and you wish you could hug or kiss him, or even have sex. If you loved him or her enough to marry the person, than it’s only natural that there would be times you think about them in a romantic way.
11. The thought of having sex with another man/woman is repulsive.
At the beginning of a divorce, it’s very realistic to feel this way. People who are hurt aren’t dying to jump into a physical relationship with someone anytime soon. But give it some time. You won’t always feel this way. Also, it happens really unexpectedly. You will eventually meet or see some guy or girl who will make your heart stop and you will remember that you liked sex.
12. My kids are going to grow up and realize what he or she did to me.
They probably will, but that is years and years and years away. And, no matter what happened, they will still love both their parents unconditionally. That’s actually a good thing. But don’t fool yourself into thinking they will turn on your ex, and then be disappointed that they don’t.
13. I know how to stay away from dysfunctional relationships.
I’m not judging anyone because I was in a few pretty unhealthy relationships after my divorce. When people get divorced, they are vulnerable to getting into bad relationships. Maybe it’s a fling, or maybe you know deep down the person isn’t treating you the way you deserve to be treated, but still, you stay in the relationship. I think it’s OK, just DON’T MARRY THE PERSON!
14. My life is really messed up, thanks to him or her.
Maybe he or she temporarily messed up your life–financially or otherwise. But after awhile, it’s time to step up and fix it. You have that capability if you avoid playing the victim, set some goals, and take steps to get there. I know a woman whose ex stole $100,000 from her personal account (that she had before they were married.) She never got the money back, and had to get a full time job with 3 young kids. But she did it and never looked back. It’s admirable. But it’s also survival.
15. I love my new life.
I feel like a lot of people want everyone to think they are really happy after the divorce. I say it’s okay to say, “this sucks.” We all know you aren’t blissful at the moment. But one thing’s for sure: You WILL love your life. But it takes time, passion, and hard work to get there.
16. If I could just meet someone, I know my life would fall into place.
Reverse that. Work on your life, career, kids, hobbies, yourself. When that falls into place, you will meet someone.
17. My ex’s girlfriend is hideous looking.
She is not! You’re thinking that because you resent her. Try not to focus on “them,” but rather YOU!
18. My ex is really jealous of the guy I’m dating.
He might be, he might not be. It doesn’t really matter. Do you need him to be jealous? If so, ask yourself why. Try to reconcile that it no longer matters what he thinks.
19. My wedding day was the best day of my life.
Maybe it was, but try to think about the things you didn’t let yourself see back then. Were there red flags you ignored? It’s OK if the answer is yes, but just admit it. It makes healing and acceptance easier.
20. I don’t care what other people think about me getting divorced.
Yes, you do. We all care what others think. Try not to care. You will be old news in a few weeks and people will move on to other “news.” If you know in your heart it’s the best thing, that’s all that matters. Or, if it wasn’t your decision, hold your head high and walk with grace. One thing people always remember long term is how you acted during the divorce. So, don’t badmouth your ex all over town. Tell it to your therapist or best girlfriend and leave it at that.
Like this article? Check out, “11 Great Movies for the Newly Separated”