It still amazes me when I hear some peoples reactions to divorce.
Women who are contemplating it, have gone through it, or are just generally talking about it will still fall into the cycle of believing these myths about divorce that can, in some situations, prevent them from taking steps to remove themselves from their marriage.
In a perfect world, divorce wouldn’t happen. And I am aware there are many people who still believe that divorce is wrong.
However, I can honestly say that my divorce was one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and being supported through it was so important.
No one enters a marriage wanting to get a divorce, but with divorce rates sitting around 40%, ignoring it, not supporting those going through it, and making people feel like they are in some how faulty for being divorced is just not okay.
So, let’s stamp out some of the myths.
From someone who has not only been through their own divorce, but has spent the better part of the last decade studying marriage, the psychology behind relationships, and has spoken with thousands of women in relationships, these are some of the myths I still hear, and are just not true.
1 – Your Divorce Is A Sign Of Failure
No, no, no, no, a million times, no.
This one breaks my heart every time I hear it.
We need to stop seeing divorce as failure, when in reality, living a life in a marriage that doesn’t bring us joy and happiness would be the true failure.
Putting yourself first, saying no to being treated poorly, realising your life is going in different directs, whatever the reason – acknowledging your current situation is not serving you and making changes to it (aka, divorce) is the absolute opposite of failure.
I remember hearing a saying once – there are no failures in life, only lessons – and this is true for divorce too.
Be kind to yourself, you haven’t failed, you’ve learnt and moved forward.
2 – It Will Take at Least Half The Time You Were Together To Get Over Your Divorce
I have no idea where this myth came from but I have heard it time and time again. Urgh, no, definitely not.
And believing so, and sticking to this timeframe is a waste of your time!!
By this calculation, a marriage of 20 years would then take 10 years to ‘get over’ and move on from. Whaaaaat???
There are two key points to this one – the time it takes for you to process and move on from your divorce can ONLY be decided by YOU! Some people start processing their separation before it’s even happened.
I know I was so mentally removed from my marriage before we separated and had worked through a lot with a therapist as well.
No one can tell you how long it should take, and also, who cares what others think.
Secondly, you don’t just ‘get over it’. Even now, almost a decade later, there are still things I am processing from my divorce.
You don’t ‘get over it’, you learn and move forward.
3 – Everything Has To Go To Court
Settling a divorce in court can be incredibly expensive and time consuming, especially when you have children to consider and visiting arrangements.
It’s incredibly stressful and can take years before it is settled. BUT, not every divorce has to be settled in court.
Yes, they need to be heard in court (as an official divorce proceeding) but you can agree to the terms and details prior.
There are many services to help you with this depending on your location, so it’s best to simply ask what help is available to you.
If you do find you aren’t able to come to an agreement, going to court may be the best option for you.
I always tell people to seek legal advice regardless of your level of agreement with your ex – we don’t know what we don’t know, and getting legal advice can help you to understand exactly where you stand.
4 – People Are Going To Think Less Of You Because You’re Divorced
Firstly, 40% of marriages end in divorce. While the divorce rate is dropping from the previous 50% it was sitting at around the 1980’s, it’s still far from a small sampling of people.
Second, who cares?
What other people think of you is none of your business, and who gives a rats razoodle what they think anyway.
They aren’t the ones living your life, they aren’t the ones making the decisions, and they (often) aren’t the ones showing up to support you.
Can I let you in on a little secret? I am yet to meet a woman who decided she wanted a divorce and later regretted the decision.
That’s not to say they don’t exist, just that of the thousands of women I have spoken to, none felt like they were worse off because they had been divorced.
Plus, it’s not the 1950’s anymore, you’re a strong independent woman, you aren’t defined by your marital status.
5 – You’ll Never Be Happily Married Ever Again
‘You only get one shot at love’, ‘You only get one wedding in your life’, ‘insert any statement here that makes you feel like you only get one chance at being happy’.
In case it’s not clear by this part of the article so far, staying in a marriage you don’t want to be in, for fear of what might happen if you leave (such as never being happily married again) is just not how it really works.
We are always changing and evolving throughout our life, which can sometimes be a contributing factor to divorce – we marry young, we grow apart, our views on what we want in life change.
But this doesn’t mean we can’t ever be happy, or happily married again.
Take time to see a therapist, work through what things you didn’t like in your marriage, work out what led to the divorce (both sides) and re-establish your own self esteem.
This will help you to see what it is you want in a relationship, what makes you happy, and help you realise you don’t need to settle for anything less.
Plus seeing a therapist can help you not only survive your divorce, but feel confident and more empowered for it.
6 – You Should Have Seen It Coming
I’ve known couples who have been on the path to divorce for years, and couples that seemingly went from happily married to divorce overnight.
While there are red flags and warning signs that your marriage may need some extra work, or that you’re not happy in your marriage, it’s not always so easy to see.
Should you have seen it coming? I don’t know. Does it matter? That’s up to you to decide.
Reflecting upon what you believe should or shouldn’t have happened in your marriage is only good if you’re are a) working through it with someone who specialises in relationships and trauma (because divorce is an emotional trauma, whether we are happy about it or not), and can help you process your emotions, and b) if you’re using it to heal and grow.
Sure, there are some things I wished I knew before I got divorced, things I wished I had realised, but at the same time, it’s so much easier to sit back now and see things so clearly. When you’re going through it, in the thick of it, things just look different.
It’s okay. Be kind to yourself.
7 – If You Just Worked Harder At Your Marriage You Wouldn’t Be Divorced
This is another one of those heartbreaking statements I hear so often. One single person cannot ‘save’ a marriage.
It takes work, yes, but the world needs to be done from both sides. You can work the hardest possible at making your marriage work, but if your spouse isn’t interested then it’s just not going to work.
Again, reflecting on ‘what ifs’ is only good if you use it for growth, not to beat yourself down.
If you are in the throws of a divorce at the moment, or if you’re contemplating divorce, please don’t buy into these myths and please speak to someone who specialising in helping you through divorce.
This is a huge time of growth and understanding, having someone to help guide you will be invaluable.
Regardless of what’s happened so far, entertaining these myths about divorce is not going to help. Be kind to yourself, and gentle with yourself, as you move forward through this time.