Questions Divorced People Are Sick of Hearing

September 4th 2016

Even with the divorce rate dropping over the past 20 years, it's highly likely you will have friends or family members who get divorced.

When this does happen to someone you know, it might be hard to know what to say. For starters, here are the questions you should try to avoid asking.

1. "What happened?"

According to Jackie Pilossoph, a relationship advice columnist and the blogger behind Divorced Girl Smiling, this was the worst question she heard when she got divorced nine years ago.

"Just think about the potential answers – cheating, addictions, alcoholism – there’s no good answer," Pilossoph told ATTN:. She adds this question doesn't come across as well-intentioned either. "People are by nature are nosy, and this question is offensive because of its agenda – to find out the scoop."

2. "Who cheated?"

This is just one of the many annoying assumptions people make about divorce, according to Angel Rodriguez, a blogger and computer technician who got divorced in 2005. Even when this assumption is correct, it can be incredibly painful to discuss.

"This is a cross I bare to this day," Rodriguez told ATTN: via email. "I don't need to be reminded of it, or to explain it over and over. I carry it everyday, reminder or not."

3. "Did you know you were going to get divorced?"

While Pilossophy doesn't necessarily see this question as offensive, the self-centered motive behind it is pretty transparent to her. "When people ask this, they're wondering about their own relationship and asking themselves, 'Is that going to happen to me?'" said Pilossoph.

She likens this question to when someone gets diagnosed with cancer and her friends start asking what your symptoms were. "They're probably asking for themselves and thinking of their own situation."

4. "Is she (or he) crazy?"

This is another common assumption, according to Rodriguez. However, for some people, including Rodriguez, this could not be further from the truth.

"My son's mom and I, though no longer together in marriage, still maintain a healthy relationship. We are in fact, still very good friends. Whenever she has a question about men or major life decisions, she still reaches out to me for advice," said Rodriguez.

5. "Do you think you'll ever get married again?"

Pilossoph remembered getting this question a lot from married people. "It's not a good question, because it depends – on who you meet, what happens to you in life," said Pilossophy. "And it's the last thing on their mind."

Another similar question is "Are you dating yet?" Once again, Pilossoph explained it depends on why someone gets divorced.

"Every situation is just so different – if your husband cheated, then you might think you don't want to date ever. But if the divorce had been coming for a long time, you might already be ready to start dating, because you've felt alone this whole time," said Pilossoph. "But everyone ends up dating eventually."

What you should say instead.

According to Pilossoph, there are questions you should ask, such as: "Are you okay?" "Do you need anything?" Or more specifically, for parents who no longer have spousal support, "Do you need me to babysit?"

But sometimes it might be better to stop asking questions, said Pilossoph. "It's better to say nothing at all and just be there, be supportive, and be fun." To that last point, she suggested you could even say, "We don't have to talk about your divorce – let's just go out and have some lighthearted fun."

She added, "Show them that your friendship isn’t going to change and that they’re the same person to you even though they’re getting divorced, and that you're going to be just a good a friend as you were."

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