The top 10 things to NOT say to someone getting divorced

10 things never to say feature image

We asked Divorcist devotees the most annoying things they were told while going through divorce, and boy did they respond! If someone you care about is going through a rough divorce, avoid these potentially patronizing phrases like the plague.

10. “I’m praying for BOTH of you.”

As one user said: “Umm, no thanks! Unless you’re praying for a piano to fall on my ex, I don’t want to know you’re praying for him.” In the first traumatic weeks and months of the divorce process, it’s usually not helpful to say nice things about the ex. Time will heal wounds but your friend or loved one definitely has not had enough time at this stage. Further, it’s 2021: We know that not everyone follows a religion and wants that kind of prayer. If you’re sure the person would appreciate prayers, just say, “I’m praying for YOU” and leave it at that.

9. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle/God has a plan.”

Our friend Laura says this about this unhelpful phrase: “This assumes that I still have faith left after my ex tore my life apart like a tornado. Also, I’m not reassured that for some reason my path is supposed to be rockier than yours. Or that I’m so simple minded that life has to body-slam me before I’m compelled to change.” Besides, what if whatever is on the other side of the door is even worse than the side you used to be on? Don’t say this.

8. “It is what it is.”

Our friend Holly made the mistake of saying this once to a manager who looked at her blankly and said, “What the hell does that mean?” Honestly, we have no clue what this means. If anything, it feels kind of dismissive of the pain someone might be going through.

7. “Life goes on.”

Similarly, this feels the same as saying, “get over it.” It’s also condescending. Really? Life goes on? That must be why my bills and laundry are piling up. Thanks for the heads up.

6. “Make sure your kids are okay.”

Um, are you implying that I’m not parenting as I should? It’s much more helpful to say, “Let me know if you need a break from the kids. I’d be happy to take them to the park.”

5. “Time heals all wounds.”

Unless you’ve got the Delorean parked out back, primed to take the person two years into the future and possibly destroy the fabric of time itself, this isn’t helpful. Yeah, sure it will get better with time but that’s not what anyone needs to hear right after the break up.

4. “Just ignore him and move on.”

If you’ve built a life with another human and dreamed of the future together, have kids or pets together, have made a home together or have spent any time at all with this person, you can’t just “ignore it.” It’s just not that easy to do.

3. “It’ll be ok” with absolutely no evidence that it will, in fact, be ok

Sadie sums this one up: “Define ‘ok’ please.”

2. “Stay positive.”

“Just no,” says Jordan S. “Take me out for a cocktail and some good gossip instead of spewing cliché motivational drivel.”

1. “I’m not taking sides.”

“Okay, this one IS actually kind of helpful,” says Beth. “When friends told me this, it was very clarifying and helped me realize who truly had my back and who didn’t care as much as I assumed they might.” Unless the ex-couple are standing right in front of you, telling you they don’t want you to take sides, do not say this.

What you should say

So what SHOULD you say to someone going through a divorce? Check out our companion blog here!