Where is your spouse?
When I was going through my separation and then divorce, nothing struck more fear and anxiety in my heart then to hear the question, “So where is your wife?” Nooooooo! I wanted so badly to change the subject immediately. However, I found courage and compassion for the crushing news I was about to give them. Here are 5 tips to help you explain to your friends, family, coworkers, etc… that you are separated or divorcing your spouse.
1. Short and Simple. “Hey thanks for asking, but we are no longer together, but if you would like to talk about it, let’s get together for coffee sometime.” I have found this to be the most gentle and direct way to break the news to those who may not have known the circumstances. Most people will respond with a look of shock or confusion when you use this technique. Be prepared to console them if they are very close to your spouse or were generally taken aback by the news.
2. Sweet and Caring. “I know she/he was supposed to be here and she/he sends their regards, but we are working through some family things at the moment. I know she/he would appreciate you thinking about them.” If you are not quite ready to talk about where you are in your divorce journey, this technique allows for a more gentle and private way to talk about your circumstances. This will also allow the person asking to feel that there is no concern or more questions needed.
3.Long Story Short. “I apologize, but she/he is not coming. It is a long story, but if you would like to get together for lunch sometime, I’ll be glad to answer questions and talk to you about it if you would like.” This technique is more abrupt and cuts straight to the point. This may catch most off guard. Be prepared to be immediately asked to explain more about the situation. If you feel safe in doing so proceed carefully. I would recommend that you set a time with those asking and you have time to process the abrupt news. This will allow emotions and concerns on both sides to calm down and speak on the subject with fewer heightened emotions.
4. Cut To The Chase. “We are separated/divorced. She/He will no longer be with me. I apologize if you were unaware. Let’s get together and talk if you would like.” This one should only be used if you know the person will be able to handle this bombshell. This one may come across as cold and uncaring. Tread lightly when using the Cut To The Chase method to answer questions about your divorce. It may end up alienating you from people that do not know how to process and help in this situation.
5. Do You Have Minute? You can be proactive about explaining your marital situation. I find this to be a great way to not be caught off guard by the question being asked of you. Find a quiet and private time to approach those that need to know what is happening. As simple, “Do you have a few minutes to talk? There are some things you need to know.” If they are not prepared to talk, you will have to find a new time. Don’t force it on them if they are truly busy and handling their own life events.
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