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Silencing the critics: Your divorce experiences are your own

There's little doubt that divorce is far less stigmatized than it once was. In our grandparent's generation, for instance, many couples likely stayed together for a lifetime not necessarily because they were happy but because they could not live with the embarrassment and judgment that divorce often caused.

These days, divorce is much more common and much more acceptable. That being said, some divorcees still have to deal with feedback from others that is less than enlightened. In a recent piece on The Huffington Post website, readers were asked to share the biggest and most common misconceptions about divorce. These included misconceptions that others had and perhaps some that they had before going through the process.

The biggest misconception that people have, according to readers, is that divorce could never happen to them. Statistics alone should be enough proof to realize that about half of marriages do not survive "till death do us part."

Other misconceptions have to do with judgments about a divorcee's motivations, character or emotional work ethic. The following assumptions, while untrue, are often made about divorcees:

  • They didn't work hard enough to save the marriage
  • They took the easy way out
  • They were selfish because they chose to get divorced rather than staying together for the sake of their kids
  • Both spouses must have played a role in the decision to divorce
  • Those who are still married have a right to feel superior to those "flawed" individuals who couldn't make their marriage work

Do any of these sentiments feel familiar? Perhaps you've felt judged by relatives, friends or other parents. Perhaps you've judged others before going through your own marital troubles.

The takeaway message is that divorce is very difficult in a number of ways, and outside judgment is a burden you just don't need. If you are going through a divorce or just starting the process, you and your spouse are the only two people who get to decide what it's like going through your divorce (no two are the same).

Those who have never experienced divorce don't have the right to judge. And those who have been through their own divorce probably have the humility to realize that judgment is not the least bit useful.

Source: The Huffington Post, "15 Things You've Got Wrong About Divorc├ęs," May 30, 2014

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