CONVERSATION: Don't Ask Me "Who Filed?"


When I filed for divorce, I expected some people to take sides. I expected advice I didn't ask for and figuring out what "moving on" meant. What I didn't expect was to continually hear some form of the question, "Who filed?"

The question would start with what seemed to be genuine concern. But, once I revealed that I was one that filed, the conversation would come to a halt. "Oh, you gave up?"

The first time I was told that, it cut me deep. I was triggered and pissed that someone had me so wrong. It seemed like a really lazy assumption, which made me defensive instantly. I had spent years trying to fix it! I was the only one who cared and now I was the bad guy. And while it wasn't a quick decision, others' simple response to me was.

So, I did what many people with wounded pride do: I threw up word vomit about how awful my ex-wife was. I told him she was lazy, more into Instagram than real life, selfish, etc. Class act, right?

The whole time I was talking I thought, "This isn't you. This isn't right. Just. Stop. Talking." But, I just couldn't quit. I talked until I felt like his face showed he believed I wasn't to blame. I felt I had to convince him that even he would have done the same. Then, I walked away hating myself.

I wish I could tell you that this only happened once, but I can't. It happened repeatedly. I couldn't just say, "We split." without being hit with dozens of more questions.

I have become bitter and reclusive. The last thing that I want to do is be out and hear, "Who left who?" again. When I do get asked, instead of just being quiet, I begin to tear apart my ex again. Its a cycle that I hate.

I don't like the person that question has made me. It takes away from who I am trying to be now. I'm not in that relationship or divorce anymore. All of that is over and I am trying to move on. 

Please, stop asking who finally had the nerve to file. Is it really your business anyway?

LM ACTION: This conversation was very thought provoking for me. I never considered that certain questions I ask (even when they are genuine) can prompt someone to feel like they have to provide a particular answer to vindicate themselves. I'm reminded of the quote, "You know who hates divorce? Divorced people." The recovery is tough. You go through a wide range of emotions.

Going forward, instead of asking what happened or how, I will remember to ask, "Can I help?" or "How are you?" I feel those questions produce more fruit than, "Who filed?" or "What happened?"

If you are in a cycle similar to the author, remember that the people in your life love you and usually want to show that they are concerned. But, they are human! Human responses may not always be in the best taste, but most of the time I wouldn't assume they are malicious. 

In Galatians we are told that the Holy Spirit is one of self-control. Of course it isn't easy, but you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).

Try meditating over Psalm 38:9 - All my longings lie open before you, Lord.

He knows what you are going through. He knows that you are longing to finally have peace in your life. You weren't made to hide from life after divorce forever. Pray for wisdom and strength as you navigate this new chapter in your life. He will comfort and sustain you.

-- Cayla

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