In the divorce experience, you may have people in your life who do not believe in what you are doing. They will talk about how much stronger marriages were in their day and will fail to grasp the level of toxic dysfunction and unhappiness that resonated in your union.
You may face those that will suggest counseling, even though you have explored that option ad nauseam. You may have spent hours in couples counseling, hashing through every possible issue that comes between the two of you to no avail.
Whether it is a parent, a sibling, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, or someone else, there may be someone in your life, who does not know when to hold their tongue, regarding their differing opinion. They may believe that there will never be “the right time” to express their differing thoughts, or they may not know how to keep them to themselves.
Keeping focused on your needs
Whatever the situation may be, you have to be focused on your needs, just as your family law attorney is. You cannot be bogged down mentally or emotionally by the opinions of someone outside of the divorce itself.
It is challenging enough dealing with a high conflict divorce or a divorce in general. Splitting all of the marital assets and deciding who gets what can be taxing enough, not to mention figuring out child custody, child support, and alimony.
These are complicated and taxing issues that you need to be focused on, and paying any mind to the thoughts of someone who is not being constructive in their disapproval will not help the matter.
By listening to those people who do not understand the difficulties of what you may have gone through in your marriage, you are making an active choice, in self-sabotaging your mental and emotional well-being, and if that choice is being made during the divorce process, you are actively choosing to put your case and future at risk.
Their disapproval may be a result of a specific religion, country of origin, or culture that they grew up in. According to research from Tilburg University in The Netherlands, many communities avoid the person going through the divorce and ostracize him or her from the community, making them feel unwelcome.
In their study, they examined the tolerance of divorce in 44 difference countries and found that familialism played a part in the disapproval of divorce in countries like Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, and Chile. Familialism is a cultural value that emphasizes close family relationships, and given that divorce is the ending of a family unit, it makes sense that in some countries and cultures, the ending of that family unit would be inherently disapproved.
This is in stark contrast of countries that value individualism, such as Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Dealing with disapproval
No matter who is expressing disapproval of your divorce, you have control of the conversation. You have to decide whether or not they are worth listening to and whether or not you want to heed any of their advice.
After the divorce process has ended, the disapproving voices may express more regret, regarding the end of your marriage, than you actually feel. Many find themselves personally invested in the relationships of others, and when those relationships end, they do not know what to do with themselves.
They see the end of the marriage as something that needs to be fixed, when the reality of the situation can only be viewed in its entirety by the two people who were a part of the unhappiness and the dysfunction of the situation.
Outside perspective can breed clarity, but when the perspective comes in with their own agenda in mind, it cannot be taken objectively seriously. After a divorce, you should be focused on building a new life for yourself and your children, if you have them. You cannot maintain that level of focus if you concern yourself with the opinions of others.
As difficult as it may be to phase out the criticism of others, it is for your benefit, with the hope being that the person who is offering their critical thoughts on the situation will notice that you are not paying them mind and behave differently.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.