12 Things You Don't Understand About Divorce (Until You Get One)

12 Things You Don't Understand About Divorce (Until You Get One)
Woman embracing man
Woman embracing man

There's nothing easy about getting a divorce -- and the judgment you encounter from otherwise well-meaning friends and family only makes it worse. The truth is, you don't really know what it's like to get a divorce until you're on the brink of getting one.

To help clear things up, we asked HuffPost Divorce readers and bloggers to share the one thing they wish people understood about ending a marriage. Here's what they had to say:

1. Divorce isn't an option until it's the only option.
"I really wish those 'I want my first marriage to be my only marriage' memes would just go away. No one goes into a marriage intending for it to end in divorce. Sometimes you fight like hell and work your tail off to keep your marriage afloat but realize you're doing it alone. It takes two people to make a marriage and family work but if the other person doesn't want to be with you, there's not a whole lot left for you to do. It's hard to 'give up' on your marriage but at some point you realize that there's more to life and you have to do what's best for you and the kids in the long run." -- Brittany Lewis

2. A divorce is never really "final."
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3. No two divorces are the same.
"This is because no two people are the same. What this adds up to is an endless combination of ways people choose to heal. Don't judge, don't pooh-pooh and don't minimize the form a person's grief takes. I was in a very controlling relationship and because of that, some of my friends thought that I would be so relieved to get out of that relationship -- or that I would get over it more quickly. The truth is, you can't really know how a person will respond." -- Lisa Miller

4. A marriage can't be saved by one spouse alone.
"I was married in the church I grew up in. I said 'till death do us part' and by the end of my marriage, I was so dead inside, I felt like that should count. I did my best to work through it but I couldn't save it by myself." -- Angela Robbins

5. You feel every emotion under the sun.
divorce coaster

6. It is possible to divorce like grown-ups.
"It does not have to end with lawyers and catty, hair-splitting BS. You can be mature and fair and split amicably. Honest." -- Jess Nelson

7. Sorry, but your breakup has nothing on a divorce.
"Divorce isn't like the time you had a really bad breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend. During my divorce, people would say 'oh, yeah, I just broke up with my S.O., too.' Nope. This is 100 times worse. On a soul level, it's so much harder." -- Katie Shirey

8. Divorce feels a bit like a death in the family.
"I wish people would understand that divorce is a death without a funeral. It represents the end of something that started out with so much promise and hope and it’s painful when that hope dies. Sometimes I think that divorce has become so routine that it’s not taken seriously enough and that devalues marriage." -- Wendy Mooney

9. Divorce isn't a dirty word.
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10. Ending a marriage is never easy.
"Divorce is anything but the 'easy way out.' Making the decision to get divorced is life-altering. There's nothing easy about it." -- Aly Marie

11. The judgment isn't helpful.
"Don't judge. Because your marriage could fall apart, too. When you hear about someone's divorce, just give them space. Let them talk and don't say, 'Well, if I were you...' Most of the time we just want to share and let our feelings out. Plus, most people have already done a lot of review on why the marriage ended." -- Marcia Pauluk

12. There's a silver-lining to divorce.
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