Anne was shocked and upset last week when a colleague turned around and said, “So who wanted a divorce? Whose choice was it?” They accepted her because neither of them wanted a divorce! No one gets married “wanting” to get a divorce, she thought. She said she was surprised because while she was the one who said “our marriage is over,” she had never initially seen divorce as an option. It wasn’t until, after many years of trying to make the relationship work, that she realized there was no hope of change and that they couldn’t go on living as they were. Her children were her main concern, but she agreed with her ex that they would wait until she finished the school year before telling her. But she certainly didn’t “want a divorce” and this comment cut her like a knife. She wanted to retort “Nobody loved him, you idiot, and mind your own business” (or worse!) But instead she felt pressured to tell him everything that happened and she really regretted it afterwards, since she didn’t love anyone. at work. know her business. It was Anne’s first coaching session with me and we decided it would be a good idea to create ways to avoid awkward questions.

Anne is not alone in being asked inappropriate, personal, or hurtful questions after separation and divorce. Fear of other people’s reaction to divorce can make some people so anxious that they don’t want to socialize or leave the house. Unfortunately, this can lead to further isolation, at a time when they most need the support of others. So today’s article is dedicated to providing examples of ways to answer and avoid awkward questions.

celebrity response
This is really powerful when you first go public with your divorce and is also helpful for answering awkward questions. In the example above “Who wanted a divorce.” The celebrity’s response would go something like this: “This is a mutual and supportive decision that we have made together after a long and careful consideration process.” If you and your ex can come to a mutually agreeable statement, then you can help prevent gossip. I also recommend statements like this because it helps friends, family, and children feel like they don’t have to take sides.

humorous response
Humor can be used to avoid answering a question by making a light-hearted joke or a self-deprecating joke. Humor can also be used to get rid of the disturbing and difficult elements of a question. For example, in response to “What happened?” could laugh and say, “If only we knew” or “I have no idea.” Another example Gary used when asked “Where will you live?” was “In a house with a roof and water, I hope.” If you want to use a humorous response, you have to be confident, and that’s not always easy, especially during the divorce process.

reflected response
Reflect is where you ask the person back, find out why they are asking. Put the spotlight on them, especially if you feel their questions are inappropriate. An example of this would be looking them in the eye, smiling, and asking them a question. For examples in response to “Why are you getting divorced?” You might ask, “Why do you want to know?” or “I wonder why this question is important to you?” or “Would it make a difference if you knew?” The good thing about responding with a question is that the conversation can easily drift away from the original question.

Final Subject Response
If you have children, you may hear from people who want to know about their children and the effect it has had on them. Hasan was told, “At least your children are grown up.” Dave’s boss said otherwise. “At least your son is only 2 years old and probably doesn’t understand everything.” In reality, the age of your children makes little difference. The issues they will face initially are just different and it is still difficult for everyone affected. In this case, you may want to acknowledge their comments or concerns about you and the kids, but end the topic like, “Thanks for asking, we were all doing our best, thanks,” or “The kids are naturally upset, but They fixed it.” penalty fee.”

lock response
I make sure everyone I work with has 1 or 2 block responses they can use and we test them. Like the worst thing you want to do at a social gathering or business event is to get angry, upset or spill too much and then regret it. A blocking answer is one in which, as politely as possible, while maintaining eye contact and smiling (or at least not seeming angry), you state that you won’t answer that question. Use this whenever you feel the question has crossed the line of appropriateness or is too intimate. A lock answer is an answer that you can use for any question that doesn’t have an answer or that you don’t want to answer. For example, if someone says, “Whose decision was it?” you can respond with “It’s not so black and white. We’ve decided we can’t stay married.” Or if someone asks, “So will you move in?” or “Who will have the children?” you might reply “We haven’t decided yet.” Other examples might be “I appreciate your curiosity, but I don’t feel comfortable answering that” or “I’m sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing that information” or “I’m not in the habit of answering questions that are so incredibly personal at work/ social events”. Or “we agreed not to say anything to other people”

Divorce Coach Precautions: Beware of

Nosy family members: It is you and your spouse who are getting a divorce. Therefore, it is your right to keep private information private. Sometimes, because it’s about family, we feel like we need to go into detail, but only share what you feel comfortable with. Hasan didn’t want his parents to know the details of why his marriage was ending in divorce. He was still dealing with shame, anger and disappointment and said very little to the family about him. A week later he learned that his aunt had started calling his wife Abeer wanting to know more about her and asking hard questions. Hasan was furious when he found out, but very grateful that he and Abeer had agreed not to share details. Abeer respected and honored her agreement and, fortunately, her divorce remained amicable. When you go public with a divorce, it is important to agree on who to tell which person.

Coworkers: Protect yourself from sharing too much detail with them. The last thing you want is for your divorce to be talked about in the office. One of the most important things to do when going through separation and divorce is to build a good divorce support team. A good divorce support team might include a few close friends or family members, a coach, an accountant, and an attorney.

Gossips: If someone gets into a conversation that they heard something about the end of their marriage, avoid adding fuel to your fire by spreading gossip. For example, if someone responds with something like. “Oh yeah, I heard she was obsessed with work and didn’t do much at home.” Or “I heard she had a drinking problem and was out all the time.” Don’t take the bait and start bad-mouthing your ex or calling your ex, accusing him of saying such hurtful things. You want to know the facts and not assume that it is definitely your spouse who has been talking about you or your marriage, it could be idle gossip. I have seen good co-parenting relationships destroyed when they believe one party has been spreading rumors or lying to the children, when they have not. Accusations and arguments between you cause more damage and are more difficult to repair. When you hear comments like this, it’s best not to react, as gossips want a reaction, that’s what they’re waiting for, so use your block response.

Remember it’s often about them, not you
Difficult questions often reflect more about the person asking them than about you: you may be having problems with your own marriage and trying to assess whether yours is over or at risk as well. They could be trying to make sense of it, especially if you seem like the “perfect match” to them. The questions may also reflect your discomfort with divorce, I understand sometimes myself as a divorce coach. Occasionally, people are uncomfortable at the mention of the word divorce for personal reasons, so don’t take it personally (easier said than done, I know!). Lastly, they may be trying to figure out how they should respond to the news: should they congratulate you or pity you? So they’re just trying to react the way they think you want them to. The best thing you can do is try not to be too sensitive, and if you’re upset, talk to someone.

In summary, I recommend that you create some responses and practice them with a close friend/family member or coach. They can also help you brainstorm what questions people might ask, so you feel totally comfortable in all situations. The more you prepare and rehearse what you are going to say, the less likely you are to be caught off guard and say something you later regret. You definitely want to prepare a big list of questions that the kids can ask when you tell them about the divorce.

Remember, with whom you share what your decision is. Defend this right!

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