Q – I live in a tight knit neighborhood. A few months ago my husband and I separated. I feel so awkward when I run into people we know. I can tell some of our neighbors and friends are curious about what has happened. Part of me just wants to get it all out and blab about how awful things were, while the other part of me thinks I should keep to myself and be quiet.
A – While some neighbors may be clamoring for details about your divorce, remember you’re not just giving information about your life, but your children’s lives as well. In the early stages when feelings are strong usually saying less is best. You can always decide to say more later. However, you can never take back what you have already said.
Although it can be difficult, maintain your integrity and be discreet about the information you share with others so children are protected from second hand details and neighborhood gossip.
To help you get past the awkward moments consider developing an “elevator speech.” To get started, craft a simple one to two sentence generic response. When people ask what happened or seem curious, you could say something like… “I appreciate your concern, right now I’m still sorting through it all myself. Because I don’t want to do anything that will compromise the kids, I’ve decided not to talk publicly about our situation right now. Thanks for understanding”
Being discreet however, doesn’t mean you have to go it alone, just choose wisely. Sharing your feelings and getting support is healthy. Having a lengthy discussion with the check out clerk at your local supermarket about how your ex did you wrong, is not. If you need to talk, seek out a trusted friend who will listen without fueling the fire or a professional ( life coach, therapist or counselor) who can help you sort through your feelings and weigh out options.