Why Is Bringing Up Divorce Considered to Be Awkward?

The headline on my news feed grabbed my attention.

Kelly Ripa Wraps Up First Week Back to ‘Live!’ With Awkward Divorce Comment to Michael Strahan

The names didn’t garner my notice – I haven’t seen Kelly Ripa since she was a newbie next to Regis and I had never even heard Michael Strahan’s name at that point.

What drew my eye was “awkward divorce.” And so I clicked.

And grew confused. I have not seen the clip, but from what I have read, the comment didn’t seem to merit the backlash it has been getting. The, “How dare she bring up his divorces?” As though the mere mention of divorce is taboo.

Fueling the stigma and feeding the shame surrounding divorce.

Maybe I’m just desensitized from years of teaching middle schoolers who randomly shout out things like, “How old were you when you first kissed a boy?” in the middle of a lesson on factoring polynomials, but it takes a lot to offend or surprise me.

Certainly more than referencing divorce.

Especially when it’s part of a question with the intent to learn (which it seems was Kelly Ripa’s goal as they were discussing bird’s nest coparenting).

Divorce is “the thing that shall not be named” in our current culture, as though the utterance of those two syllables will bring it to your doorstep.

It’s time for divorce to come out from the shadows. For those impacted to be able to speak without fear of judgment. For those with questions to feel free to ask them. And if they go unanswered, it is because of personal choice rather than from societal pressure to remain mute.

I have been part of more conversations about the intricacies of childbirth around lunch tables than I have about the end of relationships. And yet the experience is just about as universal.

Divorce is most often discussed with other divorcees. Behind closed doors or in members-only groups. But they’re not the only ones who can benefit from that discussion. Because those seeking to prevent it can learn from those who have endured it. By making it taboo, it only increases the mystery, shame and fear surrounding it. Talking about it, rather than increase its likelihood, may actually have the opposite effect as lessons are passed around.

Divorce is hell, but talking about it doesn’t have to be awkward.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Why Is Bringing Up Divorce Considered to Be Awkward?

  1. I love the comment that we can talk about “the intricacies of childbirth around lunch tables” but cannot talk about divorce – so true! You can barely escape those stories! And before I was on this path, I always felt that somehow it was contagious if you got too close to a person going through it. Like the mere mention of another couple going through a divorce needed to be passed along in hushed tones and whispers for fear of “catching it”. Thank you for this message.

    1. Childbirth is the act of creation. It’s beautiful. Divorce is death, the destruction of something that was supposed to be life-long. That’s why it’s awkward I think. I find joy in talking childbirth.

  2. Reblogged this on Crazybutttricia and commented:
    The days of the ‘Scarlet Letter’ regarding divorce should be done and over with, but sadly, they are not it seems. It’s a part of life and relationships and we all need help to navigate new territory, why should divorce be any different?

  3. Perhaps the hesitancy in discussing it is because if it does become destigmatized it will become more prevalent (like teen pregnancy). But I think this is an irrational fear. It is already prevalent and talking about it is not going to make it any less so unfortunately.

  4. You’re so right. The public really has a hard time with divorce. I finally broke the seal and told my 4-year-old. The rest of the world can take a lesson from how gracefully she took the information.

  5. As usual Lisa you are Spot On!! I’m amazed how people treat this subject. I have close friends that start to squirm when I start talking about my divorce. I don’t see it as that big of a deal. I try to be lighthearted and don’t get all philosophical about it. Perhaps if more folks talked about it openly, there would be more understanding to why this unfortunate event happens. My divorce is a part of me. I don’t wear it on my sleeve, but I don’t shy away from the subject either.

    1. Laura, my Mother has said the same thing, even after my divorce! During my divorce she said my kids would be hurt so badly because they would be in a broken home. I was furious with her. She thought they would be going off to an orphanage. Everybody survived and my kids are just fine.

      1. Lol, we cant win. Well, things are getting better. My mom who has been in the hospital seriously ill finally said she will let it go… Life is a complex hard fight for sure. Glad to here you all fine. =)

      2. PS, saw your book, I love a man who loves his children! I fell in love with my (new soon to be husband) man based upon a picture alot like yours on the cover. Love it!!!!

  6. I have noticed that those who have not experienced the Family Law system are the ones who avoid listening to the truth. They are also the most ignorant when it comes to the impact divorce has on ones life. I usually state to them they are fortunate and will hopefully remain married.

    1. @Laura…Thank you for the kind words. Let me know if you would like a copy. I checked out your blog. Good luck to you!! You will feel like a gigantic weight has been lifted from your shoulders when this is all over with. Stay strong!

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