The Bearer of Bad News

“Learning to walk again. I believe I’ve waited long enough. Where do I begin?” ~Foo Fighters, Walk

If there is one thing I learned people hate to be over the last year it’s this…the bearer of bad news. When a marriage ends, it’s pretty common for one person to move on almost immediately. I’ve seen it and experienced it first hand. This causes confusion and stress for the mutual friends of the broken couple/marriage. What do they tell the person who chose to heal and deal instead of jump into a relationship? Do they “protect” them and tell them nothing or let them know what’s going on so they’re not caught off guard? When I say what’s going on, I don’t mean spew every detail of the ex’s life. That’s not productive to the healing process. I mean major things such as your ex got a girlfriend right away, your ex moved in with someone or your ex husband is getting married again about a year after your divorce. Things of that nature. Major details you’ll find out anyway but the blow would be lessened coming from a friend and not social media or overheard at a party where you’re trying to enjoy yourself.

It’s tricky, I guess. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone you care about something that may hurt them. It took me a while to figure out the people that will tell you the bad news are not always who you count on, assume or expect. I’ve also discovered not everyone is cut out to deal with these situations. It hurts when you feel let down and like your friends are keeping things from you. I have been doing my best lately to take a step back and put myself in their shoes to feel the discomfort they must feel. It doesn’t make the shortcomings right, but it doesn’t mean they love you any less. Like I said…it’s tricky.

So, who is capable of bearing the bad news? In my experience, it’s the people who have been through what you’ve been through. They get it. They have been on the roller coaster in the front seat. They’ll tell you the tough details without hesitation. They recall moments when they wish someone had been straight with them and will pay it forward. Be thankful for them and tell them so.

I feel like I should write a pamphlet of “bullshit to look forward to when ending your marriage” so people can have a reference.

I think a mistake I made in the aftermath of my divorce was not aligning myself sooner with people who have been through the experience or supported someone through the experience. I guess this is why support groups exist, eh? I probably should have given that a go. Your friends are doing their best, but sometimes they just won’t understand everything you’re going through.

How do you get over the disappointment of not being told pertinent details by your nearest and dearest? Well, that’s really up to you. My advice is to walk yourself through some of the following questions and thoughts:

  • Can you get to a place of understanding, or do you feel strongly it’s a sign they’re not that great of a friend? Only you can make that choice. I suggest you make it with a clear head so you have no regrets.
  • Do you want these friends who are having their own internal struggle as your friends later in life? What has helped me answer that was knowing at some point the actions of my ex won’t mean shit to me. For me, when the answer is yes, I do what I did in the aftermath of the split…deal and heal. Sometimes the answer is no, and I let go. I don’t miss those people.
  • Can you get over the shortcomings and not hold a grudge? If the answer is yes, you really can’t hold a grudge. You HAVE to let it go. No one likes shit being held over their head. If the answer is no, well, then fuck it. Say what you want about them.

You’ll figure it out. Just don’t get drunk and mouthy or fly off the handle before you do. Some things can’t be undone. Be patient and give yourself time to decide.

Side note: I feel like I should write a pamphlet of “bullshit to look forward to when ending your marriage” so people can have a reference. For me, I wasn’t fully prepared to deal with these scenarios because I didn’t know to expect them. It’s exhausting.

My advice to folks who are on the flip side and find themselves in this pickle of do I tell or not…the answer is yes. It’s always yes, and your pal that might get hurt from the news will always prefer to hear it from you. If you define this person as one of your best friends, suck it up. Bring wine. Maybe have a joke ready. But tell them before they find out from any other outlet than your mouth.

If I find myself at a similar crossroad in the future, I’ll know what to do. I’m not thrilled to say I know how to properly handle these situations because it means I’ve been through some shit. However, I’m glad I’m now aware. Statistically speaking, some of my friends are going to get divorced. I now know to put on a brave face, have wine at the ready while being the bearer of bad news.

Author: Penny Lame

I can find humor in almost everything. These are my stories.

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