By Angie Hallier, Esq.
Leave the gritty details and trash-talking only for your closest confidants.
Celebrity divorces make headlines, seemingly every few seconds. But did you ever notice it is usually the announcement that a celebrity is getting divorced that makes the news, and rarely the nitty gritty details of the divorce process and negotiations? Even when interviewed about their divorce, stars or their agents say they are “amicably separating,” or “consciously uncoupling.” They ask for “respect and privacy” for the “sake of our children.” Notably absent in the media in most celebrity divorces is trash talk about the other spouse.
This approach, of course, make good sense for the famous. One or both the spouses have public reputations and personas to uphold. They have to protect their “asset” (them) that makes people want to spend money to go to their movies, or tune into their TV show, or listen to their music. While I am sure they talk to their closest friends and family about the emotions and decisions that inevitably accompany even the best divorce, they must choose wisely as to whom they confide in to avoid a leak to the press. The circle of confidantes must remain small.
Unfortunately this is often the exact opposite of how non-public divorcing spouses act. For many, their reaction to a divorce is to talk, talk, talk. They tell everyone they know about the day-to-day details of their divorce. They tell their kids’ teachers, their hairdresser, even mere acquaintances – just about everybody they know or who asks about it – the nitty-gritty dirt as they see it. They start to rally the troops they think will be on their side. They even take to social media to post and tweet negative things about their soon-to-be-ex. These people totally miss the fact that divorce as a win-and-lose game is a myth. That by pouring so much negative energy into the process of ending their marriage they are missing the opportunity to focus on their divorce as a pathway to a better, more stress-free life. If you have ever run into one of these divorce chatterers, you know they can become quite the bore and someone to avoid. Most of the people they talk to really want them to go back to normal and move on.
The way you portray your divorce to the world is the way you will feel about your divorce. It is the way your friends and family and children will react to your divorce. It will impact how people think about you in the future. Think about what your statements say about you—your reputation, your dignity. Of course you will want to have an emotional outlet with those that are closest to you and perhaps have a counselor. Divorce brings along with it many mixed emotions that deserve to be dealt with. But as you process your own divorce, strategically consider how you want to appear to the world at large. Do you want your attitude to reflect your best traits or your worst?
Take a tip from the celebs, who know everything they say about their own divorce could be broadcast to the world. Pretend your own divorce is being recorded and your words will be out in the world for everyone to hear. Inventory your best traits and bring those to your words, thoughts, and actions as you move through your divorce—and remember there really is a positive and more fulfilling life awaiting you on the other side. Use all that energy to envision your future.