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BrokenDaisy posted 8/26/2013 06:14 AM

My NB has finally started. I moved to a new city very far from the previous one at the beginning of this month. Currently I am a full time SAHM to my toddler son. I have had many different reactions to me being a single parent. I live in a very family orientated area and our country is still very conservative (i.o.w negative stereotypes about single parents) so that might be why.

I've had a few people say the following and variations of it when I say I'm divorced (Our divorce isn't final yet but I'm not going to explain that to strangers too so I have just been saying I'm divorced): "marriage used to mean something to people", "people don't work on marriages anymore they just get divorced with the first little hurdle","you young people forget marriage is sacred". I'm an introvert and shy and my (18 month old) son was with me every time someone said something like this and it has caught me off guard every single time. So far I've just mumbled some nonsense and escaped. It upsets me every single time. How dare they just assume because I am young that I threw away my marriage on a whim! I took my vows seriously. I tried to reconcile for 16 months with a SA NPD. We weren't even dating a month when he first cheated on me (I was obviously unaware of this until dday) I gave all I could to the marriage. I grew up with him for goodness sake I was totally blindsided by everything. I trusted him fully and I was a good wife. Being young had nothing to do with it! What is it with society always blaming/judging the victim? I'm sick of it. Why are people so darn rude?

However I can't say all this to strangers. It has made me reluctant to offer up that I am divorced/single mother.

What do you say to people? I've been thinking I'll give the awesome "I didn't like his girlfriends" response to the next rude person but what do I say to nice people? For example my new neighbours. They're very polite and friendly and they're bound to ask soon what is the deal. What about new potential friends? Do I just lay it all out? How much info do I give? I don't want to come across as bitter neither do I want to make people uncomfortable or want their pity bit I also want them to know it isn't my fault I'm raising my son alone.

I know I care too much about others perceptions. I just hate stereotypes and all the unfair judging I have received since this all happened (we have been very open about stbx cheating on me. No details but friends and family all know) I'm working on not letting it upset me and as soon as I can get back to IC I will discuss it there too.

nowiknow23 posted 8/26/2013 07:12 AM

It can be tricky to address such rude comments while trying to remain friendly, and I can see that's something you are interested in doing with certain people like your neighbors.

Think about what kinds of statements you can make that are truthful, short, keep your private details private, and yet strongly push back on the parts of their statements that feel judgmental or presumptuous to you. Just a couple of suggestions that may work for you (tweak as needed) -

"marriage used to mean something to people"
I know. It's so sad that it didn't mean anything to my ex-husband.

"people don't work on marriages anymore they just get divorced with the first little hurdle"
I don't find that to be true. I know I worked very hard to keep my marriage, but it takes two.

"you young people forget marriage is sacred".
I believe marriage is sacred, but my ex-husband did not.

Best of luck on your NB!

*edited because I can't format properly before my first coffee.

[This message edited by nowiknow23 at 7:13 AM, August 26th (Monday)]

cmego posted 8/26/2013 07:15 AM

I did the same...packed my children up and we moved to a new city after S. I moved into a typical suburban neighborhood with mostly families. I feel like the odd man out most times.

If a stranger said that to me I'd quickly retort, "I believe in marriage too...but his girlfriend didn't." And. Walk. Away.

To the neighbors? I'd let it come out more slowly. They may or may not ask, but I'm sure they are curious. I've been here two years, and one neighbor finally came out and asked...since she sees ex here picking up the kids, and, after all, he is "so nice and friendly!".

newnormal posted 8/26/2013 07:19 AM

I live in the Bible belt, so what worked for me when my nice friends pushed my response was "I had a biblical reason". That really makes the nice church ladies never ask again and they become reeaaally supportive. I have to wonder how many of them went through what we have?

Amazonia posted 8/26/2013 08:01 AM

I used almost word for word the lines NIK gave you,

BrokenDaisy posted 8/26/2013 08:49 AM

Thanks everyone! NIK those are the exact type of responses I was looking for, thank you. Such simple answers so difficult to give them. I don't know why I freeze up with strangers.

Cmego you're one of the biggest inspirations on here for me. Thank you for always responding to my threads.

nowiknow23 posted 8/26/2013 08:54 AM

I don't know why I freeze up with strangers.
I used to get the same way - for me, it was just such an intrusion! They are WAY overstepping, and it's jarring. My brain would take a couple of minutes to kick in when faced with such rudeness. Because I'm all nice and crap and I would NEVER think to say such things to someone else.

gahurts posted 8/26/2013 09:50 AM

These kinds of comments burn me up. Blame the victim. Marriage is sacred and permanent to me but what do you do when the spounse walks away from you. Twice. The second one didn't even wait until she left the M but still expects me to support her financially. Yet I'm the bad guy.

I really love that biblical response.

Embers2Fire posted 8/27/2013 01:01 AM

I also moved to a new city after leaving my XWH although I am not a single mother people will always ask me what brought me to this city. My standard response for strangers is "a series of unfortunate events better told over very many margaritas and we have not had enough to drink yet" and then I smile. Most people get a chuckle out of it and then drop the subject.

ArkLaMiss posted 8/27/2013 01:12 AM

I would smile politely and say " my ex husband tried to kill me." Then walk away

Sad in AZ posted 8/27/2013 04:25 AM

Everyone gets the same from me: "I divorced him because I didn't like his girlfriend." You get laughs from the cool people and shocked silence from everyone else. I love it.

Kajem posted 8/27/2013 04:54 AM

I be used the same as Sad and "We had a difference in religious opinion, he thought he was God - I disagreed."

It sucks that people judge so immediately and are rude about it.

Hugs,
K

cmego posted 8/27/2013 06:35 AM

Cmego you're one of the biggest inspirations on here for me. Thank you for always responding to my threads.

If I can do this...you can do this! For me, it was learning to just put my head down and plow forward. I have to make my decisions based on what is best for me and my children. Period. I am in control of my life and you are in control of yours. You can do this!

risingfromashes posted 8/27/2013 06:54 AM

I find the "didn't like his girlfriends" response is helpful in many ways. It clearly defines the situation, stops further inquiry, and gives the message that I have moved on.

I sometimes, just to mix it up, respond with:

When we got married I thought he was going to stop dating. At least I assumed he was going to cut back!

This also takes care of things

BrokenDaisy posted 8/27/2013 07:18 AM

Thank you everyone!


I used to get the same way - for me, it was just such an intrusion! They are WAY overstepping, and it's jarring. My brain would take a couple of minutes to kick in when faced with such rudeness. Because I'm all nice and crap and I would NEVER think to say such things to someone else.

Exactly this!

My standard response for strangers is "a series of unfortunate events better told over very many margaritas and we have not had enough to drink yet" and then I smile. Most people get a chuckle out of it and then drop the subject.

Also a good ice breaker!

If I can do this...you can do this! For me, it was learning to just put my head down and plow forward. I have to make my decisions based on what is best for me and my children. Period. I am in control of my life and you are in control of yours. You can do this!

Thanks cmego! That is pretty much my mantra these days. I am taking one little challenge at a time and it is working. I am feeling much better than that first week here and feeling lighter without the leecher of the stbx around. Just trying to keep plowing ahead one thing at a time.

I find the "didn't like his girlfriends" response is helpful in many ways. It clearly defines the situation, stops further inquiry, and gives the message that I have moved on.

Very true. That's why I like it so much. Just need to get the guts to use it next time!

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