I‘ve got a question on social etiquette. I got married a few years ago, moved away from my home town, split up with my husband and have moved back. I have to face all the inevitable questions about what happened, but the truth is there isn’t much to it; we fell out of love and the relationship fell apart. There was no property division, kids / custody battle. I’ve definitely moved on but how do I tell people that without sounding flippant? Also, how do I let prospective beaus know about my starter marriage without sounding like I’m dragging around a Santa sack of baggage? Which to be honest I don’t feel like I am, but also I don’t want to come across as someone who didn’t take her marriage seriously. Thanks. Beach Blanket Bingo
It’s probably pretty normal that everyone around you is speculating on the state of your starter marriage – and wondering what went wrong, as it sounds like you weren’t together that long and most people are bloody nosy. (I know, I am one of them – but as a journalist it’s part of MY JOB to be nosy. I get paid to be nosy. Honest.) Still, I get that you must be sick of talking about it and explaining the reasons simply to satisfy someone else’s curiosity, especially when you’d rather not go into detail about what I’m sure was a crappy, horribly painful time for you. So don’t. I’d have a stock standard answer for those you’re not particularly close to, and trot that out when necessary – remaining firm and refusing to be pushed for more details. Something like, ‘Yes, my divorce to ex-Hubby came through recently. It was a hard time, but the truth is, we just grew apart. It happens. I’m really glad to be back home, though, and hopeful about what the future holds. So what’s new with you? How’s Aunt Margery’s dicky heart doing?’ You’ve stated the facts and steered the conversation back to something else – without sounding flippant. It’s a clever trick and polite way of getting any nosy parker to put a sock in it.
With prospective beaus, I would use the same kind of line – perhaps providing a bit more info if they seem to want to suss out whether there might be a future. You might want to let them know that you’ve had a decent stretch of time on your own to process the split and come to terms with what you want and need from future partners. That way you’ll come across as someone who’s got her shit together and is ready to explore new horizons. As for the Santa sack of baggage – well, honey, we’re ALL carting that around. Santa – I mean our exes – have a lot to answer for, at the end of the day.
Love, reality chick