Dear Divorcee: On Relationship Advice

In the year after I split from my husband, my female friends all started asking me for relationship advice. The questions ran the gamut, everything from, “I really like this guy, how do I tell him?” to “I’m not attracted to my man anymore, what should I do?” to “My dude flipped out last night and started breaking shit. Should I leave him?”

Why these women all of a sudden wanted advice from admittedly the worst person in the world at relationships wasn’t clear to me. All I could think was that they were unhappy and seeking permission from me to leave the guys they were with. That they wanted assurances that being single in your mid-30s is no biggie. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s nothing more panic-inducing for people in a relationship than to watch another couple’s relationship fall apart.

When mine was imploding, I only confided in a select few people, and slowly but surely, every single one of them broke off contact with me. No one wants a love leper in their cabal so after friendship #3 took a nosedive, I became very conscientious about who I spoke with about my problems: no one. A couple friends said they knew even when I didn’t say anything. Another, seemingly unprompted, came to my house one day, sat on the couch, and began spewing forth some of the best advice I’d ever received, including the one that pushed my button the hardest: “You have to ask yourself, can I do this every day for the next 60 years?”

Thing of it is: at that very moment, said friend was having an affair and contemplating leaving her loveless two-decade long marriage. She wasn’t giving me advice so much as using me as her therapist, but at the time, I didn’t know that. She only told me after I’d left my husband and she’d stayed with hers. Does that change the meaning of her advice? Of course it does. So shouldn’t it mean something different when I, a divorcee, offer you advice on your relationship? Why on earth would you even bother?

Of course divorce is fucking hard. So is relationship maintenance. You have to ask yourself, which decision can I live with for the next 60 years and stop asking me for advice. Because from now on, the only advice I’m going to give is this: Fuck him. Take that whatever way you want. Decision’s yours anyway.

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