For the first time in my adult life, I find myself struggling with honesty. People ask me questions, and I don't want to tell them the real answers. I don't want to say how long ago I left my job, I don't want to say that I was married, don't want to say I am divorced, don't want to say a whole lot of things.

This has been somewhat enlightening. I used to think people lied for selfish gain. Now I see there is another component - to cover shame.

I've never had to make a concerted effort to be honest, and it is quite interesting. I think the thing I need to do is find the narrative that I am comfortable with. So I'm trying to figure out how to tell my story without going into sad details, or revealing too much, yet still explain my situation. Some examples I am trying out:

1) I taught music for several years, traveled for a year, and decided to come back to school.
2) I was married and followed my wife out to Oregon. It did not work out, so I came back to Indiana!
3) I was married, and traveled for a year. Now I'm not traveling or married?

Some I DO NOT want to say:
1) I was in a sexless marriage (this will not win you new friends among people you just met)
2) I left my job to make my wife happy, she turned her back on me once she came into money, and so I left, but could not get a job, so I'm changing careers.
3) Etc...

I'm in an environment where being positive is a REALLY good thing. So I want to be able to tell my story in a good way.

Also trying to develop life experiences so that my story is about what I'm doing now, and not how I got here.

The thing that is important - out in the real world, telling people your woes pushes them away. Instead, focusing on the positive is SOOOO important. But, it is hard after you've been in such a negative situation.

FilteringMachine FilteringMachine
31-35, M
8 Responses Aug 24, 2012


When asked what brought me out of the desert and back home, I used the vague "change in life circumstance" language from insurance providers. <br />
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When I divorced, my boss who is very paternal (in a good way) said something like "I don't know what that man did to you but whatever it was someone should take him out back and beat him". He didn't need or want to know the "what" or "why" and all I needed was to know someone cared about me. <br />
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I <3 the south. :*)<br />
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Princess SafeBackHome

You don't owe anyone an explanation about your life. There's nothing to feel shame over and nothing to explain. No explanation is necessary. You feel shame so in part you feel like you have to lie. But to some degree when we get a divorce we feel like a failure so we also feel the need to defend ourselves to others so to some extent we may tell too much about what the other person did wrong before we realize the danger in that. I quickly learned to stop doing that, but not until I crossed that line once or twice. You can own what you did and know what she did without having to make anyone know it in your new circle. For many if they've never been through a failing marriage or a divorce, they simply won't understand no matter how much you explain. If they have been through it, no explanation is necessary. You don't have to please these people. Please and protect you, NOT them.

You will realise that you are gaining some of the confidence you need when you can readily and easily draw your own boundaries without feeling particularly awkward about it and being able to be honest and candid at the same time, even friendly about it. What is wrong with being able to just say "In the end we just couldn't get along." People don't need to know why and they won't ask either. And if you say absolutely nothing they will jump to their own wild assumptions anyway. Have fun just keeping them on their toes and in their place without them even realising that is what is happening.

FM, on all counts, you will be amazed at how many people, in real life, are in the same boat. You can give the minimum explanation you're comfortable with ... and very often the other person will burble out their own story of divorce, career change, family crises, etc. I once listened with jaw dropped while a women told me about how her middle-aged middle-class regular-guy husband had become addicted to cocaine and spiraled down into the inevitable abyss, wrecking their marriage, finances, and his health (he ended up dead pretty fast).<br />
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The point is, you're not unique, and not alone. The more you listen to others, the more you'll find that's true. <br />
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As for the SM? "We grew apart ..." with a slightly sad look works well. Then change the subject ...

Love it: "We grew apart ..." with a slightly sad look works well.

I'll have to use it. Better than bleeding all over somebody.

I left my wife and kids. Even though it was to escape some pretty extreme emotional abuse, there's almost NO good way to spin that.<br />
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So I have adapted a new standard: I only speak when what I have to say causes less suffering than remaining silent. If it causes ME suffering to say it, then I don't. I have created an email address called "evil(ex-wife's name)@..." and send my nasty emails to it instead of to her, because it would cause HER suffering to read them.<br />
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You would be surprising how easy it is to be silent. People value listening - REAL listening, where you concentrate on their words instead of your response to them.<br />
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There is great merit in not answering.

The email address love it!

I love idea to sending emails that he would never read and provide a release for me.

Blue, I love the e-mail address idea. One note of caution: speaking as an IT techie-type person with first-hand experience, I can tell you that e-mail is NEVER completely private. Even after it's deleted. Someone, somewhere, has the authority to potentially access to that mailbox and any mail that ever passed through it. Just sayin'.

Thanks for the reminder, Chai... At this point, I have nothing to take, and nothing to lose. If I ever applied for custody of my children, my attorney has assured me that a judge would only consider communications with her, not with myself (i.e. journals, etc). However, it might be a good idea to archive that stuff and store it in a True-Crypt container online. I'll make that a priority.

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there is no reason to tell ur life story to any one... its ur bizz not thiers !

Thank you again for articulating another aspect of waht I'm also going through. Are you the musical, male me? /jk.<br />
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I do find I'm caring less about following-through on things as well. I also used to look down on anyone who didn't pour 110% into their relationships and everything they did. That 110% has costs associated, though. I'm doing things in an attempt to figure out what to do, rather than jumping on anything I start and absolutely following through.<br />
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As for the "lies", I think part of it is not wanting to be judged. However I am quite easily able to see through people's lies and used to judge them harshly for not revealing everything; now I can understand, to a large degree. <br />
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I want to start again. I don't want to dwell. But it's so hard to explain everything. "I can't work full time evenings, because I cannot rely on my EX to be well enough to look after the kids" won't be getting me any sympathy at my job interview later today. But it's the truth. As soon as I say that they will say well she's not for us. But at the same time, every job I have ever done I've completed to everyone's great satisfaction! <br />
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Cannot even begin to think what I'll be saying when dating... ugh.

tell them u share a car and the only time u have it is....

You can't work evenings. Period. No explanation is required.
The minute you raise a topic in an interview (kids, ex, childcare, aged parents, or whatever) the door is open for more questions that would otherwise have been illegal for the interviewer to ask.