Divorce has been around in a serious way in our culture for more than half a century, so you'd think by now that we'd have developed an etiquette for what one can and cannot say to the maritally-maimed. You'd think we'd have devised a common language of condolence for the newly-split, who have just watched their hopes, dreams, families, futures and a chunk of their pasts go up in smoke. You'd think we'd have a vocabulary for such things. But you'd be wrong.
It never ceases to amaze me how many well-meaning and otherwise intelligent people who think they're offering comforting words to someone whose marriage has recently gone south, can put their foot in it. Herewith, my collection of the most boneheaded (and hopefully soon-to-be-considered verboten) things one can say to someone whose marriage has just tanked. (Feel free to interchange masculine and feminine pronouns throughout.)