Everybody has a story to tell. That part is simple. What complicates things is the idea that there are two sides to every story, especially when it comes to divorce, and everyone who tells their version thinks they are right. That's hard enough to deal with when you try to work it out quietly, with your ex-partner. But too often hurtful thoughts and information are not kept in the family, so to speak, but instead are shouted from the rooftops for everyone far and wide to hear.
We recently heard about how Jesse James just had the best year of his life after becoming engaged to tattoo artist Kat Von D. Never mind that it was barely a year ago the he and his wife Sandra Bullock so publicly separated and then divorced after his betrayals came to light. Never mind that Sandra was seemingly devastated by the loss during what should have been a wonderful time in her life; she had just won an Academy Award for her performance in The Blind Side. He was in love again, he wanted everyone to know. He spoke off the top of his head without thinking about the consequences or who would be hurt by his statement. He isn't alone. What about Steve Harvey's ex-wife Mary, airing their private business on You-Tube? She spoke openly about her ex-husband's infidelity, his inappropriate sexual emails to and from someone other than her and his coldness when he left her.
These days, you certainly don't have to be a celebrity to get your story out there. With YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, it is too easy to have a podium to spread your word, and therefore there is much more room for collateral damage when a marriage falls apart. Of course, when you are hurt or angry the urge to convince others that you have been wronged can be strong - and in a divorce, everybody feels wronged. There is a desire to appeal to the masses - your family, your friends or the public - to validate the feelings and beliefs you have, a hope that people will take your side as you go through your divorce. The problem is that when you try to invalidate your ex's story, you make them feel worthless. Not only are you taking away from them, but when children are involved it perpetuates the fallout of divorce over and over again. Whatever led to your divorce, whether it was infidelity or irreconcilable differences, was a violation of the marriage vows the two of you took; to speak publicly about it in a way that maligns either your ex or the marriage is a continuation of that violation, and it perpetuates the negative behavior that has already taken place.
Before you are so quick to jump on the runaway train to share your anger and publicize your story, think about the impact and harm your words might cause. Ask yourself what you are trying to gain through rallying the support of others, often strangers. You want validation, but at what price? Of course you want to share your story with someone, but it's really important to do that with awareness and consideration of what you are looking to accomplish, be conscious of the possible repercussions of what you say. At some point, both of you will want to move through the divorce into the next stages of your lives, whatever that might bring, and this is one of the first steps to getting there. Talking with animosity or in a devaluing way about your ex-partner will keep you stuck in a negative place and will hold you back from moving forward with your life, and finally working through the pain.
If Jesse James is really as happy as he says he is, why couldn't he show some respect and sensitivity for the marriage he had to Sandra Bullock? With his one thoughtless remark he essentially exonerated his desperado behavior and devalued everything he had shared with Sandra. He epitomizes selfishness because ultimately it was and remains all about what's good for him. Jesse James named himself after an outlaw; maybe we shouldn't be so surprised that he robbed Sandra not only of her happiness but also her privacy, however, he couldn't take her dignity. The bottom line is, no matter how good or bad your love life is, think before you speak.