Just about everything we hear regarding comparing our divorce to someone else’s is overwhelmingly unanimous - and understandably, accurate. Experts galore emphasize the dangers of comparing our own divorce experience to our friend’s, neighbor’s, or co-worker’s. After all, everyone’s circumstances are drastically different, on many accounts. From finances and settlements to motivators for the split and the portrait of post-divorce life, everyone has their own horror and success stories to share, and two portraits rarely ever look alike.
The Good that Can Come from Comparing Divorce Experiences
While it is true that many negative results can spring from comparing the end of our marriage to someone else’s, like the bolstering of unrealistic expectations and greater emotional turmoil, there are a few benefits to making comparisons that can actually help, not hinder us. It is all a matter of perspective. Before you shut yourself away from conversing with fellow divorcees and turn off the urge to compare your split to your neighbor’s, consider the following:
1. Comparing allows you to discover you are not alone - One positive advantage of comparing your experience and listening to the various accounts of divorce from others is that you quickly discover you are not alone in your difficulties. While it is never fun to see someone else in pain or to witness their struggles firsthand (as it can easily add to your own divorce anxieties), some comfort can be drawn from observing one major similarity: No matter the circumstances, everyone experiences unique obstacles, financial challenges, and emotional battles. Do not compare your experience in order to measure your divorce against another, but instead compare to gain insight and a fresh perspective on the loss you are grieving.
2. You have the opportunity to strengthen your support system - Therapists stress the importance of seeking out and building an emotional support system throughout the divorce process. A part of building such a support system often includes speaking to others who have been through what you are now going through. Discussing the experience with others and comparing their struggles to your own can help you relate and at the same time also strengthen the bonds you’ve made with those in your support network by building a sense of trust and safety....