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Expectations vs. Reality

"We think we know about divorce....Until it happens to us. And then we’re forced to accept that our expectations are often misguided and that the reality of divorce is something altogether different."

Lisa Arends, in an article on, highlights twenty common expectations that people have regarding divorce and how the reality is usually very different. See below for three example and click here to read the entire article.

If you need help understanding the divorce process and/or navigating the realities of the divorce process, contact One Step Forward for help. We can help you maintain realistic expectations and empower you to make the most informed decisions possible.

Expectation: I wanted this divorce, so it won’t impact me that much emotionally.

Reality: Divorce is hard on everyone, whether you’re the one who initiated the split or not. Often, the one who started the ball rolling wrestles with the decision for some time and may even feel guilty about “giving up.” They may have wanted desperately for the marriage to work, but their partner isn’t willing to meet their efforts. Additionally, the partner who leaves the marriage is often blamed for the split and may not receive the same sympathy from friends and family.

Expectation: Both my ex and I are generally reasonable people, so we won’t let this divorce turn ugly.

Reality: You don’t really know a person until you divorce them. Divorce has a way of making even the most rational people act crazy, with its unfamiliar situations and very high stakes. It’s easy to become involved in a tit-for-tat war or to allow your emotions to drive your decisions. Furthermore, there is often a slippery slope of poor decisions, where the unthinkable slowly begins to feel perfectly normal.

Expectation: After the divorce, I won’t have to deal with my ex again.

Reality: If you and your ex have children together, they will always be in your life to some extent (even once the children are adults). In addition to parenting demands, you may also have to deal with your ex about financial situations or when untangling other accounts. Regardless of their actual presence, you will probably find that they still have a strong emotional existence for you for some time.

Photo credit: "Expectations Vs. Reality" by bjornmeansbear is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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