It can happen at work, on social media, or between former spouses after a divorce: gossip. Navigating divorce can be challenging and stressful enough without rumors and gossip, but unfortunately, many divorcees experience it at some point. When people hear whispers about untrue or invasive aspects of their personal lives, it can feel humiliating. If divorcees encounter gossip, there are productive and dignified ways to respond to keep the hearsay to a minimum.
When private information spreads to people besides trusted friends and family members, rumors can quickly occur. As divorcees reference their post-divorce checklist, they can add the helpful tips explored below to aid them in responding to gossip, should it occur.
1. Avoid Responding on Social Media
There are many helpful social media rules to follow after a divorce. Social media should never be used to gain revenge or make insulting statements about an ex-spouse. Sometimes, a former spouse may share on social media many personal details and feelings about their divorce or their ex-spouse. These posts can occasionally include false claims or personal attacks. If a divorcee sees or hears about such a post, he or she should avoid rebutting with a social media post of their own.
Heated, personal social media posts can cause more whispers to spread. Anyone who reads a frenzied caption can make assumptions or judgments about a situation. If a divorcee is bothered by their ex-spouse’s social media posts, they can change their personal settings to hide or block the posts from showing up. When tempted to share a heated social media post, a divorcee can try journaling privately their thoughts or venting to a trusted source instead.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Confront Rumors Face to Face
If a divorcee overhears or is confronted with gossip at work or a social gathering, it may be a good idea l to set the record straight during a live conversation. There is no need to go into great detail when facing gossip; instead, simply explain that the information being shared is untrue. Divorcees can also let people know that they do not appreciate being the subject of negative conversation.
Keeping responses short and direct will diminish the fuel to the fire quickly. However, if a divorcee responds to gossip with too much information and counter-responses, it can, unfortunately, give gossipers more to talk about. It is always best to remain direct, concise, and polite.
3. Protect Children and Family Members
Perhaps a divorcee can handle the office or social media gossip about their divorce, but if children are mentioned in the conversation, that can change the story entirely. Helping children manage their parents’ divorce should be at the top of the list for any family. Gossip at work, on social media, or in public settings that involve children of a divorce should be addressed and shut down immediately with clear verbal boundaries. If the situation progresses to a harmful point, the divorced parent should seek legal help.
Keep children removed from any scenarios where gossip runs rampant. If a divorcee has a particular family member or acquaintance who always brings up rumors or gossip, they should avoid interacting with them when children are around. Additionally, privacy settings can be placed on children’s computers to protect them from seeing social media gossip from a parent or family member.
4. Take the High Road With Ex-Spouses
Sometimes, divorce can get messy. Spouses may make untrue claims about child custody, finances, or assets. Gossip and false accusations during the divorce process should be handled with the help of a skilled divorce lawyer. If a spouse brings untrue statements against the other, the accused spouse should never try to solve the situation alone. Legal guidance is recommended to disprove false allegations.
If an ex-spouse continues to gossip after the divorce is finalized, it is beneficial for the spouse on the receiving end to take the high road. When an ex-spouse makes accusations, name calls, or acts rude and unkind, it can sometimes feel impossible to respond graciously. However, the gossiping ex-spouse is seeking attention for their actions. If the gossiping spouse constantly receives attention and engagement with every unkind comment, they are likely to continue spreading gossip and rumors.
On the other hand, if the gossiping spouse’s comments are ignored, they are more likely to hold back their behavior if they aren’t receiving any validation or attention in return. As always, keep children out of the gossip when possible, especially if one ex-spouse shares negative opinions about the other to their children. Divorced parents should try to always speak about their children’s other parent in a neutral or positive way to avoid an uncomfortable or upsetting situation for the kids.
5. Start Looking Forward
Thankfully, rumors and gossip about divorce don’t last forever. When the news about a divorce becomes less fresh in people’s minds, the gossip is likely to die down with it. As long as a divorcee actively chooses not to fuel the rumors and responds directly and graciously, gossip shouldn’t overtake one’s life. Divorcees can move on with their life in a healthy way by:
- Staying focused on work;
- Creating goals;
- Engaging with family;
- Volunteering in the community; and
- Finding new interests and hobbies.
If gossip ever transpires into an unsafe situation for a former spouse or their children, they should take necessary legal action with the authorities.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.