5 Crazy Things No One Warns You About Getting Divorced

Financially, everyone knows divorce costs a ton. But these things? No one explained them.

Tug of war between divorced married couple, surrounded by blank space Avelino Calvar via Canva | AegeanBlue via Canva | Billion Photos via Canva 

Is anyone else in the middle of a "divorce wave" in their circle of friends?

First, it started out when my guy friend Janus* went to jail and papers got filed. Then, my friend Maria* got hit with papers after 10 years of marriage. Now, my other guy friend is divorcing his wife.

If you’re experiencing this, you’re not alone. Studies actually show that divorce is contagious. Once one person in your friend group divorces, it’s usually common enough to see others follow suit.


All things considered, I’ve been seeing a lot of different sides of divorce.

Divorce seems to be one of those things that no one can fully warn you about unless they’ve been there. Or, as my friend Ted* explained, "If you know, you know."

I never realized how devastating a divorce can be until I saw my friends go through it. Financially, everyone knows it costs a ton. But these things? Yeah, no one explained them.


RELATED: 45 Things To Remember During The Divorce Process To Help You Move On, According To A Divorce Coach

Here are 5 crazy things no one warns you about getting divorced:

1. The divvying up of friends

I had frequently overheard people bemoan losing a mother-in-law who they began to see as a parent figure. At times, people are also shocked at how little their in-laws stick up for them during a divorce or abuse.

To a point, that’s to be expected. Rare is the parent who sides with their daughter/son-in-law instead of their own kid. It makes sense, though. It’s your blood relations.

What most people don’t tell you is the sheer number of friends you’ll lose. Like with all breakups, there’s a certain point where friends are going to side with one person or another. That’s to be expected.


But, when it’s a divorce, it’s not like a breakup. People get a lot meaner to those they reject because you’re not just the ex. You’re the "awful gold digger who took all his money" or "the cad who cheated on a pregnant wife."

Oh, and remember when I said that divorce seems to be contagious? Expect some friends to bail completely when you announce a divorce. Some might even treat you like you’re a homewrecker. The people who do this are rarely ever the people you’d expect, either.

2. The house looks so much emptier

My friend Ted came home to find his ex’s stuff all gone: all her clothes, her furniture, her paintings, everything gone. It was then that it hit him, the full severity of a divorce.

His home, once cramped, felt extremely spacious. People don’t realize how much space a person can take up until that person is gone. Even a minimalist will have a lot of stuff with them.


No one can prepare you for how this feels. In a weird way, it almost feels like your place is haunted by the ghost of a person who’s still alive.

It’s jarring and it’s something you really have to brace for.

RELATED: The Simple Way To Decide If You Should Get Divorced Or Not

3. You might feel a weird pressure to try to explain yourself to others

So, this is one of those things that I notice tends to happen with people who aren’t narcissists, abusive, or cheaters. Most people who are actually doing the damage are actually pretty vocal about what kind of a monster they married.

Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule there — especially when it comes to extreme abuse or a marriage that was so resentment-filled, it was bound to collapse. But, I digress.


When you say you’re divorced, people tend to expect an explanation. Or, at least it feels that way. If you grew up in a conservative area, divorce is seen as a personal failing, especially if you’re female.

Sometimes, people don’t say anything but you feel like you have to say something to just fill in the quiet pauses. It’s a struggle, especially when you are still struggling with the idea that divorce could be a personal failure.

4. No one tells you that you might not recognize your ex

For the most part, my friends have been lucky because most of their divorces are fairly amicable. Or rather, they are as amicable as one could expect them to be, given the personality of their ex.

My friend Riley* was a bit different. She had a husband, Lou*, who was very kind, gentle, and supportive of her. They married and agreed not to have kids. They wanted to have a cat rescue and a large house.


Their relationship was great until Lou’s mother died. Then, he changed his mind when it came to kids. He wouldn’t stop whining and badgering her, so she decided to divorce him because she was not willing to have children.

Lou went from this sweet, soft-spoken guy who was the "envy husband" of her circle of friends to … Well, a psycho. In the span of the three months after she served papers, he:

  • Threatened to kill himself
  • Warned her that he would "make her so poor, she’ll die in the street"
  • Vandalized some of her belongings
  • Held her dog hostage
  • Went on a full smear campaign against her

Everyone who saw those text messages was floored. He was a monster to her, and it was so unlike what we were used to seeing. Thankfully, Riley is now in a safe area where Lou can’t get to her.

Real talk: no one would have believed that Lou could turn into such a horrible human being. Nobody in our group of friends could recognize him. Whether he was always this person or he just snapped is beyond us, but it illustrates a serious truth about divorce.


Nothing will turn an otherwise-decent person into a hateful, spiteful, and greedy mofo like a divorce they don’t want. You don’t know how your spouse will react, so if you’re worried for your safety, get yourself (and your pets/kids) away before it’s too late.

RELATED: 8 Harsh Things About Getting Divorced (That Few Will Tell You)

5. Finally, no one prepares you for the flights of random emotions that come with divorce

I remember when my mom’s friend had a divorce when I was a kid. Mom made spaghetti for them as her friend stayed for a bit. As soon as the spaghetti hit the plate, she cried.

She was fine three minutes ago.


I don’t know whether the pasta was just that bad, or if the pasta reminded her of something. Whatever the reason was, she started sobbing hysterically and left the table.

For most of us, this seems totally wild. For anyone who has ever been through a rough breakup (and divorces are always rough), it makes perfect sense.

There’s not always a rhyme or reason as to what sets us off when we grieve. Sometimes, what you think you’ll be devastated over ends up being a big ol’ nothing. Other times, it’s the stupidest little thing you find yourself crying over.

At times, you may also find yourself being calm, calm, calm … and then a small little inconvenience sets you off. That, too, is normal — especially if you were raised to bottle up emotions.


No matter how you grieve, you should just assume that divorce is something that you’re going to have to battle through. No one has the right to judge you for the way you cope until they’ve walked a mile in your shoes.

RELATED: Getting Divorced Saved My Life: 3 Critical Things I Learned

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.