I Got Screwed In My Divorce Because I Underestimated This Factor

Learn from the mistakes I made in my divorce.
Don't make the same mistakes I did in my divorce.

couple separating going through divorce YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

One topic keeps rearing its ugly head post-divorce. It’s this idea that being dumb is a prerequisite for getting screwed in a divorce.

"You seem smart," they say.

"How could this happen to a girl like you?" they say.

"You have always been so capable," they say.

Yes, I am smart. Yes, it can happen to a girl like me. It can happen to any girl. It can even happen to a guy. And finally, I am a capable woman.


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It’s not about being smart or even being dumb. 

It’s about underestimating the individual you married.

It’s about seeing the best in a person who no longer deserves it. A person who may have never deserved it.

It’s about trusting someone beyond your marital troubles. It’s about lacking boundaries and having any type of self-protective boundaries. 

"He’s going through a midlife crisis," I would say.

"He’s a good person in a bad place," I would say.

"He’s never been this bad," I would say.

"Something must be wrong," I would say.


"Something must be hurting him," I would say.

I was wrong.

My ex-husband wasn’t going through a thing. He was an angry narcissist.

He was intent on retribution and punishment, not saving our marriage or getting a divorce. He wanted me to pay for having the nerve to leave him. It was all about him.

RELATED: The One Word That Finally Ended My Abusive Marriage

What happened to me in my divorce is about bad people doing bad things.

It’s about a spouse who I mistakenly believed had the same values. And then made it abundantly clear he lacked any morals at all.

It’s about the divorce system and the people who abuse it using the same tired tactics and getting away with lying, cheating, stealing and manipulating to get what they want.


It’s about a spouse who has control of all of the marital money.

The marital partner who is financially abusive to 'win' the desired outcome they desire.

I wasn’t canceling our children’s health insurance. I wasn’t leaving our children without transportation. I wasn’t defaulting on the mortgage. I wasn’t threatening to not send our children to college. I wasn’t turning off the electricity. I wasn’t leaving our children without food or school supplies.

I wasn’t defaulting on bills so sheriff’s deputies showed up at our home with warrants in debt. I wasn’t ruining our credit to make us appear broke. 

I wasn’t lowering the income of our business to reinforce that ‘poor man’s narrative.


I was running interference. 

RELATED: Why My Divorce Was The Best Thing I Ever Did

I was keeping my family’s head above water while a financially abusive man kept pulling us under.

I was dodging his next abusive move. I was treading in place. I was emotionally and physically spent. I was under tremendous stress and duress.

There was no time to be labeled smart or dumb.

I was in the fight of my life to protect my children.

It was pure survival.


"Please stop," I would beg him.

"Just divorce me already," I would say.

"When are you going to decide you love our children more than you hate me?" I would ask.

It didn’t matter how smart or dumb I was.

Nothing was going to stop an abusive man from being abusive. Nothing was going to make a deceitful person honest. Nothing was going to make a man who lacked empathy feel anything.

I didn’t get screwed in divorce because I was dumb.

I got screwed because I underestimated the man I married.

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Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She writes bout love, life, relationships, family, parenting, divorce, and narcissism.