Stereotypes exist for a reason, they say, but it doesn't mean that we should make judgments or pass assumptions based on some mythological stereotype.
Here are some of the stereotypes divorced women face each day—whether the experience is true, or completely false for them. Instead of making assumptions that all divorces and divorced people act along "gendered lines," we would really benefit if we could agree that divorce doesn't look the same for anyone.
I know not one single person who has my exact "divorce story," and to recognize that divorce impacts people and children in different ways will only help us make our new lives, post-divorce, better.
She's a gold-digger.
Not all divorcing women are rolling in alimony. Reality is some women pay their former spouses, not the other way around. People assume falsely that not only will a woman be "financially okay," but she'll also make out big after her divorce, leaving her ex floundering. That certainly isn't my situation by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it for many people I happen to know.
She's spending the child support on manicures.
I'm sure a certain someone got into my ex's head that maybe I was using that big 30 bucks toward myself instead of dance tuition—and of course, that's not the case. It can be a case of poverty for the divorcing woman; and so those child support dollars most likely are going to groceries and maintenance of the children. I am sure there are a few women heading to the mall with that check, but I am also even more certain that there are very few women doing that.
She is weeping night and day over losing her spouse.
People assume that women are always broken-hearted over their divorce. Yet a study done in 2015 by Michael Rosenfeld at Stanford University says that women are more likely to initiate divorce than men. If that's the case, why do people assume women are just sobbing about their former spouses into a tub of Ben 'n' Jerry's? Some women couldn't be more thrilled that their marriage is over!
She is absolutely crazy.
Men love to paint their ex-wives as crazy, yes? Stereotype? Yes! But this is one divorced woman face pretty much everywhere. All of us are a little crazy, and some of us are very crazy—men and women alike. The crazy ex-wife trope is old news, boys and girls. Get over it.
She always has the kids—and her former spouse doesn't.
While there are, indeed, many of us doing the work of two parents while the other "co-parent" goes off into another new life to selfishly abandon the kids, there are also many men sharing custody. In fact, I know a few 50/50 custody dads, as well as some dads who do the majority of the child rearing. Divorce is complicated, and with kids involved, even more so.
She didn't want the divorce—he filed first.
Like I pointed out in number #3, many women file first. Many women say, "enough of this," and make the call to end the marriage. A man is not necessarily the person calling the shots.
She badmouths the ex and the new partner.
Most people I know, and are friends with, truly have a big picture view of why their marriage didn't work, as well as their former spouse's pros and cons. Most of us can see things through a grey lens. The trouble begins when a new partner meddles with the co-parenting, or when a former co-parent goes MIA thanks to a new relationship. Still, many of us can find the good in someone we left. Women aren't a bunch of haters, even if that's what society wants you to believe.
She makes the kids hate the former spouse.
No. Both men and women sometimes pin the kids against the other. I've seen men do it; and I have heard of women doing it. Sometimes people don't even realize how they are using their kids as pawns in divorce, and it is sad. But no, women aren't out to make their kids hate the former spouse. In fact, most of us want, and hope, for our kids to love both parents; and we hope that both parents make the effort to help the kids feel loved, post-divorce, which is so very important for the littles.
Written by Laura Lifshitz
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated, writer, comedienne, and single mother. Laura will work for chocolate. The former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate is currently writing about divorce, sex, women's issues, fitness, parenting, marriage and more for the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women's Health, Redbook, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, Your Tango and numerous other sites. Her own website is FromMTVToMommy.com.