While at the moment I am technically still married, I have been separated from my ex for eight months or so, with divorce pending. In certain situations, I find myself unsure of when/if to tell others about this change in my life, and asking myself, When should I tell others that I'm divorced/separated?
I have told some close friends and family about the situation, but there are some people with whom I am not close, that I'd prefer to not have to deal with the uncomfortable conversations that inevitably result, should I broach the subject (or should I object if they reference our marriage).
The problem is that a lot of people I interact with are aware that I have been married (10 years), and so ask questions about my ex like,
How is your wife doing? What is she up to lately? Is she done with school? Can you tell her I said hi?
Usually, if it's a simple question referring to my "wife," I just answer the question, because I just don't want to deal with any additional drama. If I were to say anything like "we're actually separated" or "we're actually in the middle of a divorce," I feel (proven out by experience) it will inevitably lead to other questions and comments that I don't want to answer, like
Oh no, I'm so sorry! What happened? I can't believe it! Why are you getting divorced? You guys are so great together! Why aren't you trying to work it out?
One place this happens often is at my kids' elementary school, where I volunteer frequently. As a result, a lot of people know me, and a fair amount of people also know my ex (though she is less active than me), which frequently leads to situations like the one mentioned above.
I actually told one guy at the school that I'm relatively good friends with about my situation and now he's repeatedly trying to convince me to get back together with her, which is not the desired experience I want to have multiplied 20 times over.
The problem I have is that the more I perpetuate the idea that we are together, when we are not, it's essentially giving credence to a non-truth. But do I really have to have 100 mini-therapy sessions with each person to convey the reality of the situation? Is there any way or time to bring this up that doesn't result in many uncomfortable follow up discussions?
One part of why I don't want to get into it with these people who are essentially just acquaintances is that the reason behind our divorce is due to repeated infidelity on the part of my ex, which I do not want to gossip over or potentially tarnish her reputation over. I also obviously don't want it to reflect negatively on my children in any way.
In addition to the school scenario, I also have similar situations arise at work, but less frequently, and also with neighbors, etc.
In general, I just don't know when or how to bring up our divorce to people in our lives, in order to minimize the negative impact on myself, my ex, and our children. Any help would be greatly appreciated!