Dating and relationship coaches are a dime a dozen. Sorry to all of you out there but we are. Some of us are certified, some of us have a knack and some of us are simply good at self-aggrandizing. I am one of the certified ones and there should be some credibility applied to that. Yay for me!
Now let’s get real.
If I had no relationship experience, I would be an absolutely terrible relationship coach regardless of my certifications and such. Why? Because advice cannot survive from academics alone. And while talking to others about their experiences is a bridge closer to relevancy, something is still amiss. That something is what we get from personal experiences, especially adversity.
Your experiences are irreplaceable and I contend that divorcee’s can offer much better marital advice than non-divorcees. My reasons are simple:
1. Beyond the academics. Sometimes the most annoying part of the therapy and coaching world is the plethora of statistics and trends used to justify or validate beliefs or advice. I used to write for a popular online media group that loved to put the phrase ‘Says Science’ at the end of every title. For example, ‘Who Will Ask Who Out First? (Says Science)’. Feelings, however are not things nor can science or statistics tell the whole story.
This is not to say that there is no validity to trends and the like but it often takes years and years of ‘data’ to get a community of professionals to begin taking seriously any new findings that eventually become credible. Meanwhile, relationships start and end every day. Men and women experience things every day. Marital advice that results from a study that started five years ago may or not be relevant today.
Divorcee’s have been there and done that and can offer advice that goes beyond the academics. Hint: If you give marital advice to someone that is full in their heart, statistics and fancy words will go right through them.
2. Candor. Candor is necessary, even if it comes through with heavy emotion and a scattered delivery. One of the most significant phenomenon’s of the internet, blogs, and social media has been the fearless, timely and direct delivery of thoughts and feelings from one person to the next. The resonance it has with ‘like minded’ people cannot be overstated.
Marital advice cannot be more about the delivery than the message and I have found that divorcees that give advice do so with candor. There is candor that turns into energy that turns into passion that just so happens to open ears and minds.
Divorcees also bring the added benefit of…
3. Personal examples. I was watching an NFL post-game show and there was a clear distinction in relevance between the commentators that were former players and those that were lifelong sports personalities. Ex-NFL players speak beyond the hypothetical. They can tell their own ‘war stories’ and it makes their words more meaningful.
Divorcee’s have war stories too. They combine words of advice with personal experiences. This forms an irreplaceable…
4. Connection. We tire of Hollywood stars trying to connect with us on matters that they cannot even fathom. Politicians talking to us about health care when they do not have to live by the same system? Don’t get me started. What about the boss who stands in front of one hundred employees and speaks from a script. Terrible, right? Why? Because there is no connection, we do not feel them because we know that they do not feel us.
On the other hand, the connection that comes from a divorcee who can speak from a non-academic lens, with candor and personal examples is meaningful to us. We see ourselves in them. More importantly, we feel that they can feel us. Advice without meaning is like Hall without the Oates. I can’t go for that, no can do.
I am a Certified Relationship Coach and have been for (almost) 11 years. I have also been divorced. And yet, I still reflect at times about what I am not–a divorced mom. Even as I write this article, I ponder that. Do I understand what you have gone through? To some degree. Have I felt it? Lived it? Experienced it? No, no and no. Would I ever utter the words, “I know what you’ve been through?”. Never in a million years.
Academics are nice and credentials are good but nothing will replace your experience, your passion, or your energy. And I say that as a man that has won several awards in the women empowerment space.
P.S. Some will argue that I am all wrong and that divorcees will give marital advice from an angry space. To which I reply, a) that is both stereotypical and presumptive and b) it is very possible for someone to come from a bad but reflective place and provide meaningful advice.