I don’t know why it’s only occurring to me now to write this, but it is, so here you go.
Things never to say to a woman going through a divorce.
1) “I told you so.” You probably actually didn’t. You may have thought you did, or wanted to. You probably didn’t for fear of hurting my feelings when I married him. Or you just thought it so you could be on your high horse. Either way, it boils down to you being condescending. Also, saying “I told you so” is you assuming that you thought I made a mistake. If I did make a mistake, I sure don’t need anyone to tell me I did. And maybe I don’t think I made a mistake. And maybe I actually did not make a mistake. We all grow and learn. The people we are at the beginning of something are often very different than the people we are at the end of something. Did I mention it’s condescending? Well it is.
2) “I never liked him.” I so don’t care. It wasn’t your choice. You liking someone doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily not going to like him. If you didn’t like him, I promise, I’m probably already aware. This is not a comforting statement. It’s also… condescending. Like you’re saying your opinion (key word) matters more than mine here. It doesn’t. It always was and always will be my decision. Please just get over it.
3) “You can do better.” Thank you, while I appreciate the sentiment, it might not actually be that the person was such a bad person. At least not at the beginning of our relationship anyway. It goes back to people learning and growing and becoming different people. Sometimes that growth is not always the same, and sometimes it can’t always be sustained.
Things you could say instead.
1) “I’m sorry you’re having a rough time.” Seems pretty self explanatory. You offer your condolences in a safe, neutral way.
2) “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” This lets me know that I have supportive people around me. People to go to coffee with, or babysit if I need it, someone to just love on me when I’m down.
3) “I know some guys who know some guys.” This will just make me laugh. I can always use a good laugh.