If your friend is getting divorced, there are probably a few things that may have been left unsaid.
Read on to learn about some of the key issues that most divorcing people would like their friends to do to help them through this difficult time.
If you and your best friends always get together with your spouses to watch the football season each year, keep the invitation open to your divorcing friend. Don’t worry that your friend will feel awkward about being single or upset by the memory of their ex. If these factors are true, they’ll feel worse about being excluded than denying your invitation.
Most people who are going through divorce are looking for support from loved ones and a way they can stick to old routines.
Don’t be a problem-solver
Good friends don’t want to see one another in a dark place. But, when your friend chooses to confide in you, they’re not always looking for a solution to their woes.
Most of the time, talking through our feelings simply helps us understand and validate what we are feeling and why we are feeling that way. Instead of offering up solutions, respond to your friend with sentiments that acknowledge how your friend might feel. For example, you might say, “It sounds like that must feel overwhelming for you.”
Trying empathetic listening while discussing divorce with your friend will help them work through their feelings.
Help validate the decision
One of the five stages of grief is “bargaining.” Those who are grieving the loss of a marriage usually experience this stage by questioning whether the decision to divorce was the right choice. Some studies have even found that 27 percent of ex-couples have slept together after their divorce or separation.
Whether your friend is entering the bargaining stage or returning to it, help them understand that feeling this way is natural, but that the decision to divorce was valid.
Make dinner plans
Most married individuals are apt to make lunch and weekend plans with friends. For a divorcing friend, dinners may be a huge reminder that their ex-spouse is gone.
Try to help fill this void during your friend’s transition by making dinner or weekday plans.
Avoid insensitive optimism
While it may be tempting to encourage your friend to look on the bright side of things, doing this can be insensitive to the difficult emotions your friend is navigating.
For example, if your divorcing friend has children, they may struggle to adapt to their custody arrangement. Comments such as, “At least you get a break from the kids!” or “Now you can do something fun with your weekends,” dismisses separation anxiety and depression that your friend may be feeling.
Scrap the “make lemons out of lemonade” philosophy and acknowledge that this may be a painful time for your friend.
If your friend is having a hard time working with their ex-spouse on divorce arrangements, advise that they contact a divorce lawyer for help.
An attorney can cover stressful legal complexities of the divorce, while you help your friend through the emotional difficulties they are facing.