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Supporting Friends and Loved Ones During Divorce


It is no secret that the divorce rate in our country is high- approximately 40-50% of couples divorce. With such a high rate, the odds are that most of us know someone who has or is going through one. Here, you will learn some tips on how to support your friends and loved ones going through a divorce, like active listening and encouraging healthy behaviors.

Practice Active Listening and Patient and Compassionate

Active listening means paying careful attention to what your friend or loved one is saying while showing empathy and validation for their feelings. Make sure your loved one knows they are heard and that they may speak freely and when they need to. While it may be difficult at times to listen to the same thing repeatedly, try to be patient and compassionate to your loved one’s situation. This process is incredibly challenging for your loved one as they are losing the future they thought they would have and are trying to build a new one.

Do Not Pass Judgment

Try to refrain from passing judgment onto your loved one, regardless of how you feel about their divorce. It is always easier to see a situation from the outside looking in, but your loved one may not feel the same as you, so judgments from others are not helpful. Again, try to be compassionate toward your loved one as they are likely being hard on themselves.

Focus on Their Needs

Going through a divorce can be time-consuming and exhausting, so having the support, both in big and small ways, can be a tremendous help. Something as simple as bringing your loved one a meal or offering to babysit for a few hours can show you are supporting them and will go a long way. The best way to know what help your loved one needs is to ask how you can help so that you can offer something specific.

Ask Them to Socialize (Even if They Probably Don’t Want to)

It is possible this is the first time your friend or loved one has been alone in years, so ask them to join you for coffee or lunch, or to go out and see other friends. Your loved one may be more withdrawn during this process, but the point here is to continue to ask them to socialize so that they know they have support out there and people ready for them when they are themselves ready.

Resist Speaking Poorly About Their Ex

It can be easy to speak poorly about your friend or loved one’s ex, particularly when they are going through a divorce. This negativity, however, can be hindering your loved one’s ability to move forward as they can get stuck in the anger stage of the grieving process. It is in your loved one’s best interest to keep communication about their ex to a minimum and keep it as positive as possible, so it is best to keep it positive yourself.

Do Not Support Toxic Behaviors

Toxic behaviors to look for may include alcohol or substance abuse, going out far more often, going home with or taking home strangers excessively, or withdrawing completely from others. It is essential to be honest with your loved one regarding their toxic behavior and to discourage it in the future.

DO Encourage Healthy Behaviors

Healthy behaviors, on the other hand, like counseling and therapy, should be encouraged as they can be great tools to get your loved one through this difficult process. Counseling and therapy allow your loved one to speak with an unbiased neutral party and gain insight into what went wrong, what went right, and what they should do moving forward.

Lastly, Help Them Build Their New Future

Those going through divorce often feel lost in their future as they never expected to go through life without their now ex-spouse. Help them build their new future by focusing on positives like a career focus, their children, and eventually even dating.

For more tips and advice on how to best support your friend and loved ones during a divorce, reach out to the experts at Harris Law Firm.

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