“We’re getting a divorce.” It may come as a shock to hear these words from a friend or family member. Once the shock wears off, you may wonder: “What can I do to help?”
Divorce can be a stressful experience, and having a friend by your side can help make it easier. So, how can you support them through the end of their marriage?
5 tips to help another going through a divorce
Of course, everyone is different. Something that helps one person may not meet your loved one’s needs at all. However, here are some suggestions to consider:
- Listening is key: Often, your friend might just want someone to talk to during the divorce. Lending an ear can help a lot. However, you should look out for yourself as well. If you find yourself taking on more of the role of a therapist rather than a friend, it might help to suggest your friend seek help from a family or mental health professional.
- Understand the grieving process: It is common for individuals to grieve during and after a divorce. They mourn the loss of the relationship, and worry about the changes divorce will bring. Taking steps to understand this process and particular grief can help you support your friend through this.
- Be wary of taking sides: Perhaps you were friends with both spouses before they got married, or became friends over the years. Regardless, navigating friendship with both spouses during their divorce can be complex. It is often beneficial to avoid taking sides.
- Be there for them: Whether you are a shoulder they can cry on or a babysitter during divorce negotiations, it can make a big difference to simply continue to be there for your friends and family. However, you should remember to set and maintain your own boundaries as well.
- But do not get involved: In the event of a divorce, it is often better to withhold your thoughts and opinions about the situation. While you can be there for them when times get tough, it is important to strike a balance, so you do not get involved in the actual decisions or process of the divorce.
Your loved one may look to you for advice during their divorce, just as they do about other matters in their lives. It is understandable that you want to help them any way you can, but divorce in North Carolina can be a complex process – both emotionally and legally.
Offering advice on practical matters – such as self-care during divorce – can help. However, if your friend asks for advice as they proceed through a divorce, it is often a good idea to highlight the importance of seeking professional legal guidance.