Is your friend going through a divorce? What to say to a friend going through a divorce? How to support your friend who is going through the divorce? Divorce is a process that is excruciating for the people who are a part of it. When marriage breaks, it breaks the people involved. Just as marriage is not a short affair, you cannot expect the divorce to happen in a day. It is a long procedure and it takes a lot of time. The American Psychological Association reports that about 40 to 50 percent of couples in the US take a divorce. It is a legal process that dissolves a marriage giving the couple a status of singlehood. The matrimony between the couple ends when the jurisdiction approves of the request for a divorce after a trial. The researchers have found that the rate of divorce in the United States peaked at 40 percent in the 1980s, but it has been declining since. Even if the divorce rates are falling, we cannot deny the fact that divorces are painful and they still take place. Moreover, couples make many mistakes during divorce which leave them feeling guilty later on.
If your friend is going through a divorce what would you do? What to say to a friend going through a divorce? How to help someone going through a divorce? You may not understand what divorce feels like if you have not been in that situation. But you should know that it can take a toll on the person’s mind and heart. Divorce is a stressful stage and the people who lived together and were once in love have to separate. The reasons could be anything from something as big as infidelity to petty arguments, but the pain will always be there. While it is difficult to fix infidelity in a marriage, petty arguments can still be done away with, but sometimes couples can't tolerate all this anymore and find no other solution but to get a divorce.
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Even if the divorce was filed by your friend because they are not in love with their partner anymore then also the separation will be painful for them. When a person lives with someone, they get used to their presence. They may have helped you all the time and it is time to repay. They need you, so, be with them so that they know they are not alone. During this phase, people often find themselves alone because their families may not support their decision. They will not have anyone to talk to about their feelings. They will need a friend who can understand them and can help them come out of the situation victorious. Two people who got married because they were in love have found different direction in their life. You should support your friend if you want to be a better friend.
#1. Avoid Giving Advice
When a person is going through a divorce, then you should not advise them on what they should do and what not because they have taken their decision after a lot of thought and probably all the people around them are giving advises day and night. If you start advising your friend, they will get irritated. They will avoid talking to you as well because they do not want other people’s opinion in this state. There must be a strong case for seeking a divorce and they do not want to rethink about it. Usually, people would suggest them to get back and compromise but nobody knows what the scenario may be and what kind of relationship both the spouses may be sharing. They may be a victim of domestic abuse and advising such a person to compromise is suggesting them to die. It can hurt the person emotionally and physically. They will stop trusting those people who ask them to make a settlement and you do not want your friend to lose faith in you. Be with them and avoid telling them what they should or could have done. You cannot change anything and you should not interfere in their life unless they ask for it.
#2. Listen Without Judging
What your friend needs right now is someone to listen to them. While everybody would be jumping off with their suggestions and judgments, they would be wishing for a friend who can listen without judging. You can be that friend who can ease their pain. Sit with your friend and let them talk to you about their life. Let them tell you what has been going on. Do not judge them for anything instead be supportive and affirmative. Be positive and give them hopes for a better life. They must be stressed about their future, and so you must console them. Try to assure them of your presence and help all the time. Make them comfortable so that they can share their feelings and secrets with you. Do not let your friend fall. Hold their hand and tell them that everything is going to be fine. At this stage, they will be a little unsure about who should they talk to because probably they have trust issues now. (Here's something that can help your friend: How to deal with trust issues after having gone through a divorce.)
#3. Validate Their Decision
The friend who is going through a divorce will seek validation. They must be unsure of their decision. They might want to go back, but you should validate their decision. They must be anxious, and a lot of things will be on their mind. They might be thinking about their future, and maybe they will see some security in the relationship, but you have to remind them of all the things that lead to the divorce. Be on their side at all times and do not let them make a stupid decision. If they are having second thoughts, then help them get clarity in their mind. You are not a good friend if you allow your friend to take a wrong step which can ruin their whole life. Show them the things they can do after the divorce. Inform them about the opportunities available out there in the world. Soothe their troubled mind by being positive.
#4. Offer Financial Help If Needed
Your friend must be facing a lot of problems. When they were married all the expenses must have been shared or paid by one of them, and now that they are living separately they might find it difficult to find a home or pay all the expenses on their own. You can help the friend by offering money to pay the rent for a month till they find a job. You can invite them to your place to live till they find a home for themselves. They will need money for appointing a lawyer or fulfilling other legalities. Help them by giving them money for some time or if you cannot help them financially then help them find a source of income.
#5. Spend Time With Them
Your friend will stay consumed in the legal procedures and the thoughts of the divorce. They will become melancholic when they think about the divorce because it is an overwhelming decision. It will change their life in a short time and they will have to restart their life from the ground level. They may not be left with anything after the divorce and that is why they should keep away from the thoughts that are negative. Pessimism will only push them into depression and they may not come out of it till someone helps them. Keep your friend distracted by spending time with them. Do not talk about the divorce all the time. Take them out and have fun. Do what they enjoy the most and laugh together. Walk through the memory lane where you both met and had shared a lot of beautiful memories. Give your friend a reason to smile again.
#6. Babysit Their Kids
If your friend has a child, then you can help your friend by taking care of them. The legal process for divorce also involves issues of spousal custody, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt. The child may be in the custody of your friend and the friend might have to be away for a while for some work. You can babysit the children as babysitters are quite expensive. Your friend may not be able to afford a babysitter, or they may not be in favor of the idea so you can help them this way.
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#7. Stop Them From Taking A Wrong Decision
After the divorce is over, they may seek a new relationship. They may want to enter a new relationship but being a close friend you may know well if they really should get into one. A lot of times people think that they should get into a relationship to move on or to show the other person that they are over them. Finding a partner for making the ex-spouse jealous is the most stupid decision ever. And if they genuinely want a soulmate then you should help them decide if the person is worth it or not. Do not let your friend take a wrong decision.
Have you ever helped a friend going through a divorce? How did you help them? Share your experiences with us through the comments section below. We look forward to your replies.