Divorce is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through in their life. I often come into contact with friends or family of those who are considering ending their marriage, or are already in the midst of divorce. While it is beautiful that these people want to show their support and provide comfort during a difficult time, they often contribute to the escalation of the conflict by taking sides or giving inflammatory advice to their loved one. Sometimes, in a misguided attempt to pull their friend out of a rut, people will say things like “It’s been a month. You are not allowed to be upset about this anymore.” It is a delicate subject and it can be difficult to know what to say.
5 Helpful Things To Say To Someone Going Through A Divorce
In over 12 years of experience working with divorce clients, here are a few suggestions:
- Clarify what their needs are. If they are talking about something emotionally charged or upsetting, ask something along the lines of: “Is there anything I can do to help you with this other than just being there to listen when you need it?” “Can I bring dinner for you and the kids tomorrow?”
- Acknowledge their feelings and do not judge them. Statements such as “I can see this is very painful for you– I’m sorry” or “I am sorry this has caused you so much anger” can be helpful in making sure they feel like they are being heard and understood. Also acknowledge the difficulty of the situation “I know this is a hard situation.”
- Offer to spend time together, but also respect if they do not want to alleviate their grief in this way: “I completely understand if you are not feeling up to it, but would you like to get together for a casual dinner on Thursday?” It can also be very difficult for people who are used to having a partner to find themselves alone: “Would you like me to be your plus one for your office party?”
- Be supportive of them getting outside help if you are worried about them: “I am worried about you and I think it may be helpful if you talk to someone about this. I would be happy to help you find someone if you like.”
- Let them know you will be there for them and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: “You are not alone.” “I am here for you.” “Just take things one step at a time.” “I love “