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How to Help a Friend Going Through a Divorce

If your friend is going through a divorce, you may be looking for ways you can be a good friend and support them as they go through this major transition. Below, we will discuss actions you can take and comforting things to say to help them.

Supporting a Friend Through Their Divorce

Relationships require hard work, which includes showing up for one another in hard times. To best support a friend going through a divorce, consider the following tips and considerations.

  • Be honest about your feelings. Divorce doesn’t just emotionally affect the divorcing couple—their kids, family, and friends can also be hurt as well. If you are sad to lose a friend (the other party in the divorce) or see your friend hurting, acknowledge and process your emotions before reaching out to your friend. You don’t want to add on to their baggage or emotional stress by unloading your unprocessed emotions on them later.
  • Don’t equate their divorce to a breakup. While going through a breakup and divorce are both emotionally hard and similar in some ways, getting divorced has serious legal implications. Handling the legalities adds another layer of emotional and financial stress, and you don’t want to minimize their experience.
  • Listen more than you talk. You can show up for your friend by just listening to them vent or talk about their burdens and stresses. While you may have anecdotes, opinions, or helpful advice to share, prioritize listening over talking.
  • Avoid bad talking about their ex. Your friend may still harbor feelings for the other party, and divorced couples often reconcile. To avoid awkwardness later, you should avoid discussing their soon-to-be-ex negatively. The divorced pair may also co-parent their children and painting the other party in a negative light can affect their parenting relationship.
  • Offer to help in small ways. Whether you offer to do laundry, help with school pick-ups, dog sit, or drop off groceries, you can help your friend by showing up and helping them with small tasks. Getting divorced forces people to establish new routines and a new normal, so they may appreciate some help tackling small tasks while they adjust.
  • Help them move or pack. If they are leaving the home or want to box up memories, offer a helping hand or the use of your vehicle.
  • Surprise them with dinner (or a meal). Engaging in self-care or other activities to take their mind off of the divorce can really help your friend manage their stress levels. So surprise them with dinner or a treat and ask them to relax.
  • Don’t pressure them to share. Respect your friend’s privacy and avoid prying. While you can remind them you are there if they want to talk, don’t force them to share details or information.
  • Remind them that you are not judging them. Many people say they’re just waiting for the “I told you so” from loved ones after they announce their intentions to get a divorce. Others are worried about being a source of gossip. Remind your friend that what they share with you won’t be shared and that you would never judge them for making such a hard decision.
  • Respect their dating life (or lack thereof). It is entirely your friend’s decision as to when they start dating again. While you may believe they are ready (or not ready), honor their decision.
  • Remember meaningful anniversaries or dates. Wedding anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and the anniversary of the day their divorce is finalized can be especially emotional days for your friend. Mark those days in your calendar and check in on them when those days arrive.
  • Invite them out (even if they often decline). While your friend may not be up to going out a lot, continue to invite them to cookouts, dinners, etc. You don’t want them to feel isolated or alone, and an invite can go a long way.
  • Show up in the long-term. Be consistent and support them for the entirety of the proceedings.
  • Ask what they need. While your friend may appreciate any of the aforementioned acts, they know what they need best and can share what they need from you. So ask.

Comforting Things to Say to a Friend Getting Divorced

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to say whether it’s face to face or via text. Here are a few things you can say to a friend getting divorced to remind them you’re there if they need you.

  • What are you doing this weekend? As we mentioned, asking them to hang out or if you can come over can help them feel less isolated.
  • Let me know if you want to talk. I’m all ears. This shows that you are willing to be a shoulder for them to learn on.
  • Are you still [insert a hobby or activity they enjoy]? If they say yes, I still run or knit, you can ask to join them. If they say they haven’t done the activity lately, you can drop off some new yarn (or relevant supplies) and remind them to keep doing what they love.
  • Is it okay if I check in with you every day or week? This not only invites them to set a boundary with you but also reminds your friend you are there and want to help.
  • How can I best support you? Again, you can ask them how you can be a friend to them during this transition.
  • I’m not going anywhere. Getting divorced can make a person feel rejected and alone, which is why they can benefit from a reminder that you plan to remain their friend.
  • Have you considered therapy? If you notice a friend is struggling, you should encourage them to seek professional help or join a support group.
  • It won’t always feel this way. Your friend may feel trapped by their negative emotions, so remind them that “there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
  • I’m sorry things ended. While you are not to blame, your friend may just appreciate you acknowledging that their marriage ending is hard.
  • You’re an amazing person. Your friend may struggle with a loss of control or a loss of their sense of identity. Remind them how awesome they are.
  • Have you talked to a divorce lawyer?

Refer Your Friends to Our Experienced Divorce Attorneys

It is important that divorcing couples identify and establish a support system. Amongst the friends, family members, and professionals in their support network, your friend should have a reliable attorney who can advise them and work with their best interests in mind.

At Singleton Smith Law Offices, our divorce attorneys are equipped to help clients file for a contested or uncontested divorce. We also handle:

  • High asset divorces
  • Military divorces
  • Native American divorces
  • Mediation cases

If you are going through a divorce, you can trust our legal team to help alleviate some of the stress by handling the case legalities and helping you better understand your options. Schedule your free, initial case consultation with our divorce attorneys today by calling (951) 779-1610 or reaching out online.