Know That They Might Not Be Sad
“During my divorce so many people I knew would automatically say how sorry they were that my marriage was ending. I wasn’t and I didn’t want their apologies or pity. If we opt to leave a relationship, there is a reason behind it. Offer your support but don’t assume the end of the marriage equals sadness.” Bethany Clariene Germany, Facebook
“Treat them like an actual person who isn’t made of glass. While I was getting divorced so many people thought I couldn’t possibly handle seeing happy couples, or they would try to downplay their own happiness for my benefit. It made me feel awkward, not supported.” rosieamnell
What To Say When A Friend Gets Divorced
What to Say When is a Darling series written to equip you to engage others in hard situations with thoughtfulness and kindness.
When a friend gets divorced or separated, it is so hard for everyone involved. We talked with women who have gone through divorce or separation. All of their situations were unique. They are different ages, have different family structures, believe in different religions and are from different parts of the country.
These answers come from the conversations we had with all of them and represent the common themes we saw in every story. Read below to learn what not to say, what to say and other things to consider.
Dont Press For Details
Checking in to see if your friend wants to talk is helpful, Cilona says. Pumping them for details isnt. If you’re met with resistance, avoid putting pressure of any kind on your friend to talk, he says. Youll also want to avoid mentioning anything that suggests youre judging their preference to keep quiet, he adds. Everyone copes with grief differently, and your friend just may not be ready to open up yet. Or, they may prefer a distraction. So if they’re not particularly chatty, send them an Oprah meme, or an uplifting video.
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Spend Quality Time With Your Children
Making a point to enjoy fun activities and create new traditions with your children can help ease the post-divorce transition.
No matter how busy and overwhelming your new day-to-day routine becomes, dedicate some time each day to checking in with your children and relaxing as a family.
You dont need to make every moment fun and exciting, or deviate too much from your regular routine. But you might:
- Take time for one fun outing each week, like a trip to a movie, beach, or park.
- Establish new rituals, like cooking dinner together or having a board game night.
- Spend 30 minutes each evening sharing details from your day.
If your children have questions about the divorce, its generally best to:
- Answer questions in an honest but age-appropriate way.
- Maintain a calm and neutral tone.
- Avoid critical, judgmental, and unkind comments about the other parent.
- Stick to the facts.
Emphasizing that sometimes relationships dont work out, however hard partners try, can also:
- help remind your children the divorce wasnt their fault
- lay a foundation for healthy relationship skills if they someday find themselves in an unhappy relationship, theyll know they have the option to leave
Telling Your Children First
Whether your children are minors or adults, they should be the first ones informed about your divorce. Both you and your spouse should come together to tell all children at the same time, if possible. As parents, you should plan what you want to say to them and think through your answers to questions that might be asked.
The following tips can help ease the process of telling your children:
- Tell your children that you love them.
- Put your childrens needs ahead of your own.
- Stay united with your soon-to-be-ex. While perhaps difficult, doing so will provide your children with a sense of comfort.
- Dont place blame on the other spouse.
- Limit the details you provide. What you tell them should be age-appropriate.
- Let children know you both will continue to be there for them.
Children will probably have many questions. They will want to know where they will live and whether a parent is moving out of the home. Theyll wonder how often they will see their parents and whether they will have to change schools. Being prepared with answers will reassure them.
After telling your children, you can consider informing others.
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Ways To Help Someone Going Through A Divorce
Perhaps almost as bad a going through a divorce yourself is watching someone you love go through one. Whether it’s a parent, a son, a daughter, or a close relative or friend, seeing someone in that kind of pain can cause you anxiety and make you feel helpless and frustrated.
While it’s true that the person going through a divorce has to help himself/herself, there are some things that you can do and say that will support your loved one’s healing process.
Here are 10 ways you can help someone going through a divorce:
1. Don’t try to give advice. I can’t count the number of never-divorced people who tried to give me divorce advice several years ago. It was infuriating at the time, but now, looking back, I truly believe they meant everything they said for my best interest. Still, to tell a divorced person what they should be doing/thinking is absolutely ridiculous. Examples: Don’t date right now. You need to be by yourself. You need time to heal. If I were divorced, I would never, ever get married again. Stuff like that.
2. Invite him/her to have coffee or a beer or go for a walk or a jog. Newly separated people are lonely people. They are sort of lost, in a daze, perhaps. They need interaction with friends. Even a half hour a day is helpful.
3. Hug him/her. People going through a divorce need to be touched physically. Yes, men too. Think about how powerful a hug really is. You are embracing someone who really, really needs love.
Don’t Trash Their Partner
Even though it may feel tempting to denigrate your friend’s ex-partner, resist the urge. Your friend may still need to interact with their ex-partner for logistical reasons, may co-parent with them, or may want to eventually be friendly again with them. Even if your friend is going to town on trashing their ex partner, just hear them out and validate them without adding in your own opinion. If your friend does reconnect or befriend their ex partner again and they know you don’t like them, it can create an awkward situation for everyone. Try to avoid saying:
- “They weren’t good enough for you.”
- “I can’t believe you stayed with them for this long.”
- “I knew it wouldn’t work out, they were never a great spouse.”
- “I totally agree with what you are saying, is the worst.”
- “I’m so angry hurt you.”
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What To Say To Someone Getting A Divorce 17 Comforting Tips
No one goes into a marriage expecting to divorce. This life-altering process is overwhelming and can knock people off their feet. It is important that they have someone to lean on during this time.
There are many ways to offer comfort and support to someone getting a divorce. Let them know that youre here for them, that they can ask for help if they need it, and that they are strong enough to get through it. Listen to them open-mindedly and without judgment. Be someone they know they can rely on.
Listed below are 17 messages and actions that you can do to show your support and care for someone going through a divorce. Oppositely, there are also some things you should not do, as you risk invalidating or further hurting them.
Help Out With Partner
That means offering to watch their kids when they need to go to the doctor, dog sitting when they travel for work, or suggesting you’ll pick up groceries when youre already going to be at the store. Basically, try to help with the things that their ex theoretically would have done in the past. Filling inor at least trying towill help them remember that even though they lost their spouse, they still have a partner, Klow says.
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Offering Time > Offering Advice
Rarely have I had as many plans with friends as I did in the first few months after my breakup, and while I remember initiating some of those plans myself, just as many were thoughtfully orchestrated by my friends. Simply having something to do with other people is essential when youre going through a divorce or breakup, and one of the best things you can do as a friend is just to show up. I think the most helpful things people did for me were to ask me to lunch, drop by for tea, and just offer a place to be, says Pettus. My first weekend without my kids, I knew it was going to be hard. I had a friend who was a doctor in the South Bronx ER, and I said, I dont know, could I just trail you on Saturday night? It was such a great distraction in the best way.
Here, as in most cases, its best to be proactive rather than passive saying lets hang out is nice but less likely to result in actual plans than a specific invitation in the short-term future. It doesnt need to be anything major, and sometimes the thing that allows your divorcing friend to stay in sweatpants is better: Offer to come over for takeout or ask them to join you for a weekend errand. The activity is less important than your friendly presence and support.
Be Specific When Offering Help
Even though you let the divorcees know that they can ask for help, they may feel uncomfortable doing so or not even know what they need help with. By specifying what kind of help you want to give, you are making it easier for them to accept the help. Here are some examples of specific offers that can help ease their struggles:
- Can I cook your favorite food for you tonight? Lets have dinner together!
- Do you need anything from the supermarket? Id love to get you what you need and drop it off at your place.
- I have a lot of free time today and I would love to help you with some housework. I can clean the dishes and do your laundry if youd like? You deserve a break every once in a while, and Id be glad to help.
- Im currently at a bookstore buying something for my friend. Is there anything in your reading list youve been meaning to get to but dont have a copy of?
- My cat needs to go see the vet for his quarterly check-up. Does your dog need one, too? I can book an appointment for us if youd like!
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Speak Their Love Language
A persons love language refers to how they receive love from others. Sometimes, verbally affirming your love for them is not enough. For instance, they may need physical manifestations of that love. Here are the five major love languages:
- Quality time time spent doing something together. Acts under this love language include listening, discussing, and cuddling while showing your partner undivided attention.
- Acts of service actions, small or big, that let your partner see how much you love and cherish them. Acts of service include running errands for them, accomplishing the chores, cooking meals, and packing their lunch.
- Physical touch expressions of love through physical means, such as hugging, kissing, and holding hands. Physical touch is not always sexual.
- Words of affirmation expressions of love through spoken and/or written words, appreciation, and praise. Examples are motivational messages, compliments, love letters, and saying I love you.
- Receiving gifts love and affection expressed through gift-giving. People with this love language see the gift as a physical embodiment of the gift givers feelings. The price of the gift is not important what matters is that it comes from the heart.
Supporting A Friend Through Divorce
During a divorce, words of encouragement can make a big difference and help reduce loneliness and grief by reminding someone they are still a part of a community that cares about them.
Its hard to know what to say to someone getting divorced, but you dont have to get all of your words right every time.
The important thing is to listen carefully, offer your support without judgment, and stay open to whatever they say.
Divorce is hard for everyone, but its a lot easier when people who care about you know how to tell you that.
If someone you know is cutting the knot, dont be afraid to share some words of support and encouragement. It could make a huge difference to them.
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Words Of Encouragement For Someone Going Through A Divorce
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Divorce is tough for both spouses to handle regardless of who wanted out. It’s a traumatic event and a painful loss, no matter which way you look at it.
Ongoing stress, heartache and anxiety stemming from the end of a marriage eventually take their toll. This heartache can turn into grief, anxiety, hopelessness, and depression.
I’ve been in this situation before and wished people offered kind words rather than judge and blame me for ending a marriage that was too unhealthy to survive.
Words of encouragement for someone going through a divorce can really come in handy at such a painful time. Whether they come from a relative, friend, or a blog post, they really do lift your spirits. In this article, Ill offer 33 unique inspirational things you can say to leave someone feeling hopeful again.
What You Will Learn
What Are Words Of Encouragement
Words of encouragement mean positive language expressed to let someone know they will get through the adversity they face. Encouraging words serve as a reminder that we’re valued and loved. Hearing words such as, You’ve got this,can evoke a smile or inspire your loved ones to do things that will improve their lives. These words have the same effect whether they come verbally, in a card, letter, or song.
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The Best Supportive And Encouraging Words For Divorce
Categories Etiquette & advice
As kids, we all learned about getting married, having our own families, and growing old together with them. Unfortunately, it doesnt go that way all the time, and some of our friends or families marriages will end in divorce.
Whether your friend or family is the one who initiates the divorce or their partner chooses to walk away, it is still a tough time for both people involved.
You may need to offer encouraging words to help them get through this difficult time in their life.These encouraging words will, of course, vary depending on the nature of your relationship with the person who is getting divorced.
So, here are 20 encouraging words for divorce that you can use in any situation:
Make Sure They Know You Aren’t Judging Them
“There may be tears don’t embarrass him he’s probably embarrassed enough already.” Marla Brunker, Facebook
“I got married at 18, and was terrified that everyone would take on an ‘I told you so’ attitude. Amazingly, no one has . They are amazingly supportive, sometimes even relieved that I didn’t let my stubbornness keep me locked in a place I didn’t want to be.” dylanelizabethgood
“I was never able to ask for help or for someone to just come over and be with me because my ex-husband had made me feel needy and pathetic. I never wanted to appear that way to friends when in reality I just wanted someone to call me up and say, ‘I’m coming over.’ I just needed not to feel alone.” frizk21
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Don’t Talk About Them Behind Their Back
“Just don’t gossip about it with other friends and people in the community, even if they ask, ‘What’s going on with ____ and ____?’ because the version of ‘the story’ you as a close friend might have gotten may be different from the one they’re going to tell, like, someone from your yoga class or church.” Courtney Elizabeth
What Can You Say To A Friend Going Through A Divorce
Going through a divorce can seem like the end of the world for some. Divorce destroys the hopes and dreams accompanying entering into a marriage. More than any advice, your friend needs a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen.
Just as important as what you say to your friend going through a divorce, is what you dont say. Try lending support by offering your perspective on the situation without bashing or criticizing their actions or their partner. Encourage them in some situations or areas where it seems that your friend has lost hope.
Here are some things you can say:
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What To Say To Support A Friend Going Through Divorce
Using her M.A. degree and experience in the mental health field, Gabrielle assisted families with co-parenting after a divorce, processing divorce with children, and maintaining appropriate boundaries after a divorce.
Learn about our Editorial Policy.
Knowing what to say to a friend who is going through a divorce can feel really tricky and there are definitely things you should avoid saying. Being mindful of your own biases and focusing the conversation on your friend’s support needs lets them know that you are there for them as they process this painful experience.