Divorce is rife with untold emotional and mental anguish. There’s no specific timeline and the pain doesn’t just go away with finalized court proceedings. Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do for a friend or loved one who’s going through a divorce to make things easier.
But when someone is going through such a critical life event, it’s possible to doubt whether we can help much. This is true, especially if you’ve never experienced a divorce. Remember when offering support, it’s the little things that count.
Here are some of the ways you can help someone who’s going through a divorce.
Asking What They Need
Every divorce is unique. Whether you think you know your friend inside and out, simply asking what they need instead of assuming can go a long way. It’ll help avoid unspoken feelings and ensure that the right needs are being met.
Listen and meet their needs without judgment, while also reminding them that you’ll not feel unappreciated if the support you are offering is not what they need at that time. Keep in mind that these needs might be inconsistent but it’s important to show that their care is the priority.
There is a lot of information that one has to find out when going through a divorce. Your friend might be looking for a house, a new school for the kids, a professional counselor, and let’s not forget all the legal complexities that come with a divorce.
Another way you can help is by offering informational support. Accompany your loved one to view a new house, interview an attorney, or provide them with suggestions on how to find the best divorce lawyer or therapist. If you live in California, direct them to a Sacramento domestic violence lawyer in case of abuse from their partner.
Listening Without Judgement
During this period, your friend might be going through emotional turmoil. Sometimes all they need is to vent their feelings to a listening ear.
When talking about the situation, it’s normal to want to offer reassurance or validation by reminding your friend how amazing and loved they are. You might be tempted to throw in your opinion or offer solutions but sometimes, it’s better to just listen calmly without interrupting. Your loved one will likely ask when they need you to chip in.
Spending Time Together
No matter how many times you “see“ your friend at work, in the neighborhood, or at the store, make an effort to spend quality time with them more frequently. Going through a separation can bring a lot of loneliness, but with continuous company, the journey becomes easier.
Visit them at their home or invite their family for dinner at yours. Invite them out to social events or other inclusive outdoor activities as well.
Do Not Speak Ill of Their Ex-Spouse
While it might be tempting to do so, bad-mouthing your friend’s ex-spouse might do more harm than good. In fact, steer away from topics involving their partner during your conversations.
First, it can trigger emotional pain and make it harder for your friend to heal, and second, speaking ill can feel like you are attacking their ability to make good choices.
Offering to Babysit
Going through a divorce can be overwhelming, making it hard for one to take care of those who need them the most. Offer to look after your friend’s children once in a while so they can rest or go out. You can also invite their kids to your house for a change of environment.
This is not only good for your loved one, but also for the children who, as studies show, bear a significant brunt of parental divorce.