Someone I Love is Going Through Divorce. What Should I Say?
There may be snow on the ground here in Colorado, but there’s also a feeling of change and growth in the air. As the seasons change, are you or someone you love also dealing with a life transition? Many people are, as divorce filings typically increase during the first quarter of every year. You may find it hard to know what to say or do when someone you care about is in this situation, and possibly struggling. Many people ask me how to support to someone they care about.
Here are five meaningful ways you can show up for a friend or family member and offer much-needed support:
- Check in – without an agenda. Communicating that you are there for someone – without expecting anything in return – is a true gift. It’s totally OK not to know what to say! You don’t have to solve anything. Sharing that “I’m thinking of you,” via text, call or even a card is more than enough.
- Ask: What is most important to you right now? Then help them meet those needs. Is it being home for dinner? Having alone time? Then offer to bring a meal or see if you could help with the kids.
- Build them up! Self-confidence can be at an all-time low during divorce. Remind them that they are brave, strong, and deserve an amazing future. If appropriate for your relationship, remind them of another time they overcame something hard in their life and that they will also get through this.
- Don’t badmouth the ex. A tough one, I know. Even if you are well-intended it can be upsetting, even embarrassing to someone who chose that partner, and needs to co-parent with them long-term, to constantly hear bad things about them. Kids especially are impacted by hearing negative things about a parent. Vent frustrations elsewhere and offer understanding and support without throwing gasoline on the fire.
- Remember, it’s not personal! Divorce stress and overwhelm can ripple into all aspects of someone’s life. Don’t be offended if you don’t get a timely call back or hear from someone directly. Remember they are doing the best they can and try to offer grace and space.
The single best gift you can give anyone coping with this painful life transition is unconditional love and support. And even if it isn’t immediately acknowledged, it WILL be noticed. 💝