Allow Yourself to Grieve the Loss of the MarriageWhile you, as the friend, weren't part of the marriage, you were part of your friend's lives, so it's natural to feel bad about their marriage ending. A friend's divorce can also make us question our own relationships. Allow yourself to feel the loss of the marriage, and be aware that the friendship you had with your pal and their spouse will change, but that doesn't mean it has to end. Take things slow and allow the friendship to evolve as it will.
Don't Take Sides
Naturally, when your friend goes through a divorce, you want to support your pal. However, you can be there for them without name calling or taking sides. If you choose not to be friends with their spouse (for whatever reason), that's okay. But adding to the negativity in your friend's life (even if you mean it in a supportive way) won't help.
Besides that, many divorced couples may see each other occasionally due to family circumstances. If you happen to be present during one of these times, be civil with their spouse. Many times what a friend needs most is just a shoulder to cry on and someone to help them remain positive about the future.
You might want to support your friend by telling them things will be okay, or even that you never liked their spouse to begin with. But this is not as helpful as actively listening. Active listening means that you:
- Give your friend your full attention. (Cell phone off please!)
- Pay attention to the words and feelings that are being communicated.
- Ask "clarification questions" occasionally to get more detail. Be careful with this in the case of someone spilling details of their divorce. Ask questions that allow you to better understand the level of anguish they are experiencing.
- Pay attention to your own feelings. You may not agree with your friend's divorce, but that doesn't mean you can't still support them.