1. People & Relationships

Support a Friend Through Divorce

When Your Friend Ends Their Marriage

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When your friend gets married, you might end up becoming friends with their spouse down the road. That's one of the good things about friends opening up their social circle in this manner. However, if your friend ends up going through a divorce, there can be a lot of hurt feelings all the way around.

Allow Yourself to Grieve the Loss of the Marriage

While 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.

Listen to Your Friend

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.

Continue to Check In With Your Friend

Too often, when a major life event hits, friends are there for us early on but disappear as life gets "back to normal." Your friend will be going through a series of transitions as a result of their divorce, so be sure to call and chat with them often. Your friendship might change as a result of everything your friend is experiencing, so take things slow and allow your relationship to adjust naturally.

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