Divorce is one of the most stressful life events a person can experience. There is a reason the gossip magazines love to witness a prominent celebrity break up in real-time. People seem to find entertainment in the breakdown of a celebrity marriage. But when it is your best friend going through the wringer, there is little entertainment to be found in the messy details.
Supporting a friend through a divorce is all about being present and showing up. You do not have to have all of the answers, and you do not have to be able to solve every problem. But letting your friend know you are ready to go above and beyond to support them will help to ease their stress. They might not always be fun to be around, but you need to put your feelings aside and think about how you can help them to overcome this life challenge.
In this guide, we will explore some of the simplest ways you can be there for a friend when they are going through a divorce.
Avoid Taking Sides
If you are friends with both parties, not taking sides will be a lot easier. You might have your thoughts and feelings about the divorce, but try to keep things to yourself. Adding fuel to the fire will not help anyone and could encourage your friend to dwell on the bitter feelings of divorce instead of moving forward productively. Taking sides can also be difficult when there are children involved as it can make it more difficult for the parents to reach an agreement on child custody arrangements.
Encourage Them To Speak To Professionals
A therapist is not a replacement for a friend in the same way a friend is not a replacement for a therapist. Be there as a friend and encourage them to keep professional support in the form of counselling. By all means, let your friend vent and be there to listen to their concerns, but do not try to fix anything. Therapy is not a sign of weakness or that a person cannot cope on their own, it is a completely healthy way to process your feelings about a life-changing event. It could help your friend to find clarity and explore how they will move on with their life once the divorce is finalised.
Remind Them To Take Care Of Their Health
A divorce can take a serious toll on your health, so it is important to be there to remind your friend to take care of theirs. You could help out by preparing them some healthy meals, so they do not have to think about cooking. Or you could encourage them to get outdoors for some fresh air and exercise. Reminding your friend to adopt healthy habits is a great way to ensure they prioritise their mental health.
Be A Second Pair Of Eyes
Going through a divorce is a complicated process. From choosing solicitors to reaching a financial agreement, it can be overwhelming to navigate this alone. Offer to be a second pair of eyes on important legal documents to ensure your friend can feel confident and assured they are making the right choices. The process can be very overwhelming, so while you might not be able to offer expert legal advice, you can lighten the load by helping to read documents or research the process.
Help Them To Focus On The Future
The divorce is one small part of the separation. At some point, you need to help your friend to stop thinking about divorce and start thinking about their future. Being there to help them move house, get settled and start thinking about the future is one of the best ways you can help a friend going through a divorce.