Watching a friend or family member go through a divorce is tough. Divorce involves grief, anger, hurt and sometimes even depression, and while your first reaction may be anger at the soon-to-be ex-spouse, you’ll need to pull yourself together so you can support your loved one (friend or family member) through this difficult time. Your loved one has probably already discussed finding third-party support (like a counsellor or therapist) with his or her North York divorce lawyer, but most often it’s friends and family who help the most.
Helping Your Loved One Cope
Your loved one needs to know that there are still people who care, no matter what else is going on in their lives. You can help by being a sounding board when they need to complain, soothing and reassuring them when they’re feeling vulnerable and hurt, and giving them the space they need to begin the healing process.
What You Can Expect
When you know what common reactions to expect from someone going through a divorce, you’ll be able to anticipate their needs and provide the right kind of support. Often, people who are going through a divorce:
- are on an emotional roller coaster with good days, bad days and in-between days
- may be irrationally angry or easily irritated by things that don’t ordinarily bother them
- may make poor decisions by trying to fill immediate needs, like starting to date immediately or beginning to drink excessively
- build walls around their emotions and refuse to share them with others
In order to best help your loved one, be resilient. Understand that they’re confused, hurt and angry, and that just by being available, you’re helping.
Ways to Help
Listening and being responsive when your friend or family member wants to talk will have a huge impact on how they feel. Sometimes, it’ll be up to you to steer the conversation away from the ex and onto more pleasant topics; often, people going through a divorce feel consumed by the situation and don’t know how to get themselves out of it.
Your loved one may also need moral support when they visit their North York divorce lawyer, when they have to appear in court or when they’re scheduled to be in the same place as their ex. Go along and remain quiet—keep any nasty comments about their ex to yourself, because verbalizing negativity will drag down your loved one and cause even more conflict.
Continue activities you two have enjoyed together in the past. Invite your loved one out for coffee, have a movie night or go for a workout. Participating in normal activities can help remind them that they’ll be okay and take their minds off the stresses of divorce.
Suggesting Professional Help
If your loved one seems to be spiraling into depression, consider suggesting that they seek professional help. In many cases, they can simply ask their North York divorce lawyer for a referral to a local counsellor or therapist who’s qualified to help them handle the stresses of divorce.