Supporting a friend or family member going through divorce can be confusing, especially if you’ve never been through the process yourself. Consider these tips for helping your loved one navigating his/her divorce:

  1. Listen more, talk less. Many people going through divorce simply want a sympathetic ear. If your friend or family member wants your advice, they’ll ask you.
  2. Acknowledge their trauma. A divorce is like a death. Often, there is nothing you can say to alleviate your friend or family member’s pain, but you can acknowledge how terrible the situation is and reiterate that you are willing and ready to help in any way.
  3. Help Prioritize. Going through a divorce is overwhelming. Help your friend or family member set up a list of priorities. Make a budget. Research housing options. Collect bills and set up automatic payments. The fewer things they have on their to-do list, the better.
  4. Avoid the “Moving On” talk. Do not suggest that your friend or family member start dating or moving on with their life. When they’re ready to take that step, they’ll tell you.
  5. Suggest support groups. Your friend or family member may appreciate the support of like-minded people but may be too overwhelmed to look into it on their own. Provide your them with a list of available groups in the area and offer to call to obtain further information.
  6. Do not attack their spouse. No matter how contentious the circumstances of separation, your friend or family member and their spouse may end up reconciling. Avoid a potentially awkward situation and keep your thoughts on your their spouse to yourself.
  7. Offer to help. This may include babysitting to give your friend or family member some alone time, picking up groceries, or running errands. Ask them what they need and listen for clues. Keep asking, as their needs may change from day to day.
  8. Provide Distraction. Invite your friend or family member to do something to take their mind off of the divorce. Something as simple as going for a walk can provide a welcome distraction. Don’t take no for an answer.

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