Your best friend calls you up in the middle of the night. They sound exhausted and sad.
You’ve known for a while now that they have been having issues with their spouse.
Your friend tells you what you were expecting to hear.
They have finally decided to get a divorce.
Many people have been in this situation before. What do you do when your friend is going through a divorce?
You might feel relieved for them, especially if their marriage was a nightmare, but how do you help them pick up the pieces?
In this article, we will discuss what your friend might be feeling and what you can do to help them get through this stormy time in their lives.
What your friend might be feeling
According to Complete Case, divorce is considered the second most stressful life event.
The first one being the death of a loved one. So you can only imagine the pain and heartbreak that divorce can bring.
It’s almost like losing someone in death, in the sense that the life they shared is now over.
Especially if they didn’t want the divorce or if they had to deal with much heartbreak.
The stress caused by divorce is compounded by legal battles, arguments, moving homes, and dealing with your children’s emotional pain.
A friend who is going through a divorce can feel a whole range of emotions, including anger, grief, depression, and insecurity.
If the divorce was caused by infidelity, your friend might feel as if they were never good enough.
This can lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of helplessness.
When divorcing couples have children, it can be even harder for them because not only do they need to deal with their emotions, but they need to keep strong to support their children’s feelings too.
Besides all the emotional turmoil, divorce is financially draining too.
With lawyer’s fees, court fees, appraiser fees, and so on, your friend might feel completely overwhelmed.
How might your friend react to their divorce?
When people are experiencing hardships, they might react differently. Some people might pull away, isolating themselves.
They might begin to ignore your calls and texts and not want to go out or leave their home for a while.
Others might become self-destructive and may begin drinking more or having sex with multiple partners to numb the pain.
They could start to party a lot more or even begin taking drugs. Men are more likely to abuse alcohol during a divorce than women.
If your friend displays this kind of behavior, they might need you more than you think.
And then again, other people might be okay with their divorce. They might view it as a positive experience with room for growth.
Whatever your friend is feeling, you can help them cope during their divorce by applying the points mentioned below.
How to help your friend going through a divorce
As a friend, there is much that you can do from offering to cook meals, taking care of the kids, or even just lending a listening ear.
What your divorcee friend needs is support, words of encouragement, and practical help.
1. Offer word’s of encouragement
If you are wondering what to say to a friend going through a divorce, words of encouragement can mean a lot.
You could say something like, “I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling so heartbroken.
Thank you for telling me how you feel. I am here for you.” Sometimes saying sorry might seem like a cliche, but it’s a start, and it shows you care.
You could also remind your friend of all their positive qualities.
Think of things that they do that you appreciate and remind them of this. If their spouse didn’t appreciate them, hearing what you appreciate will mean a lot.
Another thing which might sound silly, but which can help is sending motivational quotes on divorce.
Sometimes hearing words from someone else can give them some hope and help them feel encouraged.
2. Listen attentively
Sometimes all your friend needs is a listening ear. Let them talk about how they feel, without judgment or advice.
They might talk about the same thing over and over again, but that’s okay.
Talking is how people heal. According to Psychology Today, when we speak to a friend, we feel better.
Talking to someone we trust about our pain helps us heal, relieve stress, and even strengthen our immunity. So let your friend talk, and listen attentively.
3. Don’t push for in-depth details
Allow your friend to tell you how they feel in their own time. Don’t push them for details about their break up if they don’t want to tell you.
Let them figure out what they want to say and when they want to say it. In some cases, it might just be too painful to talk immediately.
Being there and letting them know that you are there will help them know that they have your support.
Sometimes a person might just want a break from their own emotions and to focus on something else for a while.
4. Keep inviting your friend out
Keep inviting your friend out, even if they say no. Eventually, when they are ready, they will join you for a night out.
Weekends can be particularly hard for divorcees. They might miss their spouse or their kids (if the kids are away visiting the other parent).
Weekends can be a lonely time, especially if they are busy with work during the week.
So invite your friend out for dinner, coffee, or a movie. Even if your friend declines, they will know that they are wanted.
Another fun option is to arrange a weekend away together if you have the means.
Sometimes a change of scenery might be all your friend needs to feel better and regroup.
5. Offer practical help
Sometimes the best help is offering practical assistance. If your friend needs to move, help them pack and carry their things.
You could also offer to cook a meal for them, buy them groceries, or do some housework.
If they have children, offer to babysit, even if it’s for an hour or two, so your friend can have some alone time.
Practical help shows you care and that you want to help.
6. Show some tough love
If you see that your friend is not coping, try to encourage them to seek professional help.
This is especially true if your friend begins to abuse drugs or alcohol.
You could arrange for them to see a psychologist with their permission, or even see a doctor if they need medication to cope.
By being honest about self-destructive behavior, you can significantly help them in the long run.
It might not be a nice thing to talk about, but helping your friend cope in positive ways will be better for their emotional and physical health.
7. Be accepting of their dating choices
If your friend decides to date, try not to judge their decisions. Sometimes they might be ready to date.
Other times they might not be, but it’s their choice.
Being supportive is what your friend needs, as long as whatever you are supporting is not dangerous to your friend’s life and health.
8. Ask your friend what they need
Asking your friend for what they need is always a good idea. Let them know that you are willing to help them with whatever it is they need.
They might have needs that you haven’t even thought about.
By asking them frequently and specifically about their needs, you can be a great help during their divorce.
The bottom line When a friend goes through a divorce, it can be heartbreaking to see.
You might experience their anger, frustration, and sadness. Divorce is a roller coaster of emotions!
But by being there for your friend, you can help them out of their pain and create a lifelong friendship built on trust, respect, and support.