Providing Breakup or Divorce Support for a Friend

One of the most painful experiences a person can go through is a divorce. When a person is in this situation, he or she can essentially go through the same stages of grief that one encounters with the death of a loved one: feelings of loneliness, anger and bitterness among them. Close friends are very important when a person is getting a divorce. Here are some suggestions for providing divorce support for a friend and helping them cope:

Listen. Let your friend know you are there for him or her. Then, just listen. Don't offer suggestions or advice unless asked. Don't bash the soon-to-be-ex spouse. Don't say you understand unless you have been there yourself. If the friend wants to be quiet, let them. Just lend a sympathetic ear.

Don't judge. Your friend may be filled with guilt, doubt and a host of other feelings related to the circumstances that led to the divorce. Regardless of who was ultimately "at fault" in the relationship, there are nuances that you couldn't know. Stay as supportive as possible, and don't make judgmental comments.

Don't try to cheer your friend up. Unless your friend specifically asks you to cheer him or her up, don't display false bravado, put on a comedy act or act falsely cheerful. Your friend is grieving, angry, a big batch of heavy and changing emotions. He or she needs to experience them as they come. Trying to force the friend to ignore his or her feelings is actually stopping the friend from dealing with the normal reactions to the process of dealing with his or her feelings.

Take a break. If you are becoming overwhelmed by your friend's feelings, it's time to step back and take a break. It's okay to take time for yourself if you need to, so you don't become emotionally drained. Your friend needs you at your best, so be sure to take care of yourself so you can be.

Ask what you can do. If you want to know what your friend needs, just ask. Although your friend may not know, he or she may be able to give you an indication if it's time to get out and see a movie for a distraction, go for a massage or bike ride or curl up on the couch by a fire with some chocolate ice cream.

Stay out of the middle. Listen and be a good friend, but don't get involved in the details beyond that. Don't yell at your friend's spouse, or partake in revenge on the part of your friend. It can only cause problems for your friend, even if it is tempting to do something to hurt the other party.

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