how to talk about divorce with your friends and family

How To Talk About Your Divorce with Friends and Family

It can be very hard to figure out how to talk about your divorce with the important people in your life. Breaking the news or ongoing conversations can have a very real effect on your relationships, depending on your approach. My most important recommendation is to avoid running down your spouse.

I know you may be angry, and spilling out all that anger may feel good, but in the long run it is likely to be counter-productive.

If you have children together, you and your spouse are still going to be part of each other’s lives, so avoiding making that relationship worse (you know the things you are saying will get back to your spouse) will make co-parenting easier.

Friends and relatives may become involved in unexpected ways down the road, whether group get-togethers, picking the kids up from an activity or a visit at another house, or in some other way. When that time comes, not having poisoned those relationships will pay dividends.

Even if there are no kids, there are many common relationships, particularly the friends that know you both. A war of words where both of you are running each other down is going to harm those relationships.

During and after your divorce you are going to need those friends more than ever – don’t drive them away by dragging them into the middle of the conflict or forcing them to take sides.

A good idea may be to delay telling friends and family right away in order to give yourself time to deal with your anger and get into a better head space. Working with a professional counselor can both help you build strategies for coping with your distress, and avoid burdening those close to you with the worst of your negative emotions.

For your own emotional health, moving past the anger should help you move ahead with your own life. This does not mean bottling it up, but rather dealing with it in a safe space such as a counselor’s office. This is a perfect place to learn how to talk about your divorce effectively.

I also believe that it will be more productive to reframe the issue as what went wrong with the marriage rather than on what went wrong with the other person. Not only can this help calm your current emotional state, but it can help you develop a better narrative for sharing with friends and family, not to mention better preparing you for any new relationships.

Finally, you will get bonus points and impress your family and friends if you are able to rise above the conflict or even find ways to reduce the conflict from the start.

Mediation and Collaborative Divorce are excellent ways to work through the various divorce issues peacefully, maintain relationships to the extent possible, and develop ways to deal with each other in the future.