The divorce process can be overwhelming and stressful. People going through divorce experience a variety of life changes accompanied by very intense emotions at times. Even the person who wants out of the marriage must deal with adjustments and sort through feelings. If you are watching a friend or loved one go through a divorce, what can you do or not do to be supportive? The following list provides some suggestions.
- Keep inviting them out to do things, even if they often decline.
- If they’re moving, help them pack. If their ex is moving, help them reorganize and settle back into their place after it happens.
- Just listen. Resist the urge to give advice or tell them about your own divorce experience or someone else’s divorce experience.
- Don’t trash their ex. Negative talk and energy will not help them.
- Help them out with tasks their ex may have done. For example, cleaning the house, taking the garbage out, grocery shopping or mowing the lawn. Having one less thing to do in the short-term can be a huge weight lifted from their shoulders.
- Show up with a meal (or maybe several).
- Offer to take their kids for an afternoon or evening.
- Don’t press for details. If they want to share information, they will.
- Send a supportive text or leave a card or flowers on their doorstep. Do this regularly without expecting anything in return. Just knowing that someone else cares helps immensely.
- Be there when the divorce process is complete. People grieve and experience emotions at different times during a divorce including after the divorce decree is signed. Show up and be supportive during and after.
Whether you do one, two or all the suggestions on this list isn’t important. What’s most important is that you try to help and make sure the person going through the divorce knows you care, and they matter. Divorce can be a dark time for people, but you can bring a little sunshine to them.