Divorce isn’t as simple as signing a few papers and getting on with life. It is definitely a process, and sometimes a long one. Here are some ways you can help your friend facing divorce, going through it and facing the future.
The emotions that come along with a divorce are overwhelming and confusing, so your friend might simply need to talk through it all. Even if you can’t offer personal advice, let her know you’re available – day or night – and then be available.
If you feel your friend needs advice, help him or her look for support groups in your area or even with online communities. Many large churches and community centers offer divorce support groups and there are a plethora of websites and boards where your friend can get advice from people who are going or have gone through a divorce. You can also offer to visit support groups with your friend to make it a little easier. Learn more about resources available and how to find a therapist.
Books are another incredible resource when experiencing divorce. There are books from every approach, covering almost every reason for the divorce. Encourage your friend to check out the local library to see if there are good, free resources there. If not, websites like amazon.com offer the ability to read a few pages of a book before purchasing and most have the option of purchasing a used copy that could save your friend a little money.
I’ve touched on it in past entries, but one of the first things that will most-likely hit your friend is how different life is going to be. His or her partner will not be there for every day things, as well as special occasions and everything in between.
Everyone responds to this change differently. Some people have a hard time being alone and need a friend to be physically present with them at certain times. Others seem to need the alone time to adjust to how things are going to be. The best thing you can do is ask how you can help your friend because it may change from week to week or month to month. Learn more about coping with stress and change.
Regardless of how long your friend was married, any plans he or she may have made – concrete or in thought – are no longer. It’s hard to look into a now uncertain future alone. Encourage your friend that you will be there, now and in the future, to help pick up those pieces and carry them alongside him or her. Sometimes, just knowing you don’t have to do something alone makes all the difference.
If possible, make some new plans with your friend that you can both look forward to. It could be as simple as using movies as therapy (as suggested by Susan Sarkis, PhD, as printed in Psychology Today.) Keep checking in with him or her to see how else you might be able to help taking next steps a little easier.
During my divorce, and even a year or two after, it felt like my entire future was scary and uncertain, but family and friends’ support made all the difference in my process. Through their encouragement, I was able to pick up the pieces, move on and create a life I had previously only hoped for.
It does get better, much better!