Most people in the middle of a divorce feel stressed, sad and angry. Faced with these emotions, it’s natural to want to unburden yourself by sharing your pain with friends and loved ones. But before you do, think through who is appropriate to talk to and the type of information you should — and shouldn’t — share.
Grief Shared Is Grief Halved
Grief shared is grief halved, according to a Honduran proverb, while joy shared is joy doubled. It’s no wonder that your first instinct when getting good tidings or new sorrows is to pick up the phone. According to a University of Minnesota study, over 70 percent of people who get divorced share their woes with someone, and that someone is far more likely to be a family member or a friend than a therapist or member of the clergy.
A Friend’s Emotional Support Helps
If you are going through — or even just considering — a divorce, your desire for a compassionate ear is completely normal. People with marital problems often share their frustrations with friends, from the fear that their couple is growing apart to pain at a spouse’s infidelity. Friends who listen, provide emotional support and offer a helpful perspective seem to make the best confidants. But, when you’re talking about your spouse’s bad behavior rather than just your own upset, you may want to be somewhat careful about telling all.
Shaming Your Spouse Makes Settlement Difficult
Dramatic stories about a spouse acting atrociously are likely to spread “confidentially” from friend to friend. If these stories get passed around and your spouse hears them, his angry reaction could make your divorce case harder to resolve. Texas attorney Angeline Lindley Bain cautions against spreading negative information about your spouse, such as infidelity, substance use or domestic abuse. Because you will likely end up negotiating a divorce agreement with him, it is in your best legal interests to create an environment that can lead to a good settlement.
Therapy Has its Place in Divorce
If you were a victim of abuse during your marriage, or if your spouse was an alcoholic or illegal drug user, you might do well to consider talking out these issues with a therapist. A trained counselor supports you emotionally and helps you explore the factors that brought you into the unhealthy relationship. According to experts at Good Therapy.org, a therapist enables you to work through feelings of guilt, fear, anxiety, and grief.