No matter what the circumstances surrounding your divorce, the process can feel very lonely and isolating. For this reason, it is important to have support and encouragement from loved ones in your life.
According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, most people going through a divorce will, in fact, confide in a friend or family member; but not everyone receives the type of feedback they hope for, or need. By consciously choosing the right person, and being thoughtful in the way you approach him or her, you can greatly increase the likelihood of receiving the helpful support you desire.
Seek Support from Others for Added Perspective.
It may initially feel satisfying to vent, but if you truly seek a better understanding of your situation, pick a confidant who may be able to offer a helpful perspective rather than someone who will merely perpetuate the situation. A thoughtful friend's response can go a long way in helping to reveal your own role in the marital problems, ultimately aiding you in making the best possible decisions regarding how to move forward. Beware of those friends inclined to frequently interrupt in order to share their own stories of woe, as well as those who continue to “egg you on.” These types of associations are far less helpful, and may actually serve to keep you stuck in a negative mindset.
Confide in Friends Who Will Refrain from Offering Unsolicited Advice.
Bossy friends are likely not the best confidants during the early stages of your divorce. When a friend "knows best" in every situation, odds are he/she will tend to demand the intimate details of your marital issues and insist you follow a particular set of advice. According to divorce writer and blogger Gretchen Rubin, this kind of approach isn't very useful, as it is impossible for someone to make decisions for anyone else. This is your personal journey, one you will need to navigate in your own way. Having a confidant who judges you, or your situation, will only make the healing process more difficult.
According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, most people going through a divorce will, in fact, confide in a friend or family member; but not everyone receives the type of feedback they hope for, or need.
Don't Encourage Excessive Spouse-Bashing.
Although it may feel good to hear a friend roundly berate your spouse, such negative behavior will become tiresome in the long run. After all, you married him/her and may even have a family with this person. While there's no need to sugarcoat the situation, bashing your soon-to-be former spouse will likely only hurt you in the long run. Any energy channeled in a negative direction only deflects from being able to focus on yourself—a crucial step in being able to successfully move on.
Choose to Share with Those Who Remain Patient but Persistent.
The first time a friend calls to coax you out of the house—whether for lunch or a walk, or maybe to catch a movie—you may not be in the right frame of mind to participate. But remember, you do need to get moving eventually! A true friend will call back, over and over, until you say yes. It's helpful to encourage this type of persistence by taking a rain check the first time, rather than simply saying no. Divorce writer Stacy Morrison suggests you search for useful internet articles about the types of responses that may be helpful in these situations.
Be Careful What Details You Discuss with Others.
Resist the temptation to blacken your spouse's name to one and all—odds are, the information will travel back to him/her. While infuriating your spouse might feel good in the moment, it could make it more difficult to negotiate an amicable divorce settlement down the road. This doesn't mean you need to keep his extramarital affairs or physical abuse a secret, though you should take care to choose a confidant who you truly trust with any information you may pass on. Another alternative is to share this information with a therapist or coach.
Gregory C. Frank is the CEO and Founder of DivorceForce.