Are Family and Friends Actually Helping?
Divorce is one of life’s most stressful experiences. It impacts so many fundamental areas of our lives; our security, our confidence, our financial future, our children and so on. It stands to reason then, that this is a time when our friends and family will come into their own and support us. Right?
In reality, the answer is probably “Maybe” or “At Times.”
Friends and family obviously want to support us; they want to help us through and offer advice. At the start, this can be invaluable when we need affection, reassurance and sympathy. BUT it is possible that those things may not be helpful as the divorce progresses.
Unhelpful things divorcees always hear:-
- Take him to the cleaners!
- She wants what???
- He/she can’t do that!
- The legal system is fair and the judge will understand what has happened here.
- It’s better for children for unhappy parents to separate.
- You’ll meet somebody else.
- I never liked him/her anyway.
This list is as endless as it is futile.
As we go through the process, what we need is empathy not sympathy and a listening ear not a problem solver. We need support in creating a way forward, not encouragement to feel sorry for ourselves and stay stuck.
So, as time goes by, it may be wise to keep your own counsel to a degree. Of course, we need to talk and be heard but be conscious of what you are trying to achieve and maybe consider the following about your friends and family:
- Are they truly unbiased?
- Do they have your best interests at heart above all else?
- Having listened to you for months, are they now bored?
- Is it their way or the highway? Some may get frustrated if you don’t heed their advice.
- Do they really understand the challenge you are facing?
Make sure that your own views and opinions are at the heart of your actions rather than those of your friends and family.
It is also worth considering that the more you talk about the divorce, the more you may connect with it and so, you may find it difficult to move on. After a while, it could be better to talk about it a little less in order to avoid letting it define you or become pervasive in your life. Well-meaning friends can sometimes keep us stuck in the hamster wheel of divorce as they try to be empathetic when what we need now is to start thinking about the future.
Ultimately, those going through a divorce need to talk when they need to talk. They need support, love and friendship at appropriate times from friends and family and then, when they are ready, they need to be clear headed and get through the process by making sensible and fair decisions based on their own views and opinions.