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How to support a loved one navigating his or her divorce

It is never easy to watch loved ones struggle. Sometimes individuals need to fight their way through certain life events, but this necessity rarely makes it easier to observe. For example, choosing to divorce may be the healthiest choice that a particular loved one can make given his or her unique situation. However, watching someone you care about navigate the heartbreak of divorce can feel devastating.

You cannot take away a loved one’s pain when that individual is going through the highly personal process of divorce. However, you can lend your support in ways that will ultimately benefit him or her. For example, you can offer to help your loved one prepare for his or her divorce mediation by listening to him or her process any issues that his or her attorney has advised him or her to consider.

In this example, the key word is “offer.” It is generally not a good idea to force your support on anyone navigating a divorce, nor is it generally a good idea to make a loved one feel guilty for needing to process the situation without your help. What you can do is listen without judgment, remain available and practice empathy if your loved one does choose to confide in you.

If you surround your loved one with any sort of negativity or judgment, that approach could affect that individual’s divorce process and his or her ability to move forward successfully into the next phase of life. Please keep this in mind when interacting with a loved one who is going through divorce.

Source: Babble, “10 Worst Things To Say To A Mom Getting Divorced And My Responses,” Miss Lori, April 28, 2014

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