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Divorced? Ways you can aid loved ones who are divorcing now

If you have navigated the highs and lows of divorce, you almost certainly understand how critical it is to have a strong support system in place during the transition from married life to single life. However, you also almost certainly understand that not all support systems are created equal. Sometimes even the most well-intentioned loved ones can make aspects of the divorce process more difficult simply by approaching the art of support in certain ways.

Every divorce is unique. Therefore, loved ones who are divorcing now may need a different kind of support than you did when you were divorcing. You may be wondering exactly how you can support loved ones who are navigating their own divorces. Keeping a few tips in mind should help you provide solid support no matter how different a loved one’s divorce process is from yours.

First, avoid giving advice. Just as pregnant women are compelled to listen to unsolicited advice about pregnancy and motherhood from swarms of women who have previously been pregnant, divorcing individuals tend to hear unsolicited advice from individuals who have divorced in the past as well. This advice can be overwhelming. Lending an ear and only expressing your opinions when asked directly is a good way to support an overwhelmed loved one.

Second, do not assume that your loved one is processing his or her divorce in the same ways you did. You may have wanted to binge on television shows for weeks after your divorce. Your loved one may feel the need to walk, run, paint, write or even bowl to process his or her divorce. Nurture your loved one in the ways he or she needs to be nurtured, which may or may not mirror your own divorce-related needs.

Source: The Huffington Post, “8 Ways Divorcés Can Help Those Going Through Divorce Now,” Wendi Schuller, June 18, 2014

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