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Watching your words around loved ones who are divorcing

When an individual decides to divorce his or her spouse, that individual's loved ones often question how they can best be of service during this time of transition. If one of your loved ones is seeking a divorce or has recently finalized one, the most important thing you can do is be supportive in the ways that your loved one needs you to be. Note that your loved one may need you to be supportive in ways that are foreign to you and ways that may differ significantly from what you would need in the same situation.

Unfortunately, even individuals with the best of intentions can make the divorce process more trying for their loved ones simply by forcing certain kinds of support on them, regardless of what kinds of support they actually need. One of the best examples of this reality is the kinds of things that loved ones choose to say to divorcing individuals.

For example, if you tell your loved one that you are sure that he or she can "work things out" with his or her spouse, you are likely trying to be reassuring. However, if the decision to divorce has already been made, insisting that the marriage can still be saved may ultimately feel like salt in your loved one's emotional wounds. If a couple has decided to divorce, they have almost certainly questioned their decision numerous times. If the decision to divorce has been made, it is far more supportive to reassure a loved one that their future can be bright again than it is to reassure them about a relationship that has already passed.

If you are trying to support your loved one through a divorce process, your efforts should be commended. Please just take care to support your loved one in the ways that he or she needs, which may or may not look like the kind of support you would crave if you were in his or her shoes.

Source: The Huffington Post, "15 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Considering Divorce," Brittany Wong, Sep. 16, 2014

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