A while ago, we wrote a feature on how to help out a close person who is in the midst of a crisis situation as grave as a divorce or separation. The importance of support during such a time can’t be stressed enough. But what about the time before filing for a divorce? More often than not, there is a series of events that lead up to the point where a person, or rather a couple, can’t think of any way to save their relationship; and hence, conclude that separation is the only option. At such a juncture in life, the support of one’s friends and family is far more important and much-needed too.
If you think your friend or a close family member is heading for splitsville, be very careful in your interactions with them. Help them out in a positive way rather than making them feel miserable about their situation. Here are some dos and don’ts:
Do remind your friend/family member that they will eventually get through this phase. However, try saying in a normal and controlled manner not making it seem too melodramatic. Divorce or separation can feel like nearing death (no kidding!), so it helps if you remind them that there is life ahead – the light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Do make them feel they aren’t alone. Tell them you’re always there for them no matter what. The phase before divorce or separation can be really trying and make one feel they are alone. At such a juncture, knowing that friends and family always stick together would help a great deal.
Do say positive things. Statements like “We’ll get through this together” and “I hope whatever happens, works out for the best of both parties” will have a calming effect on the grieving person. Remember not to say any mean thing about your friend’s partner, any negative statement would make them angry and make you look like a terrible person!
Do keep your friend or family member busy in things they like to do. Keeping their mind diverted will help a great deal in reducing stress and feeling relived. So sit back with them and watch a few episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ or perhaps the whole season!
Do make sure your friend looks after him/herself. There are chances they may not eat healthy or give up eating altogether. Bake a cake and go over to deliver it. Make sure they eat it and don’t feed the dog!
Do have patience with your friend. As they are going through a tough phase there are chances they may pounce on you and get difficult to be around, you have to be calm when dealing with them.
Don’t argue with your friend about what’s right and wrong. They must be confused about lots of things, give them a break.
Don’t be judgmental. They’re probably already judging themselves for being in such a spot. If you can’t think of nice things to say, it’s better not to say anything. A hug would do the trick.
Also read: How To Rediscover The Real You
Don’t assume things. You don’t have any idea what went wrong between your friend and their partner; so just stay calm and focus on making your friend feel better.
Don’t ask for reasons or explanations. People can’t always sum up their reasons neatly, and they may want to keep their reasons private. Don’t probe for explanations or pry for details. Also, don’t push your friend to think about whether there is a possibility for a reconciliation; let them decide what’s best for them.
Finally, just make sure you are making life easier for your friend and be there for them at all times and by all means. This is a sensitive phase and a chance for you to prove your friendship; and for bonus, you’ll strengthen your bond with them!