Helping a Friend Through Divorce and Dealing with a Change of Status

 

Divorce is such a difficult time.  It can be filled with guilt and confusion, loss, rejection and anxiety.  Even when the divorce is your choice it can still feel like a failure.  When you have wanted the marriage to continue, the process can be shattering.  As well as the emotional factors, practical matters are very real.  Money and property, for instance, and also the change of status that comes with being without a partner.

In the following article we look at:

  • Being there for your friend
  • Putting a positive spin on the situation
  • Coping with change of status

During a time like this everyone needs a friend.  Friends show us that there are good things in life and these go on.  They can be trusted and relied on, even when our main relationship is ending.  A good friend can be the catalyst to another state of being, where there is life and happiness after divorce.

 

 

BEING THERE FOR YOUR FRIEND

 

If you’ve been through a divorce yourself you will understand how difficult this is.  However, it’s important not to assume that your friend will feel the same.  The issues may be very different, or your friend may be reacting differently, finding aspects painful that you found easy, and vice versa.  So try to listen to your friend without making assumptions, and tune in to how they feel

When we are going through major changes in life the worst times are often at night.  Your friend may wake up in the small hours, scared and lonely.  How do you feel about being contacted then?  Make it clear to your friend when you can be comfortably available and encourage them to hold on to difficult feelings until you can talk, maybe by recording or writing things down.

Try to listen very carefully when your friend is talking.  Don’t butt in or make assumptions about what they mean – if you’re not quite sure you have the gist, ask them about it.  This will assure your friend that you are really tuning in.

Always arrange a time when you can be there, even if it is a few days away.  Just knowing that space will be available will give your friend something to hold on to.  Try to make just a few minutes available each day, by texting or similar.  A cheery message telling you someone is thinking of you gets all of us through a dark patch.

If your friend has children, they will be worried about their reaction and welfare, and they may also find it very hard to deal with their moods and needs.  They may also need time away from the children, so try to arrange support and babysitting if you can.
 

 

PUT A POSITIVE SPIN ON THE SITUATION

 

You want to make your friend see the bright side, but that can be tricky.  If you’re too cheery, brushing away the issues as if they don’t matter, then obviously your friend won’t feel understood – in fact you could make them feel worse.

On the other hand, if you are too sympathetic that can be more depressing.  No-one is going to be helped by a mate who says ‘Oh yes, it’s awful for you, poor you’, and cries into their cuppa with you.

The trick is to show you understand how they feel now, but you have faith this won’t go on forever.  Try the following:

  • Encourage your friend to come to meditation/mindfulness
  • Make sure they laugh as much as possible
  • Remind them of their good qualities, successes and achievements
  • Show them examples of people who have bounced back, and are better and happier after divorce
  • Encourage them to say ‘yes’ to as many activities as possible
  • Suggest they phone one of our Readers, for encouragement, and a wider perspective
     
 

COPING WITH CHANGE OF STATUS

 

In this day and age very few people frown on divorce or look down on someone whose marriage has failed.  However, divorcing often does make a person feel like they have gone down in the world. 

That settled, successful state of couple-dom has gone, and everyone knows they are cast out into uncertainty again.  It feels like taking a massive step back, into the teens and twenties world of being single, and dating.  Even if your friend has no intention of dating at the moment, they will know that the only way back into being part of a partnership is through that route.  This can feel daunting and demeaning.

Other couples that were friends before the divorce may take sides, meaning that support diminishes and social life shrinks.  Married couples can also be wary of those who are divorced, thinking that maybe it’s ‘catching’ or that the divorced person may want to steal their partner.  That’s a horrible feeling.

Most of all, divorce inevitably brings a change of financial status.  There will be less money, a smaller house in a different area may have to be taken, and that can be shattering.  Your friend will need reassurance that you still appreciate them and certainly think no less of them because of this.  Remind them of their qualities and abilities, and reinforce the belief that they will soon regain the ground they’ve lost.
 

 

HOW WE CAN HELP

 

In this article we have looked at being there for your friend, staying positive and coping with change of status.  But sometimes written advice isn’t enough and you need something personal, for every situation is unique. If you are divorcing or you have a friend who is going through the process, this can feel painful and difficult.  When it all gets too much our empathic and knowledgeable readers at TheCircle are always available.  To get support for you, and your friend, put in a call today.

 

 

PUBLISHED: 2 June 2016

 
 

 

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