It can be hard when a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or someone else you know is going through a divorce. You want to be a good friend and support them. You want to be there for them and do the right things. However, you need to be mindful of what you say during this difficult time.
It is important to know what not to say when a loved one is dealing with a divorce. Even a well-meaning comment can sting. You may think you are being supportive and reassuring, but you are actually being hurtful and even insulting the divorcing parties. You do not want to do that, as it could ruin your relationship with the person going through the divorce.
Avoid saying the wrong words during this difficult time. Here are some phrases you should avoid saying while your loved one is dealing with the effects of divorce.
“I never liked them for you anyway.”
When you say this, you may feel as though you are being supportive because you are insulting their partner. However, you are actually being insulting to your loved one. You are insulting their choice in a partner. Your friend is probably emotional enough at this time, and now they are questioning their judgment and instincts. This phrase also discredits the person’s pain and can make them feel fragile.
“My spouse is so annoying, too.”
This may be true, but your friend may not care to hear your relationship issues. You may feel as though you are being supportive, but your friend may seem things differently. They are going through a painful event and they don’t need to feel as though their friends and family members are trying to outdo them or one-up them. Be sensitive to your loved one’s relationship issues. It may be best to ask them if they want to hear your relationship issues.
“I knew it wouldn’t last.”
When you say this, you are showing the person that you failed to honor their marital commitment. You had preconceived notions of the marriage failing, which can be devastating to your loved one. They stood at the altar and professed their love for their spouse. They thought their marriage would last. By saying you knew the marriage would not last, you did not do your part in honoring that commitment.
Even if your loved one initiated the divorce, they are still feeling pain. They do not need you to tell them your thoughts on their marriage.
There are many reasons why a marriage could fail, and frankly, you do not need to know why or how it happened. If your friend wants to reveal the details, that is up to them. Otherwise, do not ask them. By doing so, it makes it seem as though you are more interested in learning juicy gossip about the marriage rather than showing empathy toward your loved one. All it does is serve your curiosity. Spilling the details does nothing to help your friend move past the pain—and they have probably already rehashed the details of the divorce several times.
“What’s this going to do to your kids?”
Yes, the kids will likely be affected by the divorce, but that is not up to you to assume. Saying something like this can be condescending to your loved one. It assumes that they should have stayed married for the kids. If that is the way you feel, then do not let your loved one know about your bias. Your friend is dealing with enough emotional trauma as it is; you do not need to make them feel worse for having children involved. Many children see their parents go through divorce. Some are happy about it if it means their parents will fight less often.
“Good thing that’s all in the past now.”
You may be trying to help your loved one move on by saying this, but saying this can actually make things harder. How do you know that his or her divorce is all in the past now? What if they have children or are paying alimony or child support? Obligations from a divorce can last for many years, so it is not uncommon for it to take a long time to move past the grief. Do not try to rush your loved one. They likely have many good memories from their marriage, so let them take their time in processing everything.
“I know the perfect person for you to date.”
So your friend’s marriage did not last, but you still want them to find lasting love. Would it be so bad to act as a matchmaker? Maybe. You do not want to act too quickly. Ending a marriage is a huge deal, and most people are not ready to start dating again for a while after the divorce is finalized. Give your friend some time to adjust to the idea of being single. When they are ready to start dating again, you can start setting them up with people with whom they may be compatible.
Seek Legal Help
A divorce is a highly emotional time for all involved and the wrong words can be hurtful. Even if you have good intentions, you need to be mindful of what you say to someone going through a divorce.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can give you divorce advice. We have more than 30 years of experience dealing with family law issues. Schedule a consultation today by calling (954) 398-5712 or filling out the online form.