I would always hear the phrase, “Going through a divorce can feel like experiencing the death of someone you loved,” but I always thought that may be pushing it a little. Then, I began going through my own experience and I thought I do feel this way. I even think back to when some of my close friends went through a divorce or bad break up, and now I wish I could have showed up more for them.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand a situation until you go through it yourself. So, I’m writing this post, so that people can become more aware of how to treat a loved one, who may be going through a divorce or a bad break up.
Some folks can be insensitive. Yes, they may see you as this strong person, but just because you’re keeping it cute and not on social media telling your life story, doesn’t mean that you’re not going through anything. Many times, when people go through a divorce, their world flips upside down. Their financial situation may change, their living arrangement may change, and depending on the scenario, the other partner may not be living their life in an equal state of devastation. It’s as if their life remains the same.
Going through my recent ish, I have encountered the oddest questions, gossip, and looks. I have had folks stalk my social media page and do their own investigations, when they should have checked in with me. I also had friends who knew what was going on but stayed mute and didn’t reach out to me at all, which really made me begin to evaluate these relationships. Then, for those people who did inquire, some of the questions were random.
Okay, so let’s get straight to the point. How do you show up for someone you love who is going through a divorce or a bad breakup?
Don’t make assumptions. “So, what happened? Did they cheat?”
Cheating isn’t the only reason for divorce. Some folks grow apart. Other reasons may be financial instability, abuse, and/or some folks just wake up and decide they don’t want to be married. It’s honestly none of your business. So why do people feel they must be privy to some details?
Don’t make it about religion. “God doesn’t believe in divorce. Can’t you both just work it out?”
That may have been the most offensive one–especially coming from the daycare provider who didn’t know any details about the situation, but just felt comfortable saying that. Out of respect, I informed her about my family’s situation, because things would be changing. Nonetheless, I didn’t solicit her advice. Folks should tread lightly when adding their $0.02 in, especially when it comes to religion.
Don’t give opinions and advice you don’t follow.
Suddenly, the negativity spills out. “I didn’t really care for him/her. You could do better. He wasn’t really your type.” I know you think you’re being kind, but this actually hurt. You didn’t say it before, when we were together, so don’t say it now.
Don’t reach out on social media with gossip.
I think this is the one that really caught me off guard. Don’t send cryptic direct messages, asking about my relationship status, because you have some information for me. This feels really messy.
Don’t ignore what happened by saying nothing or not enough.
I had close friends who knew my situation, but didn’t say much. They asked how I was doing and wanted to connect, but they never made time to do it. I had someone say you’ll be fine, and they never reached out to me again. I had another friend who would reach out, but just talked about her marriage, as if I wanted to talk about marriage during that period.
On a positive note, there are a few things you could do to support your friend going through a divorce or even a bad breakup.
- Keep your personal opinions to yourself.
- Be normal—talk about the usual stuff you all talk about when you’re out.
- Ask them out for lunch.
- Text them more than usual, just to check in and see how they’re doing.
- Don’t gossip.
- Let them know you’re there for them.
- Ask do they need anything.
At the end of the day, all folks want is your unconditional love and support.
What are some of the things folks have said to you when you were going through a divorce or a bad break up? Comment and tweet us @BoriquaChicks!
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