I have never gotten a divorce, in fact, I don’t believe in them at all. I have always told myself that if I were ever to be married then that that was it. I’ll be married once, and it will last a lifetime. Watching my parents divorce after 17 years was enough for me to make that decision. Well either that or my obsession with “happily ever after.”
Unfortunately, that makes me a small percentage of the population. Nowadays, breakups seem to be just as common as a common cold. Relationships can be difficult for many reasons. Selfishness, money, sex, boredom, just to name a few. So what do you do when you have friends or family going through these difficult times? Try and help, right? Just because you don’t know what to say at times or you feel you are not of much help, you truly can be.
There really is no way around it. While you may not be able to fix anyone’s problems for them, you can most definitely offer tons of support. Most people going through a divorce or breakup act as if they are so tough that they need zero help with their feelings. Truth is, when you know someone you can read them without them saying a word. So don’t believe the hype. Instead, here are some ways that I feel can help your friend or family member cope with losing someone they once loved.
Be available. Make time for your friend. Try and figure out what’s bothering them the most. What times of the day are the hardest. Listen and don’t rush the conversation. Some people feel as if they are a burden and that everything they talk about is depressing. Your job is to let them vent. Letting them know that you are pursuing them removes the weight on their shoulders that they are alone. Also don’t worry, most people will tell you if they want to be left alone especially if they feel you are being overbearing.
Be supportive. Go to court dates, attend meetings/appointments. Your friend needs to know they have someone in their corner. Do something nice with them. Go out to dinner. Give hugs. Call or send a text letting them know that you are thinking about them. Small acts of kindness toward someone who has a lot on their minds gives them a moment to remember that someone cares.
Be understanding. Being sad takes time. If someone reaches out to you it’s truly because they need you. Even if you have no experience in the situation, try and place yourself there. If you have nothing to say, just say I’m sorry — that alone is enough. There are going to be times when your friend is extremely distant or quiet, even during those times, be there. All they need is you even if there are no words exchanged.
Be useful. Help them with things they need. Make dinner, help with laundry, run some errands. Remember they are going through a life change. Some of these simple everyday tasks may not be so simple to them anymore. The more help they have, the less stress they have. If you are going to offer help make sure you commit. The last thing they need is another person bailing on them.
Love unconditionally. You don’t have to approve of the choices your friends make to love them.