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How to Tell Your Family and Friends about Your Divorce
A divorce is a difficult time for everyone, friends and family included. Unfortunately, many people do not realize the affect a divorce can have on family and friends until it is too late. How you break the news to them will have a profound effect on how they deal with the reality of the situation; they will most likely go through some of the same periods of adjustment that most people go through when confronted by a traumatic event.
Your family and friends will grieve with you and will lament the loss of your marriage almost as much as you will. Further, your family and friends will fear the loss of friendships that sometimes occur; they may miss one of the two divorcees, depending on whose friend they consider themselves to be and in some cases, may lose both friends if they frequently went on outings with you and your spouse as a couple. Your family will grieve the loss of an in-law, a member of the family, and will also grieve for the damage that has been done and will be done to the children, if any are involved.
After this period of mourning, your friends and family may experience a sense of denial. They may convince themselves that this is just a phase and that you will, undoubtedly, reconcile. They may spend a good deal of time trying to convince the two of you that you really donít want to divorce. They may continue to invite the two of you over in hopes of spurring you towards this end.
Once it has become apparent that this is not a phase or a mistake, they will become sad and possibly depressed over the divorce. This will most likely occur with family more so than friends. They may then become angry with you or your spouse, directing that anger at either of you. Further, their anger may seem irrational, as though you had deliberately decided to make a problem for them or that you are just being stubborn and should reconcile. Nevertheless, once they have gone through these phases, then hopefully they will come to accept that the divorce is happening and they can provide the support you will need for the difficult times ahead.
There are ways to minimize the damage that a divorce can inflict on your relationships with friends and family. If at all possible, it is best to tell your friends and family in person. In fact, it is even better if you and your parting spouse can tell your family and friends together. Even though you will no longer be a couple, telling your family and friends together will help to convince them that your divorce was a mutual decision and is not a case where one of you is being forced or coerced into doing something they do not wish to. It is also important for them to realize that you did not reach this decision on a whim, that you have thought very long and hard about this and that it was a very difficult decision to make.
Bear in mind that your friends and family may wonder why you are getting a divorce; in most cases, your friends and family may believe that everything is fine between you and your spouse. Thus, it is imperative that you explain to both your family and friends that you have made every effort to make the marriage work; if you have attended any kind of marriage counselling, informing or reminding your friends and family of this fact will be helpful.
Finally, be prepared to endure some opposition. Your friends and family will most likely try to talk you out of going through with your divorce or at least try to convince you that you should try a little bit harder to reconcile. Nevertheless, you must stand your ground; you and your spouse know all of the circumstances involving your decision and should not necessarily be swayed by the hopes of your friends and family. Therefore, assure them that you both have already done all you can and that the divorce is imminent.
With a little time and care, your friends and family will realize that you are both serious and have given your decision to divorce the proper amount of consideration. With the passage of time, your friends and family will be able then focus their efforts to be supportive and helpful. Finally, with the support of your family and friends, you and your spouse can make it through the difficulties associated with divorce, relatively unscathed.