If a friend tells you, "I'm getting divorced," what's the best way to respond?
I've turned to some divorced -- and recently separated -- mom bloggers and asked them:
"What did you want to hear when you told a girlfriend you were getting divorced? What do you wish someone had said?"
"I agree that 'I'm sorry' is meaningless," says Kat Wilder.
She advises against bad-mouthing the soon-to-be ex-husband by saying something like, "I never thought he was good for you."
Instead, she says, "I think the most important thing -- if there are kids involved -- is to remember that whatever bad feelings you hold against your former spouse (anger, resentment, etc.) aren't going to help you two be the best co-parents you can be. Ultimately, it will be the children who will suffer. The best thing a divorcing couple can do is appreciate the way each one parents and loves the children -- and get along as best they can."
"Try to avoid looks of shock, gasps of surprise, and awkward hugs," says Nicki of Suddenly Single Journey. "Also avoid admissions that you saw 'that' coming and insincere gestures. I think also that trying to disperse words of wisdom and religious content may offer less comfort. (Yeah, there may very well be a God who has a better plan for me ... but it doesn't feel like it so much right now. And I know that if it was meant to be, it will be, but crap!)
"What I prefer are those people who look at me with genuine concern and simply ask, 'How are you holding up?' It gives me an opportunity to talk, if I feel like it. And it lets me know that they care. These are the people I surround myself with at the moment."
"What I needed most -- and got from one or two people at the time of my divorce -- is what I would offer now if I received this news: a shoulder, or an ear," says BigLittleWolf. "No judgment, no referrals, no advice.
"Simply: 'If you need to talk, I'm here to listen,' or, 'If you need me, just call.'"
"Here's what I did when an ex-colleague came by my house to tell me she is filing tomorrow: I got out my file and gave her a referral. I wrote everything down that she will take to her attorney tomorrow," says Ms. V. "I said, 'I support you completely. What else do you need?' Then I gave my friend a hug, and told her: 'You have two boxes. An emotional box, and a legal one. Keep them separate. Deal with your emotions APART from what you will do legally.' Boy, did I learn that the hard way."
|Rachel Sarah, a.k.a. "Single Mom Seeking" blogs at SingleMomSeeking.com and co-founded SingleMommyHood.com, the first-ever website to offer "a whole new way to think about life."|