Best Ways to Tell Family and Friends You’re Getting Divorced
Depending on your divorce, you might find yourself on one of the most difficult emotional journeys of your life. While you know that you’ll eventually come out fine on the other side, getting there can be challenging. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. There are people in your life who care about you and want to help.
Accepting Help: Decoding the Hidden Request
As you share your divorce news with your loved ones, they might say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.” At first, it might seem like a vague offer, but it’s actually a hidden request for guidance. They genuinely want to help, but they need you to tell them what you need because they don’t want to overstep their boundaries.
Knowing What Kind of Support You Want
Understanding how much you want to share and the type of help you need is the first step to getting the support you desire. Consider the following areas:
Decide how you’d prefer to hear from someone after a long day. Is it through an email, a social media tag, a surprise phone call, or an old-fashioned letter? Also, consider how often you’d like to hear from people, as too much communication might become overwhelming.
Identify at least three concrete actions that a friend or family member could take off your plate. Whether it’s picking up the kids from soccer practice, providing an hour of babysitting, delivering dinner, or offering a coupon to a meal prep service, having specific tasks in mind will help you communicate your needs clearly.
Consider setting boundaries with those offering help. If you’re worried about someone being overly helpful, it’s best to establish boundaries from the beginning. Let your loved ones know how often you plan to communicate about your divorce, so they understand what to expect.
Deciding Who and When to Share the News
You don’t have to tell everyone about your divorce at once. Carefully consider the different groups of people in your life and decide who needs to know now and who can be informed later.
Audiences to Consider
- Your Children: They should hear about the divorce directly from you. Be honest and reassuring, letting them know that everything will be okay.
- Your Parents and Grandparents: If you have a close relationship with them, it’s essential to inform them sooner rather than later.
- Extended Family (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins): Think about events where they might notice the absence of your spouse and decide when to share the news with them.
- Your Close Friends: They may be the first group you tell, and you can rely on them for emotional support.
- Mutual Friends: Let them know that you want to remain friends and hope they will remain friendly with your ex as well.
- Parents of Your Children’s Friends: Depending on your relationship with your soon-to-be-ex, you may need to inform them about the situation to avoid awkwardness or miscommunication.
- Your Boss or Direct Reports: If you’ll need to be out of the office frequently for mediation or court proceedings, it’s best to be upfront with your boss or direct reports.
Developing a Plan to Share the News
Now that you’ve determined who needs to know and when, it’s time to create a communication plan. Different people in your life may require different approaches.
Divorce can be a challenging time, but having the support of loved ones can make a significant difference. By knowing what kind of support you want, who needs to know about your divorce, and developing a communication plan, you can navigate this emotional journey with a stronger support system.
1. Is it okay to ask for help during a divorce?
Absolutely! Seeking support during a divorce is essential for your emotional well-being. Don’t hesitate to reach out to those who care about you.
2. How do I set boundaries with people offering help?
Be honest and direct about what you need and when you need it. Communicate openly to avoid misunderstandings.
3. What if I don’t want to share the news with certain people?
It’s entirely up to you to decide who to share the news with. Only share with those you trust and feel comfortable confiding in.
4. Should I inform my children’s friends’ parents about the divorce?
If you believe it may impact their relationship with your children, it might be best to inform them, but it’s ultimately your decision.
5. How can I stay in control of the message about my divorce?
By having a communication plan and informing those closest to you first, you can better manage how the news spreads within your social circle.