Divorce Support Groups and Coping with Divorce
Divorce is a difficult time that churns up all sorts of emotions and issues. There’s the stress and grief that stem from the death of a relationship and the break of an important contract. You might also face legal concerns, money matters, parenting issues, and housing dilemmas.
Maybe you’ve heard that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce – but that doesn’t make you feel any less alone. And self-care might not be enough, and your trusted friends may not “get it.” And all the legal advice in the world can’t help much with the emotional aspects of divorce.
But there’s good news. When it all feels like too much, a divorce support group can help you take care of yourself. In this divorce article, we explore everything you need to know about divorce support groups: what they are, how they work, how to find one, and the pros and cons of joining one. We touch on specific websites you can visit to find support, as well as other types of supportive measures you can take.
Divorce Support Groups: Finding Strength in Shared Experiences
What is a divorce support group?
A divorce support group is a group of people who meet in person or online to share their divorce-related experiences, process negative emotions, and give and receive support. Some divorce support groups are guided by a specific topic or theme, such as newly divorced individuals, co-parenting challenges, or post-divorce recovery and dating. There are also groups that cater to specific demographics based on age, gender, religion, or ethnicity.
One of the leading Divorce Support groups in the United States is Circles. It offers a wide range of groups and topics, making it easy for individuals to find the right type of support for their unique situations.
What happens at a divorce support group meeting?
Divorce support group meetings vary in structure, but they are generally led by a host, therapist, coach, or peer who guides group discussions about relevant topics. The number of participants can range from just a few to dozens. Confidentiality is crucial in these groups, as it creates a safe space for individuals to share their stories and emotions without fear of judgment.
Online divorce support groups
Online divorce support groups offer the convenience of attending meetings from the comfort of one’s home. Led by a divorce coach or therapist, these virtual meetings aim to encourage structured conversations and fair give-and-take between participants. Circles provides a robust platform for online support groups, fostering positive discussions about divorce experiences.
In-person divorce support groups
In-person divorce support group meetings share a similar goal to online groups: thoughtful group discussion and support. These meetings occur in local buildings like church basements, public libraries, community centers, and medical buildings. Some support groups may require membership, while others have open meetings that anyone can attend.
How do you find a divorce support group?
Finding a local divorce support group is more accessible than you might think. Some ways to start your search include contacting local churches, seeking guidance from your lawyer or attorney, consulting with your physician or therapist, and exploring support group listings on platforms like Psychology Today. You can also call 2-1-1 for information about resources in your community.
Benefits and limitations of divorce support groups
Divorce support groups offer numerous benefits, including the opportunity to talk through the healing process, share stories, let go of negative emotions, and find new friends who understand the challenges of divorce. However, they do have limitations. Support groups do not provide individualized advice or treatment, and the expertise of the group moderator can vary. Additionally, they are not suitable for addressing serious issues like child support, custody, domestic abuse, or severe mental health problems.
Other types of support
While support groups work well for some, others may find alternative options more suitable. Divorce counseling involves a couple and a therapist, aiming to work through marital issues and determine if the marriage can be saved. Individualized therapy offers personalized help for coping with divorce-related challenges and improving overall well-being. Family therapy is beneficial for addressing family dynamics and parenting issues.
Recommendations for the best divorce support groups
Several national and local divorce support groups offer in-person and online meetings. Mental Health America provides a safe space for discussing divorce-related topics. Circles, as mentioned earlier, offers a wide variety of online divorce support groups with a focus on different aspects of divorce recovery. Mensgroup is a similar platform exclusively for men seeking emotional support. DivorceCare is a national recovery network that provides in-person and online support groups. WomansDivorce offers a hub of resources for women going through the divorce process.
Going through a divorce is a significant life change that can be emotionally challenging. Joining a divorce support group can offer much-needed comfort, validation, and compassion. Remember, it’s okay to seek outside help during this time of transition. You don’t have to go through it alone. By finding a support group that fits your needs, you can take important steps toward healing and building a new life.
- Are divorce support groups confidential?
- Yes, confidentiality is a top concern in divorce support groups. Participants are encouraged to share their stories in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
- Do I need to provide my real name in online support groups?
- It depends on the specific group’s policy. Some online support groups may require participants to use their real names, while others may allow the use of pseudonyms to protect privacy.
- Can divorce support groups provide legal advice?
- No, divorce support groups are not equipped to provide legal advice. For legal matters, it’s best to consult with a qualified attorney.
- What if I don’t get along with everyone in the support group?
- Not everyone may be a perfect fit for every support group. If you find that the dynamics are not suitable for you, consider exploring other groups or seeking individualized therapy.
- Is online support as effective as in-person support?
- Yes, online support groups can be just as effective as in-person groups, especially when facilitated by trained professionals. The accessibility and convenience of online meetings can make them a valuable resource for many individuals.