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Aiding a loved one who is navigating divorce


Few situations leave one feeling more helpless than watching a loved one suffer grief and heartbreak. Although there may be nothing you can do to change a loved one’s circumstances if he or she is navigating a tough divorce, there are things you can do to make your loved one feel more supported.

Support may not ease pain and grief in the immediate present. However, it does offer your loved one a solid foundation upon which to stand whenever he or she is able to regain enough strength to begin placing one foot in front of the other again. 


The key to supporting a loved one through the divorce process is to remember that everyone processes change differently and therefore needs different kinds of support. What may have worked with a loved one in the past may not resonate with a loved one currently weaving his or her way through the process.

Do not expect your loved one to read your mind. If you want to be there for him or her, you must express that desire in word and/or deed. It is also important to reserve judgment while expressing support. You may not agree with every one of your loved one’s decisions related to the divorce. However, support offered with a side of judgment can leave a loved one feeling less supported than if you had failed to reach out at all.

In addition, it is important to only offer the kinds of support you feel emotionally and physically able to give. Spreading yourself too thin or twisting yourself into uncomfortable positions benefits neither you nor your loved one. If you feel most comfortable lending an ear and a shoulder to cry on, offer that. If you feel most comfortable treating your loved one to a movie, free babysitting or a meal, offer that. You are going to be of most help to your loved one when you are genuinely eager to have him or her take you up on your offer of assistance.

When offering support to a loved one navigating divorce, try not to place too many expectations upon yourself and upon your loved one. As long as you are genuinely offering support and reasonably reserve judgment as you are doing so, your loved one will benefit from your generosity in the end. 

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Aiding a loved one who is navigating divorce | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC