At Hong Kong Divorce, we have walked you through the many issues you may face going through a divorce and what that journey entails from a legal perspective. For many of you, a divorce can catapult you into a difficult grieving process which can take as little or as long as you need and it is with the help and support of your loved ones, that you will be able to pull through and lead you to a new life that can be full of joy. In today’s article, we want to focus on your friends and family who are going through this journey with you and provide some practical and helpful tips your family and friends can do to support you through this difficult time.
Tip #1 – Provide A Listening Ear: One of the most helpful ways to be there for your loved one is to listen to them when they need your support. Providing an open space for your friend or family member to express their hurts not only helps them process through the grieving process but also allows them to understand that they are loved regardless of the circumstances. At times, you may become frustrated if you feel that the person is not moving on or repeating the same toxic patterns. However, it is important to remember that when your loved one is processing through his/her grief, a consequence of the grief is that your loved one may repeat toxic patterns as a coping mechanism to get through the pain. As frustrating as it may be, the last thing you want to do is refuse to listen because if you refuse, you may end up pushing your loved one away. The best thing you can provide is an open ear and provide that support by listening again and again.
Tip #2 – Do Not Judge and Be Supportive: It is also important that when you are listening to your loved one who is going through the stages of their divorce process, that you provide a listening ear that is free of judgment or scorn. Your loved one is already in a fragile state of mind during a divorce and he/she is not looking to receive additional judgment or scorn from you. Divorce can be extremely isolating for some individuals and part of the isolation is the feeling that he/she is being judged by the world. You must remember that the divorce process is a marathon and it requires a lot of your loved one’s time and emotional energy. You therefore want to be the person who can provide that support in a safe space and you can do that by providing a listening ear and advice (when asked) that is free from judgment. You want your loved one to be completely honest with you about what he/she is going through so that you can support them in the best way possible. Your friend/family member cannot be completely honest unless they know you are a safe person to divulge their deepest sorrows during one of their most difficult times. It is during the divorce process that your loved one might also go through certain transitions and he/she may make choices that you might not be in agreement with. However, rather than judge, allow your friend/family member to explore their new normal and figure out what works for them. They may start dating or take on a new hobby/activity that you do not agree with. Rather than judge your friend, perhaps try and understand their choices and ask them what you can do to support them during this time.
Tip #3 – Assist In Other Helpful Ways: A good way to support a loved one going through divorce is to simply ask him/her what he/she needs. It might be a listening ear. It might mean a meal together or helping them with tasks around the house. Sometimes, your friend/loved one might need financial assistance as the divorce process is not a cheap process to go through. Consider your loved one’s needs and consider how you can help. Even if it means delivering a nice meal to their home or helping take care of their children when they need time to go to Court or meet with their lawyers, this assistance will go a long way.
If you have never gone through a divorce, it may be difficult to empathize with a loved one going through a litigious divorce. For many individuals, they describe divorce as a death in the family. The grief associated with divorce can loom large in their lives and it will take time for your loved one to move on. Be there to support your friend/family member in the best way you can and he/she will surely be appreciative of it in the long run.