How to keep your friends and family out of your divorce

The divorce process is an emotional time for anybody, and it helps to have friends and family you can rely on. Unfortunately, your friends and family members may react to the news as if they were the ones getting a divorce rather than you.

From well-meaning (but misguided) attempts to show their support for you (by unnecessarily bashing your spouse and suggesting all the ways you should “get even”) to giving you unwanted (and likely incorrect) legal advice, your friends and family can actually make your divorce harder.

So how do you keep the support you need while keeping things under control so that your divorce doesn’t explode? Here are some tips:

Ask them to be respectful about your spouse

Sure, your spouse may not be perfect – but perfect people don’t exist. You don’t need anybody to enumerate your spouse’s flaws or mock them to make you feel better. Ask anybody who makes negative comments about your spouse to remember that this is someone you once loved enough to marry – and maybe even someone with whom you share children.

Don’t let people tell you their divorce “war” stories

As soon as you announce that you’re getting divorced, everybody around you seems to have a divorce horror story they want to share about what happened to their cousin, friend or neighbor – or themselves. They may urge you to be aggressive and inflexible in your approach to avoid a similar fate. However, following their advice is more likely to cause unnecessary delays and make it harder to end your marriage peacefully.

Look for supportive people who won’t choose sides

There are always a few people around who can offer compassion for your situation without condemning your spouse or choosing sides. Those are the people who understand healthy boundaries. They understand that there’s often no “bad actor” in a failing marriage. Avoid discussing your divorce with everybody else except to say, “It’s going along.”

Divorce doesn’t have to be an adversarial process, so don’t let yourself get caught up in other people’s opinions about what you should or shouldn’t be doing right now. That’s for you and your legal team to decide.