Making the final decision to file for divorce is difficult, but the hardest part of all may be telling the children. While it will likely take time and patience for them to understand, we expect friends, adult family members and work colleagues to understand and offer empathy when they hear the news.
Unfortunately, they don’t always meet expectations. Some will be confused by the news and respond with something that makes little sense. Others will perfectly sum up the circumstances of the split with kind words along the lines of “I’m sorry to hear that, let me know if I can do anything to help.”
Comments that don’t help
People may respond with comments that they do not even realize sound hurtful. In a grand act of commiseration, one person created a list of some of the most inappropriate and hurtful comments she and others have heard:
- Some were hurtful: “We were taking bets on how long it would last at the wedding.”
- Some were judgmental: “How can you do this to the kids?”
- Some were insensitive: “I’m glad my marriage isn’t that bad.”
- Some were stupid: “Are you getting married again?”
Prompts can help them understand
The couple can also get in front of the story (so to speak) and minimize speculation and gossip by delivering the news in a certain way:
- You can throw a divorce party to show that the divorce is a healthy one.
- You can explain it in non-judgmental terms to show there is no “victim.”
- You can share the news and then explain how they can help.
- You can stick to the facts and explain the logistics of where you will live and other important details.
You are not alone
Everyone who has gone through a divorce can share some story of a horrible thing a family member, boss or neighbor said. The key is to focus on the people who act supportive – they will help make this process tolerable. Another key will be a family law attorney who can look after your best interests legally and financially as you make plans to start a new life.