Going through the process of divorce is one of the most stressful things any person could be subject to. In fact, stress scale research shows that divorce is the second-most stressful life event, after the death of a loved one.
Divorce causes major upheaval in both your family and personal life. This means that you need the support of family and friends more than ever before. But the news of your divorce could be just as devastating to them, too.
This blog highlights how to tread lightly and break the news to those most important to you when you decide to get a divorce.
There is no easy way to tell your loved ones and friends that you're getting a divorce. However, there are a few simple tactics you
can implement in your communication about how and why you've made the decision. Ultimately, it's about helping them come to terms with this
major life change.
Most of the time, the announcement of divorce is completely unexpected, unless you've been having marital problems for quite some time. However, your parents may not have seen the signs or wanted to face the reality of your marriage troubles, if any.
You can expect your parent's reactions to be quite unpredictable. It will be awkward and painful, but it's necessary to help them understand how you came to the decision of divorce.
If your separation is amicable, it's a good idea to sit down with both sets of parents and tell them about your decision and how you came to it. Tell them why you think it's best. If your separation is not amicable, it may be best to break the news separately.
Practice Your Announcement
Take some time to practice what you're going to say to your parents, whether you do it alone or with your spouse. Make a decision about how much you want to tell them and what you're comfortable with.
Be cautious when talking about your relationship troubles, if any. Ultimately, you don't want to create a negative impression of your partner if you decide to reconcile your relationship down-the-line.
Let Them Down Gently
Yes, divorce is extremely hard on both you and your spouse. But it could be just as difficult for your parents who have invested so much in your marriage, and the love and appreciation you once had for each other.
Be gentle with your loved ones when breaking the news. Try to explain your reasons for divorce in the most direct way possible, without a long preamble. If your parents have questions, you can calmly and tactfully explain how you came to your decision.
After you've broken the news, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Let your parents feel the hurt and pain that they need to feel, and allow them the chance to re-think their attitude towards your decision.
This allows for a better relationship between you all, in the long-run.
Breaking the news of your divorce to your children largely depends on their age and developmental level. Their emotional reaction will most likely be dictated by how much they understand about the situation.
Young children between the ages of 3-5 years old need solid, concrete information in order to comprehend divorce. It's crucial that you highlight that they'll always be taken care of, they'll always be safe, and all their needs will be met.
One of the fundamental tools to use when explaining divorce to your children is simplicity. They don't need to know details, who is at fault, who hurt whom, etc. These details equate to unnecessary information, so don't burden them with it. It's not about hiding the truth, it's just about telling them what they need to know.
Do Your Homework Beforehand
Telling your children about your divorce requires a bit of homework before you sit down with them. Remember that children's concerns are practical. They'll want to know details about who they'll live with, where their toys will go, will they still attend the same school and see the same friends?
So, before you tell your kid(s), work on a rough visitation plan between yourselves as individual parents. If possible, find a new place to live and prepare their new room for them so they can fully grasp your new living arrangements.
Reassurance is Key
One of the best ways to soften the blow of divorce is to constantly reassure your children that you love them, no matter what age they are. Let them know that your love for them will never change and make sure they understand that.
Ultimately, the way in which you break this news to your kid(s) will say a lot about your co-parenting skills. If you can do so in a
graceful manner, this shows your kids you will always be together as their parents.
Telling close friends about your divorce could be as difficult as telling your family. Especially if they are a tight-knit group who have mutual love and respect for both you and your spouse. Try to be as diplomatic as possible so that they don't feel obligated to take sides.
Your closest friends deserve a little more information and explanation that regular friends or acquaintances. Break the news to them as you
would any other member of your family.
There is no comfortable time to tell those closest to you about your divorce. But a good rule-of-thumb is to tell your loved ones, children, and friends when you've spent some time apart and are 100% sure that there is no chance of reconciliation.
The last thing you want is to tell your nearest and dearest about your divorce and then go back on your decision. If you are separated and
intend to live apart before confirming your divorce, it's important to explain to your children that you need that time apart. Don't lie and
say that your spouse has ''gone on vacation''. Instead, be as honest as you can, without giving away too much detail.
If you and your spouse have chosen to get a divorce, you may want to consider the expertise of a family lawyer to help guide you through this difficult time.
Koolik and Associates is a law firm that specialises in family law and divorce matters. They offer support, guidance, legal advice on both parenting and divorce as well as court representation. Learn more about your divorce options here.
Please note the content of this post is information only and not legal advice. If you require legal advice it is best to contact one of our lawyers who can review your particular circumstances and then provide tailored advice according to your needs.