Breaking the News To Your Family and Friends
January 05, 2023
So, you’ve made the difficult decision to end your marriage. At some point, it is inevitable that you will need to let your family and friends know about your divorce. Even though it may not be the easiest discussion to have, there are some ways of handling it that might make the conversation a bit easier.
Obviously, if there are children involved, they should be the first people you break the news to. Ideally, both you and your partner should sit down together with your children to explain what’s happening. Focus on the positive aspects of the divorce, such as less fighting between their parents, the fact that ultimately, their parents will be happier, which will mean the entire family will be happier, etcetera. One very important thing to avoid doing is placing blame on the other parent or putting them down and talking badly about them. Regardless of how angry and upset you are with your soon to be ex, forcing your children to pick sides isn’t fair to them and will ultimately only cause more trauma.
You and your spouse will also need to share the news with your families. Typically, you would each talk to your own respective families, and whether you choose to do that together or separately is completely up to you. Generally, a brief explanation will suffice for most family members. Saying something to the effect of “after much deliberation, we’ve realized that our marriage is no longer working, so we’ve made the difficult decision to get divorced and go our separate ways. We would appreciate privacy as we navigate through this new chapter in our lives” should be sufficient. Obviously, if there are close family members whom you feel need more of an explanation, then absolutely share as much as you’re comfortable with.
As it relates to breaking the news to your friends, the same type of short and straightforward approach will also be fine. However, understand that if you and your spouse have mutual friends, then they often feel as though they have to choose sides. Although it may hurt to feel like you’re losing a friend, it’s often only temporary, and once the dust settles you may well find them back in your life. For this reason, you should make every effort to not allow your hurt feelings to cause you to burn bridges with those you care about and consider friends.
Going through a divorce is a difficult thing for anyone, so the last thing you should have to deal with is heaping on additional stress by feeling like you need to overshare the details of your divorce or answering questions about it that you aren’t comfortable with. If there are details of your divorce that you don’t wish to divulge, then don’t let anyone make you feel pressured to do so. Ultimately, what details you share and how much to elaborate on those details is your decision to make.
Most importantly during this trying time in your life, remember that your family and friends care about you and are trying to support you in the best way they know how. Divorce isn’t easy for anyone to go through. Keep looking ahead to the future, understanding that it does eventually get easier, and knowing that you are not alone.