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Loved ones: Divorce 'interference' is rarely productive

If a loved one has recently revealed to you that he or she is seeking a divorce, please think carefully before you interfere with this decision. You almost certainly want your loved one to be spared hurt and pain. However, it is rare that a married couple approaches the subject of divorce lightly. By the time that someone announces an intention to divorce to his or her loved ones, the subject has likely already become a significant presence in that person’s life.

Certainly, as a loved one you may wish to offer your support and your advice. But it is generally difficult to offer unsolicited advice without appearing to interfere. As a result, it is important to think carefully before offering unsolicited advice, as it may offend and alienate the individual you are seeking to help.

Divorce is unquestionably a complex, nuanced and tricky subject. If you have questions about how to best approach your loved one going through a divorce, do not hesitate to ask him or her directly. By asking, “What do you need?” or “What can I do to help?” or “Would you like my two cents or would you prefer if I just listened right now?” you can avoid causing tension that you never intended to inspire.

Each individual processes divorce differently. So please do not expect all of your loved ones to respond to your offers of support in the same ways. Most of the time, an individual’s response to loved ones during divorce is far more about where that person is mentally than it is about you. Therefore, if someone is not in a place to accept advice or help at the moment, it is not likely a personal affront. It is simply where that person “is.”

Source: The Huffington Post, “Why You Shouldn't Interfere With a Divorce,” Thomasina Guidry, May 4, 2015

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