If you have a loved one who faces obstacles in their married life, there is a high chance they have been going to you for marital advice. The issues might have been recurring, and they have finally decided to end the marriage. Though getting a divorce may be a solution, this does not mean it will no longer be difficult.
Even if deciding to get a divorce in Florida is the best choice for them, it is no surprise that they may still suffer grief. All endings bring with them some pain. It is essential to acknowledge this and help your friend or relative process their grief. Here are some of the ways you can offer support.
1. Reassure them that their grief is valid
Chances are, your loved one is confused about what they are feeling. They may not regret their decision to end the marriage, but at the same time, there is grief lingering even while the divorce is ongoing. It is vital to let them know their feelings are valid.
Remind them that their spouse still has been a huge part of their life and that it is okay to grieve their impending loss. You may suggest that they honor the beautiful memories and tell them there is nothing wrong in acknowledging their pain.
2. Emphasize that there is hope
Your friend and loved one may feel like their pain will not end. They may also feel hopeless and uncertain about their future now that they will be single again.
Without offering unsolicited advice, ask permission to share your thoughts with them. If they agree, take that opportunity to remind them that there is hope. No one can tell what the future holds, but taking the right steps toward healing can get them back on their feet.
3. Be aware of the stages of grief
Grief is a process. That process often occurs in various stages. In terms of a loved one’s divorce, this process may look like this at different stages:
- Depression: They might deal with feelings of depression or sadness about the losses from the divorce.
- Anger: In this stage, your loved one might feel upset or mad about the problem, their ex-spouse or what they are going through. They may say hateful things about their ex-spouse.
- Bargaining: They may start considering renegotiating the relationship or thinking of ways to compromise and think twice about the divorce. They may find reasons to hesitate about moving forward with the divorce. You may be a third party, but it is important to ground them, to help them remember the realities of their situation. It may help to remind them about all the means they exhausted prior to their decision to end the marriage.
- Denial: This stage may be experienced most by the spouse who has been served with divorce papers. They may find it hard to accept that their marriage is ending. At this stage, it can be helpful to simply be there for your loved one.
- Acceptance: Even at the acceptance stage, there may still be lingering feelings of hurt, longing and sadness. The good thing is that they have made peace with the difficult feelings and have allowed themselves to face the divorce head-on.
The process of grief is not linear. One moment your friend or relative may feel like they have accepted the situation and is ready to move on. Then, the pain might hit them again unexpectedly, and they might experience one of the above stages all over again. It can help to let them know that all the stages of grief are valid and that there is no need to rush this process.