Having to tell your family and friends you’re getting Divorced can be a surprisingly difficult part of the process. At a really awful time in your life, when you’re already dealing with all the turmoil and fear and uncertainty, one of the last things you may want is to run into a friend at Starbucks who asks, “So what’s new?”
Author Wendy Paris, writing for Psychology Today’s website, believes that the act of telling others about your split is actually a great opportunity. She explains that marriages exist within communities, and members of those communities can be confused by a Divorce. So the way you break the news helps the community see how you’re viewing it, and lets them know what to expect.
The key to handling it well is, like so many things in life, preparation. Paris suggests developing an “elevator speech,” a term from the business/networking world, which means a quick, organized, presentation — but instead of pitching yourself or your product, you’re describing your Divorce. And she offers some steps to creating a good one, among them:
Define the Divorce. Position your splitin a way that gives you more strength, not less. If it’s amicable, say so. If it’s not, say you’re working toward amicability. Avoid, or at least limit, criticisms of your ex. This is about you. Accentuate the positive.
Issue a call to action. Keep in mind that most people will be thinking “How does this affect me?” So, depending on who they are, give them a task. From a good friend, you may ask for support. From an acquaintance, perhaps a set-up when you’re ready to date again. This call to action turns the conversation from “why” to “what’s next.”
Always be closing. Be ready to shift topics once you’ve finished saying what you want.
It hurts to realize your plan for the future won’t come true. It hurts to realize your spouse is not who you thought he or she was (and maybe you aren’t, either). It hurts to leave your family home, and to divide the possessions you shared there.
Much of the pain tends to hit both men and women equally.
There is, however, a divorce aspect that’s unequal: In a gray divorce, with a marriage that lasted two decades or more, when it comes to the friends you shared as a couple, the man is going to get hurt.
Going through a divorce means dividing up everything you acquired as a couple. The distribution of the financial assets is decided by mediation or court order; it can go easily, or be very difficult and painful. When it comes to dividing the friends, however, there is no controlling authority… and very often it’s filled with difficulty and pain.
There’s just no way around it: when you get divorced, some weird stuff is gonna happen with your friends. Some may side with you, some may choose your spouse, others may want nothing to do with either of you. Regardless, there’s an excellent chance your social life is going to take a hit.
This article from First Wives World suggests that your new found alone-time may actually be a good thing. And it argues that the friends’ reaction says more about them and their issues than it does about you and yours. As the name of the website suggests, the article is aimed at women, but there’s no reason men can’t benefit from checking it out as well.