During the divorce family and friends need to be of real practical help. If they are only there to confirm the negative aspects of the divorce, tell them to stop and explain clearly how they can be helpfull.
You will continue to see the parents of your ex, because they are the grand parents of your children. Every now and then they will visit the children or they invite the children to spend time with them. In some occasions your relationship with your in law parents is very good and continues to be so after your divorce.
But, despite all good willing, there are occasions at which it becomes difficult. Suppose you are invited for a christmas dinner by your in law parents. They like you and you like them, as well as the brothers and sisters of your ex. However, at such an event, your in-law parents will also invite your ex. What do you do?
During and after a divorce family and friends are supposed to be there for you. During those times you will need them the most. In case of a divorce, you will find out that you will not only separate from your partner, but also from some friends and family. Your in-law family will probably choose the side of your ex partner.
Most people have a weakness for the leavee. The leavee is the poor person that has been abandoned. The leaver is the one who will loose more friends. In the eyes of the friends and people around a divorcing couple, the person that leaves, usually gets most of the blame.
Close divorce family and friends but also people that you do not know very well give you all kind of unwanted advice and comments. With the intention to support you, they make statements like "I have always thought that he or she was not the ideal partner for you". It is very likely that such a statement has a negative effect on you, instead of being helpful.
You and your family need a lot of support after the divorce. You have your emotions to deal with, but also with a long list of practicalities that must be arranged in a short time. Decisions must be taken. Things must get done. You can ask your divorce family and friends to help you. Do not expect them to do it spontaneously, but give them explicit tasks to do. For example: get the children from school on Wednesday afternoon, and keep them busy until 6 o'clock.
As said earlier, during the divorce family and friends will be affected too. The occassion gives them the opportunity to express their opinion about your marriage, the relationship, you, your ex, about your divorce, how damaging it will be for your children and much more.
You will be very emotional after the divorce and you probably need to talk about it quite a lot. Don't. Seek somebody you trust to share your emotions and feelings with, but avoid talking about your divorce and all the bad stuff that is related to it with all the other people around you and with your divorce family and friends.
If you keep talking about it and you complain all the time about your ex partner, the small place you live in after the divorce and the problems you have with money, your friends will keep asking and your divorce will become the standard subject to talk about.
If you continue, your friends will back away from you. So stop talking about the subject and do not complain. That will gain you respect. Of course you can answer questions, but stick to the facts and don't hang on to the subject for long.
Of course, they will continue spending time with your children. That is good for the children and for your long term relationship with them. Because they like you, the divorce is exta difficult for them too.
They need time to get used to the new reality, so keep at a distance for a while. If they see you are working on your future and on the future of your children in a positive way and that you accept the situation, you will gain respect.
When friends take sides, things are getting dirty. Most people have experienced a divorce themselves or they know somebody close by who had a dirty divorce. They will tell you about all the possible negative consequences and they will warn you for all the mistakes that can be made.
No matter if they start blaming and fingerpointing your ex or yourself. It does not help you. Do not apologize. Be careful not to be put into a defensive situation.
You can guide these divorce family and friends away from the fingerpointing. Ask them to take a job in the parenting team, so they can be of real help. If they do not want to help or if they keep on playing the blame game, go and spend your time and energy with those who do support you and your family.
Return to the Child Friendly Divorce Self Assessment page.