Tips for Navigating Other People’s Reactions to Your Divorce
People will have their own emotions about your divorce, and they will inevitably have reactions to your divorce. In fact, people have such fear about the impact that their divorce will have on the people they care about that it’s one of the things that they get most “stuck” on when deciding whether to divorce. When you’re the one initiating a divorce, it’s important to recognize that the people you care about may have various emotional reactions to your decision. Here are some tips to help you prepare for and handle other people’s responses.
Choose Your Focus
How people choose to respond to the decision to end a marriage determines the type of divorce and the future they will have. You get to choose where you put your focus. You can either (1) focus on bitterness, revenge, or helplessness, or (2) come from a position of strength, empathy, and respect.
Confidence in Your Decision to Divorce
Making the decision to divorce is hard. If you’ve taken the time to evaluate your feelings, thoughts, and options, you can be confident that your decision to end your marriage is not just a reaction to anger, hurt, or unhappiness. Do not judge or evaluate the merits of your decision based on other people’s emotional reactions — positive or negative.
Read: Control & Divorce
You Aren’t Responsible for or in Control of Other People’s Reactions to Your Divorce
Understand that it’s natural for others to have their own emotional responses. You aren’t responsible for or in control of other people’s emotions — or their reactions to those emotions. Your job is to treat and communicate with others in a manner you can be proud of, not to try to manage or fix their emotions. Also, give yourself permission to prioritize your own well-being — including setting boundaries.
Communicate with Empathy and Honesty
When sharing or discussing your decision with others, approach the conversations with empathy and honesty. Express your feelings and reasons for the divorce without blaming or criticizing your partner. Shre that you carefully considered your decision.
Everyone processes emotions differently and at their own pace. Some people may need time to adjust to the news of your divorce. Be patient and understanding with their reactions, but, again, if necessary, be assertive in establishing healthy boundaries.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Some people may try to take sides or offer unsolicited advice about your divorce. Sometimes that includes opinions about whether you should get divorced. Other times, someone will share their own opinions about what you should want in your divorce in terms of custody, alimony, property division, or alimony, etc. Remember, this is your life and your divorce. If you find yourself getting drawn into drama, it’s essential to set boundaries. This includes letting others know what kind of support you need — including if it’s simply listening, respecting your decision, or providing practical assistance.
Your Divorce Support Structure
Consider a therapist without any emotional skin in the game who can provide a safe space for you to express your own emotions and concerns during this process. A therapist can also help you develop skills to navigate other people’s reactions.
Divorce can be emotionally draining, so it’s crucial to prioritize self-care. Find and make time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax.
Read: Self Care & Divorce
Focus on Your Future
Remember — this is your decision for your life. Instead of dwelling on other people’s emotions or reactions, focus on your own personal growth and the positive changes you want to make in your life. Remember, you decided to end your marriage to create a healthier and happier future for yourself.
Divorce can be a challenging experience, and it’s normal to encounter various reactions from others. By prioritizing self-care, seeking support, and communicating with empathy, you can navigate these reactions and move forward on your journey with greater resilience and self-assurance.