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What Not to Say to Someone Getting Divorced

Andreas Rentz/Jemal Countess/Getty Images Entertainment

I have three sets of couples in my life that are either in the process of getting divorced, on the brink of divorce and someone else who split with their partner of 15 plus years. It was sad in one instance, amicable in another and a bit acrimonious in the other. With so many different situations, what do you say or not say to someone when you find out they’re getting a divorce?

“I’m Sorry”

When we hear the news, it’s almost like a reflex to say we’re sorry, but if they’re happy or relieved that the other person is going to be out of their life, then there’s nothing to be sorry about. If they’re upset, we could just open a wound they don’t want to pick. Instead, ask if they want to talk about it or just let them know that if they need someone to talk to, you’re there for them.

“What Happened?”

If we didn’t see it coming, we’re probably curious about why they’re splitting, but we’re just going to sound insensitive and gossipy. It also sounds like we’re suggesting they did something wrong. Again, suggest if they want to talk, they can come to you. Offer up a cup of coffee and conversation any time and when they call to take you up on the offer, keep your word.

“Couldn’t You Just Stick With It?”

Many times people stay together just for the sake of the kids or money or some other reason and end up more miserable than they would have been if they had just left. Divorce is the absolutely last resort and when it happens, they have already tried to stick with it.

“__________ is such a __________!”

Your friend and their partner were once in love, so it’s probably not a good idea to trash their ex too much. Who knows? Maybe they’re still hung up on them, so keep any issues you have with their ex to yourself. If they do end up getting back together, anything personal attacks you may have made against them could come back to haunt you.

“There Are Other Fish in the Sea”

I had a breakup where I was just south of suicidal and that was one of the first things people would say to me when they found out we split. That was pretty much the last thing I wanted to hear. We just broke up 15 minutes ago. Can I please have time to grieve? Plus that, and if the next breakup would be as bad as the one I was going through, I was not about to get into that situation again.

How Do You Help Your Friend Get Through a Breakup?

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