December 19, 2021 — 12:01 PM
As if going through a divorce isn’t difficult enough, you also have to factor in how you’ll break the news to your friends and family. And with the holidays right around the corner, couples currently going through a divorce may indeed be having those conversations soon.
So, to make things a bit easier, we asked therapist and relationship expert Ken Page, LCSW, for his tips when it comes to telling people you’re getting divorced:
1. Give yourself patience and grace.
According to Page, the first thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that divorce is no easy undertaking, and so you’ll want to offer yourself compassion, dignity, and patience. Don’t feel like you have to be tougher, or move on quicker, he says, and if that means you hold off on telling people right away, that is OK.
“Do it when you’re ready. Do it in the way that’s easiest for you. Do it in the way that feels most organic and truthful,” he notes.
2. Don’t feel like you have to tell everyone, especially in person.
When you do feel ready to open up about your divorce, Page says, that doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone. “Protect yourself from those people who will not respect your boundaries.”
In some cases, he notes, you can send a brief text, email, or voicemail letting someone know you’re getting divorced but aren’t ready to talk about it just yet and ask them to respect your privacy.
“Decide for yourself who deserves the gift of your deeper disclosures,” Page says, noting to take care of yourself first.
3. Lean on your true friends.
Great relationships start with great sleep.*
And last but certainly not least, Page says this is a time when you’ll want to be in the company of those who are the safest, the most nonjudgmental, and the most accepting. “Those folks are your gold,” he says.
You’re probably not going to want to go into much detail with everyone you tell about your divorce, so having a handful of trusted friends or family members to talk to can make all the difference.
“Talk about the things you most need to talk about with those people who are safest,” Page says. He adds that while divorce can bring about a lot of pain, “hopefully there will be so much growth as well, and you can facilitate that by caring for yourself in the deepest ways, by sharing with the people who are safest, and by getting whatever kind of support helps you the most.”
Breaking the news of your divorce is not only difficult, but it can bring up a lot of emotions you’re still actively processing. That said, Page notes, you’ll likely end up with a deeper sense of the people in your life who you can really trust.
“This will be a profound journey of growth,” he adds. “Not one that you hoped for or asked for, but one that will open up new doors to a new future in time.”
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