Divorces are on the rise in Singapore, and one is likely to see a close friend or relative go through one. Without a steady job, and with the added responsibility of children, a divorce can quickly become emotionally traumatic. The breakdown and dissolution of a marriage is the stage where a loved one is at their most vulnerable. Supporting them in this phase includes helping them find the right divorce lawyer, and helping them feel strong and loved. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Allow and encourage them to feel their emotions
Your friend will be a bundle of emotions during a divorce. From mood swings, emotional outburst, to recurrent insomnia, and even refusal to talk, you will have to deal with it all. Most people tend to try to intellectualize the emotion suffered by their friends. This is done by talking of other opportunities, offering temporarily satisfying words of wisdom and the like.
Do not ask your friend to stop feeling a certain emotion and escape from it by using certain activities. Some people use short-term emotion avoidance tactics, which only prolongs the traumatic phase. Instead, allow them to feel their emotions and help them to avoid false healing. Examples of short-term emotion avoidance tactics are resorting to alcohol/drugs, excessive eating, too much of escapism, or spending time with children to feel better.
Steps to help them
To support someone undergoing a divorce, one will have to continuously reassure the former of their love and reliability. Ask them to take it all out in the beginning to start off afresh once the healing begins. Since divorce lawyers are professionals and can’t offer emotional support, you will have to do it.
It is also important to be a good listener. Help with household chores and even offer to babysit. If you are afraid your friend might be unstable during the initial phase, ask the divorce lawyer if you can be present in the consultation. Some ways to help them feel better are:
• Restart an old habit. Start watching movies together on weekends, or cooking at each other’s places on alternate days. Visit old haunts to help them feel free and positive.
• Offer paid work to help them feel financially backed up. This will offer both financial stability and reassurance of their skills and value.
• Take the responsibility of making them eat right and exercise. Wellness is central to feeling optimistic and getting on the road to recovery.
• If your friend is of the opposite sex, take them out on a date. Your company will make them feel wanted and valuable.
• Make appointments and coordinate with their clients on their behalf.
Avoid offering legal advice
Even if you have undergone a divorce yourself, avoid offering legal advice. Instead, channelize the hurt and anger you feel for your friend into finding a good divorce lawyer for them. Only a good attorney can help your friend with issues like alimony, child custody and support. Research and find the right lawyer in Singapore.