Getting a divorce is not an easy decision to make. You may already feel somewhat overwhelmed by your own emotions, and that can make telling family members and friends what happened and dealing with their questions seem impossible.
However, you do have to tell them about your divorce eventually. It can be very anxiety-inducing to think about just how they will respond to the news, but you can have control over the situation by knowing what to say and how to say it. This way, you will be able to communicate just what you want to without leaving room for invasive questions or conflict.
Get Your Thoughts on Paper
It’s always easier to say just what you mean when you think about it beforehand. If you do not prepare what you will say ahead of time, you may end up saying more than necessary. Write down the basics of your decision to avoid oversharing. It’s much harder to get caught off-guard when you are already thinking about what others may ask, including the common questions below.
. When did you make the decision to divorce?
. What caused it?
. Who decided to get divorced first?
. How do your children feel?
. What are you going to do?
Think of short and simple answers to those questions. You may not want to give explanations to everyone, but when you know what to say in the event someone asks, it’s easier to avoid getting nervous and oversharing.
Match Your Message to Your Audience
Once you know what you will say, you will have to tailor that message to each person you talk to. You won’t say the same thing to your friends as you would say to your boss or your children. Decide what you want to share with each person in your life, and select the words based on their age and their relationship with you.
Avoid talking negatively about your ex to other people as much as possible. This could come back to haunt you during the divorce. In the case of family and friends, speaking negatively about your ex can make them feel pressured into taking sides. For your children, when you talk negatively about their other parent, it can make them feel defensive, upset, angry and guilty for loving that other parent. This is very harmful and should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t take it personally
Chances are that some of the people you talk to will have something to say about the divorce. Everyone has different ideas, so don’t be shocked if someone looks down on or disapproves of the divorce. Getting angry won’t help matters, so instead of reacting that way, move the conversation in another direction or politely tell them you don’t wish to discuss the divorce any further. It’s important to remember that their comments are their own views and do not reflect poorly on you or your decision.
Consider talking to people about your divorce one on one instead of posting it on social media. It’s easier for people to comment on social media without thinking first, and you may find yourself overwhelmed if you get an avalanche of messages and comments about the divorce at once.
Right after you decide to divorce, the only people who usually need to know right away are your kids. You are not obligated to tell everyone about the divorce at once, so wait until you are ready to do so and be prepared for those conversations. Your own well-being and the well-being of your kids needs to be the priority here.