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How to handle it when friends get divorced

When your girlfriend is getting divorced and you barely knew her husband (or didn’t like him), you give her a shoulder to cry on, take her shopping and join in bashing her soon-to-be ex. But what happens when you are friends with both parties in the splitting couple? That’s when things can get complicated.

Divorce papersBe supportive to both

Divorce isn’t pretty and it’s rarely simple. No matter if it’s an amicable split or not, feelings of anger and betrayal often come out in the weeks and months after the divorce is filed. If you are good friends to both sides in a divorce, you have to be supportive to both parties. Check in with them often and lend an ear. Help one of them transition to a new home, if necessary. Give them space if they need it, but always be clear that you aren’t their to judge or take sides. You can be supportive of both of them.

Don’t get caught in the middle

It’s definitely complicated when you are good friends with both the husband and the wife getting divorced. You don’t want to feel like a double agent, choose one friend over the other or get caught in the middle. They’ll want to talk to you about all the gory details of the breakup, but it’s probably best you avoid discussing the specifics. Tell each party something such as: “I will certainly keep anything you tell me in confidence, but I honestly don’t feel comfortable talking about _____ in a bad way. I’d like to be here for both of you as you go through this difficult time.” Stay objective and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the juicy details about who did what to whom.

Offer to lend a hand

One way you can support both people who are getting divorced is to help out with specific tasks. Do they need someone to babysit or to run their errands? By keeping things task specific and doing something for each party, you can’t get caught in the middle. If one person ends up asking you to do more than the other, reach out to the other spouse and ask what they need. For couples with kids, offer to help out with the children — that is something that you can do for both of them that they’ll really appreciate.

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