Nothing can prepare you for the hurt and devastation of going through a divorce. People who say they had an amicable divorce are lying in my opinion. There is nothing easy about uprooting a family and starting over again.
If you find yourself with a girlfriend who is going through a divorce, the most important thing you can do is stand by her. If you’re not sure how to help or encourage her, here are 4 ways to come alongside her and support her.
Don’t ask her if she needs help. Just show up.
No one likes to ask for help. And your girlfriend probably feels like she’s always asking for help. Help when something breaks around the house. Someone to watch her kids when she has an appointment. Help with life in general. Try to anticipate what she needs and when that’s not possible, just show up. I had friends randomly mow my yard and take things to goodwill for me this summer when I was moving, and it meant the world to me!
A hot meal you don’t have to cook is always appreciated, especially for a newly single mom who is juggling all the things. If you don’t cook or don’t have time, there’s no shame in bringing over carryout! I personally struggle to cook for myself on days I don’t have the kids. Even if you don’t bring her a meal, make sure your friend is taking care of herself and eating!
Invite her to things, but don’t be offended if she says no.
Holidays are especially hard for single moms. If they are alone, they might not want to hang out with someone else’s family, but they still appreciate being invited. And if they have their kids on a holiday it can still be hard to celebrate without others. That being said, don’t forget about her, and invite her to spend the day with you.
Check-in often and always be ready to listen.
Sometimes a quick text or Marco Polo message is the only adult interaction your friend has all day. She won’t always want to talk about deep things, and that’s OK. Just being there and listening to her vent is all she needs. Refrain from sharing your opinion, unless she asks for it. She doesn’t need answers or solutions. She does need someone to listen and support her.
Weekends are especially hard in my experience. If your girlfriend has young kids weekends can be long and lonely without a partner to help. Offer to watch her kids while she runs errands or come over after the kids are in bed to hang out. Weekends when she doesn’t have the kids can feel long and lonely too for the opposite reason. Even if you can’t hang out, touch base with her and remind her she’s not alone.
If you have a girlfriend who is going through a divorce, she needs her tribe of girlfriends now more than ever. It’s not about choosing sides or debating who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about standing by her and supporting her through it all.