Getting divorced is not something you should keep to yourself, even though you may be embarrassed. You may feel that you can handle everything right now but there will be times when you’ll need to call on the support of others. But when is the right time to break the news?
Although it may seem a good idea to tell others as soon as possible, this can cause its own problems. Everyone will have an opinion either on you or your spouse and want to share these with you. Listening to all this on top of everything else you’re going through can make matters worse for you emotionally. All of this advice, although well-meaning, may leave you even more confused about what you should do.
So what is the right way to handle “coming out” about your upcoming divorce?
First, find a time that’s right for both of you
While you —or your spouse— is ready to break the news it’s something that should be a joint decision wherever possible. This is something that needs to be talked through so you are prepared for the questions and on the same page. Obviously, this is not an option for everyone, and naturally you will both have close friends whom you have likely confided in.
If you have children, they should come first and ideally spoken to together; no matter what happens to your marriage you are both still their parents.
Children First : If you are a parent, your children are your number one concern and so, you need to break the news to them first. Otherwise, there is chance that they hear the news from somewhere else and resent you for this for many years. When breaking the news to a child it’s important to keep any of the “who done what” out of the conversation. Your child is only interested in how their life will be affected after the divorce. Will they continue live in the same house? Will schools and routines still stay the same? Will they get to see both parents?
All of these things are more important and should be played up in the conversation. This is why you and your spouse should ideally have spoken in advance. Also reassure your chil/children that’s it’s OK to talk about your divorce with their friends. They need their support groups too and shouldn’t have to carry around your separation as a secret.
Family Members: How you go about this is different from one person and family member to another. Some people go through the family member by member while others may feel that when the family are together is the best time. Depending on relationships, it can be beneficial to have both partners present than only one. This shows that both of you are sure about the upcoming divorce and cuts down on “partner bashing” and taking sides. If one partner doesn’t feel that they can face the others family then it should be made clear that discussing the absent partners faults when breaking the news is off the discussion table. It should also be made clear that your news should not be broadcast on Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites until at least all family members have been told, and ideally friends too.
Friends : If you’ve got close friends they’ll probably already be aware that this decision was being made but it’s important to let them all know anyway. Like previously try to steer the conversation away from any partner bashing or “I told you so” conversations; it doesn’t do anybody any good. It’s also important that friends shouldn’t need to pick sides and pledge allegiance to one partner or another. Believe it or not, they can remain friends with both of you.
Your children’s teachers, doctor, coaches, etc:— It’s best to tell your child’s teachers, coaches, childcare, etc. that your family is going through a divorce. This can help prepare them for any conversation of divorce that may come up or help explain why your child’s behavior suddenly changes. There may also need to be new preparations to be made for child collection, living arrangements etc. that weren’t there before such as ensuring both ex-spouses are kept up to date with any events or happenings.
Putting some thought in to how the news of your divorce gets out and agreeing it with your spouse can make a big difference in how the news is received. This is an important part of a divorce that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and if you and your partner are reasonably amicable, it can help set a “team work” thought process in place in terms of getting through the divorce proceedings.