After sharing the news with your kids, the next step is to take an inventory of who else needs to know on a need-to-know basis.
Telling Friends, Family, and Co-workers About Your Divorce
This is the stage in which, essentially, your private divorce begins to go public.
Friends and family
Give yourself a little time to process your own feelings. When it’s time, and you feel ready, recognize that many of the same rules applied to your children will overlap in telling friends and family.
For starters, try to have some kind of script or plan in place based on what you feel comfortable sharing. Decide how much you want to share and hold true to your boundaries.
Be prepared for questions, and be prepared for a multitude of interesting reactions. Remember that you don’t have to answer any questions you’re not comfortable answering, and it is OK to let people know that you are still processing it yourself. Stress that you just wanted to share the news with them because their relationship matters to you. Also, avoid negative statements about your spouse and reassure those close to you that you have no intention of asking them to choose sides. Focus on the fact that the marriage itself was a problem, not necessarily your partner.
Like others in your life, decide how much you like to share ahead of time. Remember that you have boundaries, and it is OK to maintain them without fear of losing your job. Although it may go without saying, it is important to ask your colleagues to please respect your confidentiality. You would be surprised how often employers inadvertently let this information leak out, even with the best intentions in mind.
Again, when it comes to telling friends about your divorce, be prepared for questions. For example, if you had to tell your boss, he or she might have concerns about your ability to focus and remain consistent at work. Doing your best to assuage these fears will probably be in your best interest. In relationships with co-workers, it goes without saying that it is important to keep your personal and professional life separate as much as possible. But because we spend so much time at work, these relationships often intertwine. Sometimes our co-workers can provide support for us as well. Check in with your intentions before sharing, and be mindful of any pitfalls resulting from sharing this news.
Coaches, Teachers, Day Care Personnel, etc.
If you have children, you might need to share information with teachers, coaches, possibly school faculty, etc. Try to remember that less is more in situations like this. Only share what you need to to make things smoother for both you and your family. Discussing your situation with school staff and sports staff can be important when you are concerned about the impact the divorce will have on your kids. The primary purpose of sharing this information with them is that they are in a position to monitor the behavior of your child and recognize times when he or she may behave differently as a result of the change in their home life.
Conclusion: Telling Friends About Your Divorce
In all of the above cases, remember that this is your personal news to share and not for others to repeat. Sometimes those around us, even those who love us, need this gentle reminder.
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