How to be a Good Friend During a Divorce

My husband and I got married in our early 30’s but had been dating for 10 years. This means we went to a lot of weddings before ours. I even remember thinking we would never get there. Luckily we made it and our time came, but what happened after our wedding definitely threw us for a loop. You see, many of the friends that were married before us were entering another chapter of their life: divorce. Most were in their thirties and had been married for several years with kids.

We never saw these divorces coming and, unfortunately, got caught in the middle of quite a few. When you are friends with a couple and they divorce, what do you do? My hope is that what I learned from my experiences on what to do and not do will help you if you ever find yourself trying to be a friend during a divorce. 


This seems pretty obvious, but what you need to remember is that listening means listening without inserting yourself. This is not your divorce but will feel like it when you hear what transpired. Things you never knew will be brought to light and you’ll feel for your friend confiding in you.

This will make you want to either say something to the other party or at least judge them with every depth off your soul. You may also find yourself wanting to tell them what they should do. The thing is you didn’t get divorced. This is something profound your friend is going through, and they don’t need any more added drama. They do need someone to hear them out and allow them to vent. Be that person.

Accept the Cycle

I’ll never forget one summer when one of my girlfriends was going through a tough time in her marriage and didn’t know what she was going to do. We sat in the kitchen, and I held her as she cried and asked me why her husband didn’t love her. It was awful and I wanted to do anything to take the pain away. Later that day, she went for a run and came back refreshed with a newfound confidence. She was done feeling this way and knew she wanted a divorce. Fast forward to that night when she decided she had to make it work and fight for her marriage.

This wasn’t the only day it was like this. Little did I know, it would be almost a year and a half before she would discover what she needed to do. That’s just how these go sometimes. It’s hard because you don’t want to see them hurt and just want them to decide on what will make them happy, but you have to realize they have so much to think about. This can’t be a decision to make in one day. So just accept the back and forth will continue and support them.

Don’t Judge

This whole process is tough. Especially when you hear the not so lovely side of people. The thing is, you cannot judge them. You are not an active member of their marriage and the decisions they make may not be yours, but who said you were perfect? We are human and, as humans, we are so very flawed. We don’t always make the best choices and this includes your besties. Remind yourself what you would need from a friend if you were in your friend’s shoes and be that for them.

Watch Your Words

This one hits home. I’ve heard a lot about a lot of relationships and have definitely given my two cents. I told one friend she needed to leave asap. I told another how awful of a person her husband was. What I didn’t think about was the fact that this may not be the end. They still may end up together and what would result knowing all I said to them? Words also travel and did I really want the others to know what I said? These were heat of the moment conversations and words that came from someone who saw a hurting friend, but it doesn’t make it right. You can’t be the person telling your friend what to do nor should you. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against you– be supportive without the daggers.

There is no easy way to navigate how to be a good friend during a divorce. Divorce is ugly, sad, terrifying, and takes a toll on everyone involved. Your friend needs you and is going to continue to need you. Whether they stay and it all works out, they stay and it’s terrible, they leave and regret it, or leave and end up happily ever after, you are in their tribe and that means being what they need when they need it. They’ll let you know and I know you can do it. You’ve got this. 

Do you have any great tips on how to be a friend during a divorce? Trying to avoid becoming part of the statistic yourself? Check this one out: Maintaining Connection During Isolating Times.

Jessica Walter
I am a working mom who left the education world after 7 years to pursue my business career. I work as a product developer at a local insurance company and love it. My husband and sons are my world. We struggled for 3 years with fertility prior to adopting our first son. Later, we really wanted him to have a sibling so pursued IVF using donor embryos (because we firmly believe love makes a family) and were then blessed with our second son. When I’m not working or playing the wife/mom role, I love to run, read, bake, write, and tinker with photography. We all have a story to share and I hope some of my experiences will help others.


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