What Not To Say When A Friend Gets Divorced

girl talk

Or, how not to stick your foot in your mouth when your friend needs you most.

Five years ago, one of my best friends got divorced. Her husband met another woman and left her and their two small boys. Heartbroken and alone, she and her kids moved in with my family while she tried to get her bearings. Oh, did I mention the jerk who left her was my brother?

Until then, I had never seen divorce up close and personal. Most of the people I knew were in seemingly healthy marriages. When my sister-in-law moved in, I honestly imagined that home-cooked meals, some pretty new clothes, a bedroom makeover in feminine florals and oodles of babysitting would get her right back up on her feet. After all, "she'd be better off without him after what he did to her." She was smart, young and pretty. Why was she moping around? "Shake it off." I thought. "Get over it and move on."

But for months, she couldn't eat, sleep or digest what was happening to her. Not only had she lost her husband, she had lost her home, her role as a stay-at-home mom and her confidence.

As the months passed, I grew impatient with her. I wanted her to face life with more courage. When she took a job with a local school district and moved into a new condo with my nephews, I thought, "Wow, it's been almost a year. I hope she snaps out of this soon." But now that I'm divorced, I finally understand how wrong I'd been all along.

Here are some of the stupid things I said, and things that people have said to me that serve no purpose to the newly broken-hearted.

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