Spreading the News

When you are announcing the news of a divorce to friends and family, you may - unless you have been in a state of open warfare for some years - be confronted with shock, disbelief and denial.

None of these reactions will help you at a very difficult emotional time, but you can ease the pain by following these basic guidelines.

- Firstly, be the one to spread the news - don't let it permeate your social circle through gossip and innuendo. Close friends will be offended that you haven't taken them into your confidence, and may as a result take up an argumentative, and oppositional, stance.

- Wherever possible, let people know in person. They will respect the importance of the occasion, and may actually listen to what you are saying.

- For people that you cannot tell in person, an email or brief note should suffice. To counter any possible incredulity, it is always wise to state clearly that the divorce is a difficult decision and a last resort, and to stress that every possible effort has been made to save the marriage (this may pre-empt well-meaning attempts to persuade you to try again).

- If children are involved, it is wise - if possible - to explain that an agreement about visitation rights, access and so on has been reached. Understandably, children will be the focus of many people's concern, and it helps to demonstrate that they are also your number one priority.

- Be prepared for opposition, and tolerate it. Unless your close circle believed your marriage was a disastrous mistake in the first place, you will have to accept that they do not want to see it collapse.

- Stand firm, reiterate your conviction that this is the only possible course of action, and try not to be upset by other people's reactions. They have your best interests at heart, but no amount of Geneva Conventions will have any effect on the recriminations, hurts and lies that whirl around the painful end to a once-happy marriage.

 

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