11 things you shouldn’t say to someone who’s getting divorced

Middle eastern young couple sitting on couch after a fight. Sad indian woman sitting with hand on head after quarrel with boyfriend at home. Angry latin couple ignoring each other on the sofa, having relationship troubles.
Middle eastern young couple sitting on couch after a fight. Sad indian woman sitting with hand on head after quarrel with boyfriend at home. Angry latin couple ignoring each other on the sofa, having relationship troubles.
10:43am, Mon 04 Jan 2021
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Known as ‘Divorce Day’, the first Monday after the festive break is traditionally the day when solicitors are inundated with enquiries from people looking to end their marriage.

No matter how long they’ve been with their spouse (Zoe Kravitz for instance, has reportedly split from husband of 18 months, Karl Glusman), a person who’s decided to leave their marriage needs support from friends and family.

Here are some things you should never say to someone going through divorce…

hands of wife and husband signing divorce documents or premarital agreement

1. ‘You’re better off alone’

Even if someone was in an unhappy relationship and they were the one to initiate the divorce, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to suddenly be much happier.

2. ‘It’s just the same as a break-up’

Imagine all the pain and stress of a relationship break-up, but with potentially months of legal wrangling, not to mention the cost of solicitors’ fees and, potentially, having to find a new place to live. Divorce isn’t identical to a break-up, so don’t downplay the impact.

3. ‘You should never have got married’

Even if you had your doubts about the compatibility of the couple when they tied the knot, now is not the time to reveal those doubts.

4. ‘We all saw it coming’

Same again. You may have thought the writing was on the wall for some time, but divorce can still come as a huge shock for an individual. Telling them you knew it was going to happen is insensitive and unnecessary.

5. ‘Half of marriages end in divorce’

This isn’t the time to bust out divorce statistics either. Just because a lot of marriages don’t survive doesn’t lessen the agony for someone who thought they’d found the love of their life.

6. ‘You should get back together’

No matter how close you are to a person, there’s no way of really knowing what goes on inside a marriage, even one that seems perfect from the outside. If your friend or relation has decided to get a divorce, support their decision.

7. ‘You should stay together for the kids’

Similarly, don’t presume it would be better for children if their parents stayed together – the opposite might actually be true.

8. ‘You’ll feel better soon’

After saying ‘I do’ in front of all their loved ones and imagining they’d spend the rest of their life with their spouse, a person facing divorce may have feelings of grief, guilt and shame that last a long time. They will need time to heal and come to terms with the loss.

9. ‘You weren’t married for that long’

In cases where a marriage breaks down after just a few years, or even months, it’s easy to assume a divorce won’t be as difficult, but that’s not necessarily the case.

10. ‘I can set you up on blind dates’

While being positive and looking to the future can be helpful, someone going through a divorce might not want to start dating again for a while. Don’t bombard them with matchmaking suggestions unless they specifically ask for your help.

11. ‘Is it over yet?’

The average divorce takes around six months, but it could be a year or more before it’s finalised, depending on a variety of factors such as money, debts, property and children. The best thing you can do is offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, no matter how long the process takes.

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