Going Public with Your Divorce Part 2- Keeping Damages at a Minimum
You’ve told the children, you’ve discussed the timing with your spouse, and you’ve filed the papers. Now it is time to tell your family, friends, and anyone else who needs to know.
Here are a couple of suggestions for arranging to tell the news, as well as a few reminders of people who should know:
- Tell your family – This may be just a few at a time, or everyone at once. But, whatever you do, don’t tell your family at a festive gathering like a holiday. Pick a time and place that is comfortable for you and your family. If at all possible, go to your families together. If one spouse is present only, it doesn’t show a united front and may appear that both parties are not sure about the divorce. Also, with both spouses together, it eliminates the inevitable picking sides and bashing the other spouse. If circumstances surrounding the divorce don’t allow for this, then make sure to demonstrate that discussing the other spouse’s faults are off limits. Also, in this day and age of technology, there is one word of warning; stay off of social networking sites. This news does not need to be broadcast willy-nilly for the world to see. Your family deserves a personal visit. They had a stake in your marriage, too.
- Tell your friends – Friends are very often lost to divorce. If you take into consideration this delicate balance, you’ll understand why it is important to talk to your friends together. You don’t want your friends to feel like they have to choose sides, and they’ll feel less likely to have to when you’re together. Be open with your friends about your decision to divorce without going into sordid details surrounding the break up. Most friends already have enough information anyway. If you are comfortable with your decision to divorce, your friends are more likely to feel the same way. Just like telling your family, you’ll want to do so in a casual gathering with both you and your spouse present. This eliminates the possibility of spouse-bashing and reinforces the united front; and the fact that you want to remain friends even after the divorce.
- Tell teachers, doctors, coaches, pastors, etc. – Don’t forget the delicate issue of your kids’ school, daycare, or other connections. Depending on the age of the children, they may start talking about the divorce right after you tell them, so be prepared. Arrange face-to-face meetings immediately with teachers, pastors, and other adults in your child’s life so they can be prepared for changes in your child’s behavior. Of course, there may be other considerations such as transportation, separate living arrangements, and other eventualities that need to be discussed.
You will eventually have to let the outside world in on your decision to divorce. When and how you choose to break the news can make a big difference in the outcome. Put as much time and thought into breaking the news as you did in the decision to get a divorce in the first place. This is a part of the process and needs to be given ample attention and time for the sake of everyone involved.
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