How can I help divorce?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5389
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

How can I help divorce?

Post by SamBee » 14 Dec 2018, 14:27

(For the record I am unmarried, so this is not advice for myself. I don't relate to this in the sense that I have lived it.)

A friend of mine is separated and getting a divorce next year. He had only seen his children twice in the course of a year. They are very young. His wife has moved out of town and I have seen her once at a funeral though not spoken to her.

I have helped him as I could. I have even taught him breathing exercises for stress. He had no clue about them.

How do you recommend I handle this? I have tried to help him as have others but I need to do so that it isn't too much of a cost to myself.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

User avatar
mom3
Posts: 3986
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by mom3 » 14 Dec 2018, 15:42

Ask him if he wants to hang out.

Getting dinner or going to a movie once a month. Stuff like that. A divorce hurts worse than death. He may even reject offers at this point. If he does, just keep saying hi.

Depending on how comfortable you are, you could ask him directly if there are ways you could support him. We often forget to ask.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Minyan Man
Posts: 1721
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by Minyan Man » 14 Dec 2018, 18:39

Be careful that he knows that you are helping as a friend. He could interpret your actions as
romantic gestures.

User avatar
PazamaManX
Posts: 25
Joined: 24 Nov 2018, 03:21

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by PazamaManX » 14 Dec 2018, 23:20

mom3 wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 15:42
Ask him if he wants to hang out.

Getting dinner or going to a movie once a month. Stuff like that. A divorce hurts worse than death. He may even reject offers at this point. If he does, just keep saying hi.
I second this. I've never had to deal with a divorce and I never plan to. But I do know that when someone's world crashes around them, there's nothing better than a good, solid, understanding friend. I don't know how close of a friend you are to him, but just the act of being a friend can be an immense comfort and doesn't have to cost anything unless you want it to.
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness, even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7229
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Dec 2018, 04:55

I had an engagement break up when I was in my 20's. Man, that hurt.

A friend of mine did exactly the above -- called me and invited me out. She just listened to whatever I wanted to talk about. After it was over, and there were no new happenings, she then trained me not to talk about it. It was kind, the way she did it. It was to help me stop dwelling on it. I think this was also easier on her too -- to not hear my dredging up the same old, same old all the time. So, that might help you if he tends to do this.

With a divorce, I believe the events and triggers for unhappiness are ongoing, so he may want to talk about it as new events happen, but I wouldn't bring it up. Help him fill the holes with new activities and friendships.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

User avatar
dande48
Posts: 1443
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35
Location: Wherever there is danger

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by dande48 » 15 Dec 2018, 17:46

It's a very painful thing to go through.

If he needs to talk about it, be willing to listen. But if he doesn't bring up the divorce, his ex, or his kids, I would avoid bringing it up. Focus on life beyond divorce. For all the good marriage does, it absolutely strains and sometimes even eliminates the social support outside of the marriage. He's going to need to build up a solid support network, ASAP. Find a group on Meetup, with a solid interest both of you share (Improv? Book club? Dungeons and Dragons?). Take a class in Taekwondo. Maybe, when he's ready, get him signed up on one of those dating websites; not to jump into a new relationship, but to build up friendship and frankly... find people who he can talk to who have gone through a similar experience (many of them have).

There's life beyond divorce, and hope, and happiness. He's just got to make it through this incredibly painful hump.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 7140
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by Heber13 » 17 Dec 2018, 16:42

Having gone through divorce, I'd say I learned that it is not an easy thing and there is so much emotional turmoil around the whole thing...and I have also learned how differently people handle it. I just remember my lawyer telling me..."brace yourself, this will be the hardest thing you will ever have to go through." ...and then it got way worse than I imagined.

I would suggest you think of how you would treat him in any other life situation. What if he lost his job and was depressed? What if he got a health diagnosis that would change his future? What if he lost his testimony in the church?

If you view him as the same person, before the divorce as after having to go through it, just that he has to go through something that can't be avoided, it helps the person see you care about them even while they will be going through something that has no good outcome.

Maybe another thing you tell him...50% of marriages (or whatever the real statistic is...) go through this...and other survive. It is survivable. It just sucks.

Sometimes in life, we don't get a choice between good or bad outcomes...just bad outcomes or worse outcomes. It will be a change, and it will require him to redefine his life and sometimes his own view of himself.

Having a friend there to continue to reassure him he is the same dude, and will get through it one way or another, is really helpful when your world is turned upside down. Remind him of the good things you like about his friendship with you. He'll need some positive thoughts.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

User avatar
LDS_Scoutmaster
Posts: 267
Joined: 21 Jan 2015, 23:30
Location: SoCal

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster » 20 Dec 2018, 09:24

It's going to be a long process, but lots of good advice so far. Be a friend and allow some dialogue, it will be 'emotional vomit' as I've heard it referred to where all these emotions and turmoil come to the surface. But after a while it's best to stop talking about it, after some healing (weeks months?) The more we continue to dredge up the past and repeat it, we relive it and never heal. A relative who went through a fairly nasty divorce years ago is still in the pain of it, she's allowed herself to be a victim and worse allowed herself to continue to be a victim and prisoner of her own accord. There will be a time to move on from it.
It's good that you are wanting to help, many people would not want to get involved.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.

User avatar
SamBee
Posts: 5389
Joined: 14 Mar 2010, 04:55

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by SamBee » 21 Dec 2018, 05:11

Here's the lowdown. I meet him once a week, and I have told him he needs to develop some hobbies because he mostly talks about the separation which is wearing for him and everyone else. Some people have little to do with him as a result. He's very stubborn in some ways and doesn't realize that hobbies may help his mental health and take his mind off this occasionally.

I am a better writer than him so I have helped him draft or improve letters, or to write them in a way which is not misinterpreted or gets him into trouble.

But yes, through all this I am a bit of a minor victim of this too. Nowhere near the same extent as him of course, but as well as losing a friend in his wife, but I have been emotionally affected by some of what I see. I have been upset by the fact he has only seen his children twice in a year and seeing his home trashed by her. I'm not saying this guy is blameless, but it is curious seeing his wife acting as the innocent party when she has been far more vindictive.

I have to step back sometimes, but not turn away.

There isn't a third party in this divorce i.e. adultery, so that makes things easier.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

User avatar
Heber13
Posts: 7140
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: How can I help divorce?

Post by Heber13 » 22 Dec 2018, 01:34

SamBee wrote:
21 Dec 2018, 05:11
I have to step back sometimes, but not turn away
that's the right way to handle it.

You can't really fix it for him. You can just be there and minister by sharing what you think will help him get through it. He has to get through it his way, and he will one way or another. But having a helpful outside perspective will help him greatly.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Post Reply