â€œDonâ€™t stop inviting divorced friends to parties just because they are single and call them on holidays even years after the divorce is over,â€ said Ms. Englund.
When Amy Armstrong, a family therapist in Columbus, Ohio, went through her own divorce, finding friends able to listen without turning her story into drama â€” or gossip â€” was a lifeline. â€œA supportive person helps you see yourself in a bright next chapter, not someone who urges you to complain or stay in victim mode,â€ she said.
StÃ©phane Jutras, who lives in Canada and hosts the podcast â€œDivorced Dad Diaries,â€ divorced in 2018. When he talked about it with friends, he noticed they became more intimate and opened up about relationship issues that they had previously kept guarded. â€œAs I shared, they felt safe to talk about their marital problems,â€ Mr. Jutras said.
In sourcing a team of supporters, Susan Pease Gadoua, a therapist in Sonoma County, Calif., who also runs ongoing divorce support groups, recommends turning to people unafraid of strong feelings, or the time it may take to process them. â€œPeople have a two-to-four-month bandwidth for dealing with othersâ€™ pain, but recovering from divorce in less than six months is fast,â€ she said.
For those who question their conversational skills, good listening does not necessitate nonstop chatter. Watching a movie together can be greatly comforting, as can talking while hiking. â€œDonâ€™t trash talk, cheerlead or problem solve,â€ said Abby Medcalf, a psychologist in Berkeley, Calif., and the founder of the podcast â€œRelationships Made Easy.â€
â€œConnect with the feeling, not the situation,â€ said Dr. Medcalf. â€œAsk, whatâ€™s making you the saddest, the angriest, the most fearful?â€