Sponsored by amicable

Amicable logoSeparating from a partner can bring a myriad of different emotions, with couples often experiencing grief, loss or even a sense of relief. 

Seeing family or friends going through such a difficult process can leave you feeling helpless, and you may be worried about doing or saying the wrong thing. However, support and advice from loved ones can make an enormous difference to those who are separating, so it’s vital to do what you can to show that you’re there for them. 

Knowing the best ways to do this isn’t always easy, especially as everyone’s circumstances can be so different. Here, we look at six ways you might be able to help family or friends going through a separation, so that they can move forward feeling supported and confident about building a future on their own.

You can find out more about ways to help friends or family who are separating in this guide produced by our partner amicable, a trusted legal service for separation and divorce.

If you have a friend or family member who may want to explore their options, they can book a free, no-obligation call with amicable – who specialise in helping couples to separate amicably.

It can be difficult to know where to start with the practical, legal, and financial aspects of separating, so amicable are offering a free-to-download pre-divorce checklist for all Rest Less members, which can be shared with anyone who you think might benefit.

1. Check they are safe

Your loved one’s safety is paramount as they separate, so your starting point should be to ensure that they aren’t subject to either emotional or physical abuse by their former partner, and that they aren’t doing anything to harm themselves. 

This can be a really difficult subject to broach, so make sure you approach it gently and at a time and place they feel at ease. Give them the opportunity to open up, for example, by telling them you’ve observed that their behaviour has changed, or that you’ve noticed injuries and are worried about them. You may want to provide them with contact details for resources that can help and let them know that you’re there for them whenever they need you.

2. Don’t try to solve their problems

Friends or family who are going through a separation aren’t generally looking for someone to offer solutions to their problems, and instead may just want someone to listen to them with empathy. By all means offer to help in any way you can, but trying to push them down a particular route because you think it’s best for them may just add to the pressures they’re under.

It’s also a good idea to avoid referring to others’ experiences of separation and divorce, unless they’ve specifically asked to hear them. Often they may just need you as a sounding board, and may not want to hear about how other couples have managed their separations.

Separate amicably, without solicitors

amicable is the UK’s highest-rated divorce service, specialising in working with separating couples. Unlike solicitors, they offer fixed-fee services that include VAT to help couples separate amicably and negotiate a fair financial agreement.

Rest Less members can book a free 30-minute consultation.

Book a free 30-minute consultation

3. Provide practical support

Sometimes it’s not saying things but doing things which can be the most helpful to someone who is separating from their partner. The chances are they will have lots of people talking to them about their own experiences of separation and offering them advice on how best to deal with their split, when actually they might need more practical support instead.

Ask if there is anything useful you can do to help make life easier, for example, such as helping with the school runs, or inviting them over to you for lunch or dinner so they don’t have to cook. Alternatively, you may be able to help them with any paperwork that needs to be completed or provide them with contact details of services which may be able to support them through the separation process.

If you know friends or family who are looking to separate amicably, they may want to book a free, no-obligation initial call with our partners at amicable to find out more.

4. Make children the priority

Whilst it is natural to assume divorce or separation will have a negative impact on children and teens – research has shown that it is conflict and parental absence that actually damage children rather than the divorce per se. An amicable divorce can give children the best opportunity to navigate a split successfully. You may imagine that younger children are the worst affected, and indeed, that may be the case, but teenagers and older children can feel their sense of identity take a hit at this sensitive time so it’s important to be willing to talk to them and involve them in conversations about their future and how they are feeling. Anyone with teenagers knows that this can be quite a challenge but being present and willing to engage can be enough to make them feel they can raise issues when they are ready.

If you have children who are contemporaries of those whose parents are separating, see what you can do to help them – whether it’s simply having them over for the day, or planning something fun to distract them from what’s going on at home. Always check with the parents first, but you’ll probably find that they’re grateful that both they and their children are able to have a bit of breathing space whilst they are separating.

If you have a friend or family member who would like additional support around speaking to children about separation or co-parenting, they can book a free 30-minute call with our partners at amicable. 

Separate amicably, without solicitors

amicable is the UK’s highest-rated divorce service, specialising in working with separating couples. Unlike solicitors, they offer fixed-fee services that include VAT to help couples separate amicably and negotiate a fair financial agreement.

Rest Less members can book a free 30-minute consultation.

Book a free 30-minute consultation

5. Are they looking after themselves?

Often people who are separating become so consumed with the process that they forget to look after themselves. If you notice that your friend or family member who is separating is losing weight, or looking exhausted, gently suggest that they may want to get more rest if possible,or eat some meals with them so that they don’t become physically drained.

If they have any particular hobbies or interests that they enjoy, it may be worth encouraging them to keep these up, if only to provide themselves with a distraction from thinking about the separation.

6. Keep checking in

Often couples who are separating are on the receiving end of a flurry of support when they first announce that they are splitting up, only to see this dwindle as time goes by.

Keep checking in even once the dust has settled, as this may be when feelings of grief and loneliness are at their strongest. Even just letting them know with a text or message that you’re there to talk or just listen if they need you can be a huge comfort. It’s also important to acknowledge that it may take time for them to want to be sociable again, especially if this involves mixing with couples that they were both friends with. Be conscious of this and don’t take it personally if they’d prefer just to have a coffee with you on your own whilst they adjust to their new circumstances.

Free pre-separation & divorce checklist

It’s difficult to know where to start with the practical, legal, and financial aspects of separating. amicable is the trusted legal service for couples to manage financial negotiations and the legal process. Download your free checklist.

Download your free pre-divorce checklist

Finally…

Separating from a partner doesn’t have to be a traumatic event, and support from family and friends can be invaluable in making the process less punishing. If you’re struggling to know how to help, often just asking what you can do is the best approach. Don’t be offended if they push you away initially either. It’s vital to respect their privacy and boundaries, but also to let them know that you’re there for them whenever they’re ready.

If you have a friend or family member who’s looking for more guidance on coping with the emotional side of divorce, amicable has plenty of resources on managing your mental well-being when separating.