Divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience for all parties involved. Families have to deal with new living arrangements, new residences, new money woes, and if children are involved, child custody arrangements. Those on the periphery may be especially curious about “whys,” “whats,” “wheres,” and “hows” — Why did you separate? What happened? Where will you live? How will you manage financially?
Curiosity is a normal human reaction to drama or trauma and explains why traffic slows down considerably on the interstate when an accident occurs despite no lanes being blocked. We simply desire to make sense of the situation to resolve it in our own minds.
Some people may feel obligated to give inquiring friends and family some explanations. To others, unloading the details and their frustrations may feel therapeutic. In the early stages of divorce, you're probably so emotionally raw that you're not prepared to give a response. And frankly, it's no one else's business.
How to Avoid Oversharing
It could take weeks, months, or even years to process your divorce and feel comfortable talking about it. Here are some tips for keeping your privacy with well-meaning but curious family and friends:
- Set boundaries. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the sooner you set boundaries, the more confident you'll feel in responding to difficult questions regarding your divorce. Establish your boundaries by having a response at the ready that is respectful, covers the basics, and uses “I” statements. One boundary statement you may consider may be, “I'm not comfortable talking about my divorce yet.”
- Announce the divorce by email or text. Channel your inner public relations executive and send an email or text delivering the news of your divorce. Make the message brief and respectfully ask for space to cut off questions before they arise. For example, your message may say, “Pat and I want our friends to be aware that we have decided that it is in the best interest of our family to seek a divorce. This is a very emotional time for our family, and the best way to support us at this time is to honor our space and privacy.”
- Talk with a therapist. Divorce conjures up a variety of emotions. It's important that you make time to process your grief, sorrow, anger, fear, and frustration in a healthy way. You may be tempted to share—and possibly overshare—with close friends or family. Sharing these details with a neutral party, such as a therapist or divorce coach, helps preserve your privacy while giving you tools to cope with your emotions.
Talk with a Family Law Attorney
Divorce and custody issues are never easy. If you or a loved one is involved in matters of Family Law in Pennsylvania, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Family Law Team at the Lento Law Firm today or call 888-535-3686.