real life

How to talk to a friend who is getting divorced.

Thanks to our brand partner, Duro-Tuss


When Glennon Doyle Melton, American author, speaker and activist, started working on her memoir Love Warrior she never thought for a second that just weeks before it’s release she’d be in the process of getting…well….divorced.

Still, that’s what’s happened.

Her “people”, no doubt anticipating another New York Times Bestselling book, asked her to delay the announcement about the break down of her marriage. She refused.

Glennon’s post “I need to tell you something” was published to her blog, and to a social media army of almost 800,000 devoted followers.

It is a beautiful, raw account of the decision her and her husband had to make for themselves.

Read Glennon’s full post, “I need to tell you something.”

Now she has turned her attention to offering advice on how to talk to a friend who is getting a divorce, which can be an absolute minefield. As a friend, you want to be there during times of need, but it’s hard to know when to approach and what to say or do.

Do they want advice? A shoulder to cry on? A night out on the town?

This week on Mamamia Out Loud, Mons, Mia and Kate spoke about what they’ve learned about giving helping friends through divorce.

Glennon says that since she publicly shared the news that her marriage was going through some difficulties four years ago she’s become a “soft place to land” for women in similar circumstances. Using her own experience and their wise words, she has come up with some timely advice for friends of anyone getting divorced.


She says she offers this advice with “humility, love (and a healthy dose of defensiveness on behalf of my heart and the heart of my warrior sisters).”

You need your friends more than ever when going through a divorce. Image: The Other Woman, 20th Century Fox


1. Please don't gossip.

Glennon explains that it difficult to find a balance between honesty and a tell-all. She asks that people don't try and fill in the blanks themselves. "If you can, please resist assumptions, gossip, or asking for details..." she says.

2. Don't lament the sadness of it all.

Most women who are getting divorced have fought hard for their marriages, Glennon reminds us. She asks that we don't mention how sad it is that a marriage is ending. Divorced people know how sad it is. They are living with and carrying the sadness of it every moment of every day. Glennon writes, "Most of us fight like hell for our marriages until we realise that we can either save our marriage or save our souls."

3. Try not to offer any advice.

It can be tempting to offer advice to a friend going through the process of divorce but that advice is usually unwelcome. Only the two people going through the divorce know the truth behind the split so any advice offered by friends can be misinformed. Glennon says that instead of offering advice, just offer "love and support."

When I knew our relationship was over. Article continues after this video.



4. Don't let your own feelings get in the way of being a good friend.

When someone, particularly a close friend, announces they are getting divorced it can stir up your own emotions due to your own marital issues. Glennon asks friends to try and avoid letting that happen and that if they do have a strong reaction to a divorce announcement to look inside themselves first before projecting that onto her. "If my news does that to you today, please look inside and get curious about whether those feelings have more to do with you and your life than they do about me and mine."

5. Stay close.

Just because you aren't sure what to say or what to do when a friend is getting divorced, don't let that result in distance between you. The most important thing you can do for a divorcing friend is to let them know that you are there. Glennon says, "Please stay close. I need you more than I have ever needed you."

Mamamia Out Loud is the weekly podcast with what everyone's talking about. Join Mia Freedman, Kate De Brito and Monique Bowley for everything from politics to pop culture. Subscribe in itunes, or listen here: