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How to Tell Your Family You are Getting a Divorce

Telling your extended family that you are getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult parts of the divorce process. Whether you are confident you will be supported or fear that your divorce may strain these important relationships in your life, you might find it challenging to discuss with your parents, siblings, and other close family members. For your closest extended family members, you may find that these are the hardest conversations to plan for outside of the discussion you had or will have with your spouse. Here are some suggestions to help you with these challenging conversations.


Avoid placing blame on your spouse and remain calm when breaking the news. Divorces can be an emotional rollercoaster and it may be best to avoid having these conversations during periods where anger is your dominant emotion. This will help ensure that you manage your narrative and account for how you want your extended family to feel about your divorce and your ex-spouse over the long term. This is especially important if you have children. It is critical to remember that your extended family members and your ex-spouse may have to interact at important events in your children's lives. Leaving a negative impression could add to your children's stress levels due to animosity between your family and your children's father or mother.


Be prepared to provide an explanation as to why the divorce is happening. Depending on the cause for your divorce, it may be difficult to avoid placing blame on your spouse when you provide your reasoning. Planning with this in mind will allow you to better manage the outcome of this initial discussion.


You should also show them that you have a plan or are actively planning how you are going to navigate the situation. If you lean on your extended family members to help you make life decisions, this may not be as important. However, if you are more independent in your decision-making process, this can help avoid unwanted advice. If you don’t provide a plan of action, it will be natural for your close family members to try to help with advice whether it is wanted or not.


If you have strong relationships with your extended family members, you may need to lean on them for support as you go through the divorce process. If you need help, it’s important to make this clear to your family members. Going through a divorce can be a very lonely process. If the conversation is planned properly for your family dynamics, your extended family can be a strong ally during one of life's biggest challenges. Regardless of how this conversation goes, it is important to remind your family that you will need their emotional support during this difficult time.


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