More about how to tell family and loved ones you are separating

This blog is for couples that want to preserve important family relationships. Couples who somehow have come to that place that regardless of who initiated it feel like –no matter how hard it is — that separation or divorce is the next step.

Now you both feel its time to tell family and very close friends.

A few tips: FIRST–be together on this. Know you both agree that separating or divorce is the right next step. If you are both not on that page– take more time to get clear on that before you share with loved ones. You will only get involved, caring people unnecessarily concerned about a decision that is apparently not mutual. Also if you are not together you will be inviting sides to be taken and interference will begin. Having said that if one of you is truly “leaving the relationship” without taking time to help the other adjust, then perhaps you are reading the wrong blog. Remember a green divorce takes two!

SECOND–start with parents and siblings. Depending on how close you both are to both families you might have to do this in stages. But leave little time between telling family members, as the news will fly. Small families are easier.

THIRD–Be direct, be brief, and be together.

FOURTH-be prepared for your news to be heard and most likely experienced as an upcoming loss. You may get a “grief reaction” of disbelief. This is hard, so be prepared and be together.

The usual order of concern is 1) first about your children, 2) then about how your separating will affect them, 3) then they will be concerned about you. So begin with the fact the two of you intend work together to get through this and plan your separate futures and if there are children, that you both look forward to co-parenting. Maybe share some details that may be at the time minimally comforting but nonetheless, comforting, like you both plan to stay in the neighborhood or there will be no job changes. This is hard stuff-so be genuine–to be cheerful or excessively upbeat would actually be rude considering the changes the two of you are going to put everyone through. Be clear on this –you are going to change many, many relationships.

FIFTH– stay only long enough to deliver your news then leave, give them time to adjust. If you linger, you are opening up the door to input, which if you are doing a green divorce you do not need just yet. Tell them 1) you know they are concerned 2) they have a right to be 3) that is why you came personally to talk to them, because 4) you did not want them to hear it from someone else.

This is where it will get hard and the two of you have to hang together. There will be pushback. Noooo! Are you serious? Can’t you work it out? But you get along so well! Have you been through counseling? How could you do that to your kids? Why, what happened? But you were made for each other!. Did you cheat on my daughter? Your jobs are too demanding! The list goes on and on.

SIX–remember this is the time to take control of your own divorce. From this point forward you will have to make it clear to others that the two of you are in control of this. YOU GOT THIS. That does not mean it will be easy–so rely on each other to get through it.   On the other side your post-divorce relationship will be strong and amicable.

Next blog: How to tell the children.


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