Divorce Support Groups & Coping With Divorce
You may have heard that half of all marriages end in divorce. However, that doesn’t mean you are alone. Self-care may not be enough. Your trusted friends might not understand. And legal advice won’t do much to help with the emotional aspects.
There is good news. A divorce support group can be a great way to take care of yourself when it feels overwhelming. This article will explain everything you need about divorce support groups. We’ll show you how they work, what to look for, and how to join one. We will also discuss specific websites that you can use to get support, as well as other supportive actions you can take.
What is a Divorce Support Group?
A support group for divorce is a group that meets in person or online to discuss their experiences with divorce, deal with negative emotions, and provide and receive support.
Many support groups for divorce are focused on a particular topic or theme. You can find support groups for newly divorcing people, groups that are focused on co-parenting, or groups that help you with your divorce recovery. These are just some examples. Support groups for divorcing couples may be targeted at specific age groups based on gender, religion, and ethnicity.
What happens when you attend a meeting of a support group for divorce?
Although meeting structures vary, they all have a common structure: a coach, therapist, peer, or host leads the discussion. There are many options for how many people attend a meeting. It could be as few as three or as many as fifty (or more).
Divorce support groups are known for their high level of confidence. You won’t be able to tell your story, and neither will other participants, if you feel unsafe. We recommend that you learn as much information about the confidentiality policy of any group you are considering joining, online or in person.
Online divorce support groups
You can join an online support group for divorce from the comfort of your own home, as the name suggests. The facilitators of these meetings may include a therapist or divorce coach. The leader’s role is to facilitate structured discussion and encourage fair sharing between participants. Each member should feel validated, satisfied, and able to discuss their separations in a safe environment.
In-person divorce support groups
Meetings of in-person support groups for divorce have a similar goal as online groups: to encourage and facilitate thoughtful group discussion. These meetings are held in person, rather than through cyberspace. However, you shouldn’t feel obliged to join a support group. You can choose to watch the group interaction in silence until you feel more comfortable. These support groups are often held in local buildings, such as churches basements, public libraries and community centers.
But that doesn’t mean everyone can show up. Support group meetings may be “closed”, meaning you have to register or have an interest in becoming one. Others support groups offer open meetings, which anyone can attend.
How can you locate a group that offers support for divorce?
It may not be as difficult as it seems to find a local support group. There are many ways to jumpstart your search.
- For information about local divorce groups, contact your church.
- Ask your lawyer to refer you to a support group.
- Talk to your doctor or therapist about the best group for you.
- For support group listings, visit Psychology Today.
- To find out about community resources, call 2-1-1.
- Divorce support groups: The benefits and the drawbacks
Before you join a support group, it is important to understand all the benefits and limitations.
Benefits of divorcing support groups
- Let’s talk about your healing journey together.
- Let go of the negative emotions and share your story.
- Protect your privacy by only giving your first name. You can also make one up.
- Listen to the stories of others in your group.
- Take care of your well-being, beyond self-care.
- It is possible to make new friends while going through the grieving journey.
- It is easy to find the one that suits your needs.
There are limitations to the support groups for divorce:
- Individualized advice, diagnosis, or treatment will not be provided. Additional help may be needed if you are experiencing extreme pain.
- You cannot control other attendees. You may not get along well with all attendees, and some might be difficult to get along.
- There are many factors that can affect the credentials and expertise of moderator/host. Sometimes, peers manage groups without any expertise.
- It is not possible to receive legal advice, or advise on serious matters such as child support, custody or domestic abuse, or other severe mental health problems.
Support in other forms
While the support group environment is appealing to some, it may not be right for all. Sometimes another option might be a better fit. Let’s look at what you might get out of therapy or divorce counseling.
A couple may meet with a counselor, therapist, or coach to discuss divorce counseling. The therapist will help you and your spouse work together to resolve issues and reach a common goal. Many couples seek counseling for divorce to see if their marriage can be saved. Couples who cannot resolve or improve their marital problems may file for divorce.
Divorce counseling is only for couples. Therapy provides individual help. Therapy can be sought at any stage of your life, whether you are pre-divorced, during divorce or after. Therapy can be provided by a wide range of mental health professionals including licensed counselors and psychologists as well as psychiatrists. If marital problems are affecting your emotional or physical health, therapy can be very helpful.
You might experience sleep disturbances, anxiety, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. A therapist can help with the natural stages that come along with divorce. You can get coping skills to help you navigate through the toughest times. Private therapy, unlike a support group allows you to focus on your problems and work through them individually.
If your therapist feels it would be beneficial, they might be able prescribe medication to ease anxiety symptoms. They may also refer you to a doctor who can do this.
Another option for therapy is family therapy. Family members are given the opportunity to express their feelings and ask questions in a variety of settings, including one-on-one sessions with a therapist. Family therapy can be used to improve communication and foster a healthy family dynamic. It may also address specific concerns such as conflicting parenting styles, how to help a child going through divorce, or how to help them.
Family therapy can help you and your spouse resolve conflicts and make it easier to be single parents. If you and your spouse have ongoing, significant conflicts, a mediator can be an impartial intermediary, especially if these are legal. You may require ongoing support if your ex-spouse is a narcissist.
Which are the best support groups for divorce?
If you have read this far, and think a support group for divorce is the right fit, you can check these suggestions for local and national groups offering in-person and online support groups. Many of these groups are available on Zoom, with video optional.
Check with your healthcare provider to find out if they offer discounted or free divorce support services. You may find Meetup groups in your locality that cater to divorced couples and offer a more casual setting for you to meet others.
Mental Health America This group is committed to creating a safe place for people to talk about various subjects, including divorcing. As a bridge to find the right support group for you, joining their discussion board is a great way to get connected.
Circles – Accessible and affordable, Circles is an excellent online support group for divorce. You can choose from a variety of support groups to address your individual needs. Many of the groups are focused on divorce, parenting difficulties, anxiety, self-esteem and how to deal with a new single identity. The first month is free for new members.
Circles is an analogy for Mensgroup, but it’s only for men who need emotional support. You can also join virtual chat groups to have positive conversations about your own divorce experience.
DivorceCare offers support groups online and in person for those going through divorce. Its main goal is to help people grieving the loss of their spouse and provide support during and after divorce.
WomensDivorce: This is a group that provides resources for women who are going through divorce. You can also find local groups on the platform. It is okay to feel scared and fragile during a divorce. It’s fine to feel whatever you want during a divorce.
This is the most important thing to remember. Even in the most difficult relationships, it is still a devastating loss to end a marriage. It’s not a rush. Healing and moving past hurt feelings takes time. There is plenty of support for those who are dealing with divorce and separation. It is not shameful to seek outside support. This is what you have.