Divorce Support Groups: Coping with Divorce
Perhaps you have heard that 50% of marriages end with divorce. But that doesn’t mean that you should feel less alone. Self-care is not enough. Even trusted friends may not get it. Divorce can be difficult emotionally.
But there is some good news. If all this seems overwhelming, a support group for divorce can help you take care. This article will cover everything you need to know regarding divorce support groups. It includes information about what they are, how they function, where to find one, as well as the pros and cons. We also cover other support measures that you may be able to take, and the websites you can visit for help.
What is a support group for divorce?
A divorce support group is an informal group of people who meet online or in person to share their divorcing experiences, grieve over negative emotions, and offer and receive support.
A few support groups for divorcing couples are focused on one topic. There are support groups available for newly divorced couples, co-parenting groups, and groups for divorce recovery like DivorceCare. These groups can help with the transition to a new life and how to date after it. These are just a few of the many examples. These support groups can also be tailored to specific groups based upon age, gender or religion.
What happens in a meeting of the Divorce Support Group?
The structure of meetings can vary but the general rule is that the group is led either by a host or therapist or coach or peer who leads discussion on a relevant topic. You could have as few as 3 people or as many as 50.
Online divorce support groups
The name implies that you can access an online meeting for divorce support from the comforts of your home. These meetings are usually led by a coach or therapist for divorce, but you may also have other facilitators. The leader’s job it to promote open discussion and fair share-and-take among participants. The goal of the meeting is to make each participant feel valued and fulfilled, as well as to provide a safe place for them to share their broken hearts.
In-person divorce support groups
Divorce support group meetings in person share the same goal as online groups, which is to have thoughtful group discussion and support. These meetings take place in person and not behind the cyberspace veil. You should not feel pressured to be a part of a support group. It is possible to simply observe the group interactions without speaking up, at least until your comfort level with them increases. Support groups such as these are usually held in local places, including churches basements and public libraries.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone can simply show up. Some support group meetings have closed doors, meaning that you need to be a member or have serious interest in becoming one to attend. Some support groups also offer open meetings which are open to all.
How do you find a support group for divorce?
It might be easier than you think to locate a local support organization. These are some ways to help you start your search.
- Ask your church for information on local divorcing groups.
- Ask the attorney or lawyer handling your case to recommend a support group.
- For help in choosing the right group, speak to your doctor.
- Check out Psychology Today for support group listings.
- Call 2-1-1 to find out more about the resources available in your area.
- Benefits and drawbacks of divorcing support groups
Before joining a support-group, it’s important that you fully understand the benefits as well as the limitations.
Benefits of support groups for divorce:
- You can share your healing journey with others in a group setting.
- Tell your story, and don’t hold on to negative emotions.
- It is possible to protect your privacy by limiting your name to your first name.
- Hear stories from other members of the group.
- Your well-being is more than self-care.
- You might make new friends during the grieving process.
- It’s easy to find one that fits into your busy schedule.
The limitations of support groups for divorcing couples:
- You won’t receive individual advice, diagnosis or treatment. You may require additional assistance if you experience extremely painful feelings.
- You can’t control the behavior of other attendees. This means that you might not get along with everyone and may find some people annoying.
- It is possible for moderators and hosts to have different credentials. Sometimes, group leaders are not experts.
- You will not be able to get legal advice.
Other types of support
Although support groups can be a great fit for some people, they are not suitable for all. Sometimes there are better options. Let’s take an overview of what therapy and divorce counseling can offer you.
Counseling for divorce usually involves a couple and a counselor, therapist or coach. Your spouse and the therapist sit down together and work out your issues in order to reach a goal. To determine if the marriage is possible to save, many couples seek out divorce counseling. Couples who can’t resolve or at least improve marital issues might file for divorce.
Divorce counseling is for couples. Therapy offers individual assistance. Therapy is available at any time in your life: pre-divorce or during divorce. A wide variety of mental health professionals can provide therapy, including psychiatrists, licensed therapists, counselors, or psychologists. If marital issues are negatively impacting your physical and emotional health, therapy may be a good option.
Some of the problems you may be experiencing include insomnia, social anxiety, and loss of interest or enjoyment in previous activities. A therapist is able to help you get through the stages of grief that are natural after divorce. A therapist can help you find coping strategies to get through difficult times and establish new relationships. Private therapy is different from a support group. It allows you to deal with your issues on your own terms.
Your therapist may also be able to prescribe medication to treat anxiety symptoms if they feel it is helpful. You may be referred to a physician who is able to help.
Family therapy is another option. Every family member has the chance to talk and ask questions. This can be done in a group setting, or one-on-1 with a therapist. Family therapy might have one of three main goals: to improve communication, foster a healthier family dynamic, address specific concerns like conflicting parenting styles or how best to help a child who is going through divorce proceedings.
Family therapy is a great way to resolve conflict with your ex-spouse, and help you become a single parent. If your ex-spouse has ongoing or significant conflict, a divorce mediator can help you to resolve them. This is especially true if the conflicts are legal. For example, if your ex is a narcissist you might need to continue support.
What are the top divorce support groups?
If you’re reading this far and feel that a group of divorce support people is right for you, we have compiled a list of recommended groups nationwide and locally offering online and in-person support.
Also, check with your doctor to determine if there are any discounted or free services for divorce. You might be interested in meeting up with other divorced people to have a more casual atmosphere.
Mental Health America The organization provides a safe environment for discussing various topics including divorce. You can connect with the group by joining their discussion forum.
Circles One of the most popular online divorcing support groups is Circles. It’s affordable and easy to use. There are many support groups available so that you can find the one that best suits your needs. Their divorce-related groups focus on issues such as grief, parenting challenges and anxiety, self-esteem, and how you can cope with a single identity. Members who join the group for the first time receive their first month completely free.
Circles’ Mensgroup is an alternative to Circles. However, it is exclusively for men looking for emotional support. It offers virtual chat rooms for members to foster positive conversations about men’s divorcing experiences.
DivorceCare, a national network for divorce recovery, offers online and in-person support groups. The primary focus of the network is to heal during and after divorce, and to provide a safe space for people who are grieving or in pain following the end of their marriage.
WomansDivorce – This group provides a central hub for any resources that women might need during divorce proceedings. This platform also includes a directory that will help you locate groups in your local area. It is normal to feel vulnerable and scared during a separation. You are allowed to feel what you feel during divorce.
The main takeaway is that you don’t have to do it alone. Even in the most severe relationships, ending a marriage can be a major loss. There is no rush to heal and move past hurt feelings. People who have experienced separation or divorce can find support and information to help them share their stories, gain new perspectives and show compassion. External help is always a good idea. You have this.