Why give a sympathy gift to someone who is getting divorced? Because it shows your support and love, and helps him or her see that a divorce is a beginning as well as an ending.
A comforting spa gift basket – such as the French Vanilla Bath Gift Set, delivered as a surprise to her work or home, is a thoughtful, caring sympathy gift after a divorce.
One of my most popular New Beginnings articles is How to Let Go of Someone You Love – because that’s one of the hardest things we’ll ever have to do. If you know someone going through a divorce, give a gift that symbolizes letting go, healing, and hope.
People with a dark sense of humor may find that The Ex Kitchen Knife Set by Raffaele Iannello is exactly what they need! It’s a knife holder designed not only to hold knives, but to remind people going through a divorce that they’re not alone….and make them smile every time they put their knives away.
Here are a few more sympathy gift ideas for people going through a separation or divorce after years of marriage…
“Often after separation and divorce, significant healing results from re-discovering hobbies and interests that were somewhat sacrificed during the marriage,” writes dineane in Gifts for the Recently Separated or Divorced. “What are their interests? Golf, jewelry making, art? Give supplies to encourage development of their talents.”
This is a really good divorce gift idea – even if it’s too soon for your friend to jump back into his or her hobbies. Just having that calligraphy set or a gift that encourages knitted creations can give them hope and help them look forward to the future.
Books or movies that focus on healing and hope after divorce
As a writer, my first instinct is to turn to books whenever I need help, information, or support! Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser describes how loss and difficult events can bring positive life changes. A thoughtful sympathy gift for someone going through a divorce can help them not only heal, but see the big picture.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodrin is a similar book, but it’s filled with Buddhist teachings about mindfulness, hope, and healing.
“Feel good” movies that soothe broken hearts include Ghost and Legally Blonde. But, I think Under the Tuscan Sun and Eat Pray Love are better divorce movies because the women go on to have adventures! They don’t just sit around and wait for their hearts to heal. If you want to encourage and inspire someone who has just broken up with someone they love, you might steer them towards movies and things that show them that life isn’t over.
Comforting blankets, pajamas, and fleece throws
A sympathy gift that comforts is the best thing to give someone going through a divorce. When my grandma died, all I wanted to do was sleep. A friend gave me a soft, warm, cuddly fleece throw – and I loved curling up with it. A thoughtful gift is a super soft fleece blanket – along with a movie or book!
If it’s summertime, a nice pair of silk pajamas is a thoughtful gift for someone who is sleeping alone after her divorce. In the winter, warm fuzzy pj’s would be great – or a nice soft pair of slippers.
A pink tool kit for women
How about a power tool for women who now have to “do it themselves”?
Here’s what Elle says:
“Tool sets for women are a fantastic gift for the strong, independent divorcee who is ready to take control when her man has either fallen off or is nonexistent. A woman should always allow a man to help her about the house when he’s available, but it should also go without saying that she knows how to wield a screwdriver, hammer a nail or use a wrench for a leaky pipe as well. There’s nothing wrong with women learning how to use a tool kit; it’s a sign of the times and doesn’t make her less feminine. In fact, it might even turn her next boyfriend on to know that she’s self-sufficient and can handle her business when he’s not around – and even sexier when he realizes she has no problem putting away her little pink or purple tool set (which is super-strong and feminine) to allow the big boys handle the home repair.” ~ from Gifts for Divorced Women – Tool Sets as Gifts.
One last sympathy gift tip for someone going through a divorce…
Your time, your listening ear, your shoulder to cry on. Sometimes the most thoughtful gift you can give someone who is separating or divorcing is a cup of coffee and the question, “Tell me the best and worst parts of the relationship that just ended.”
Listening without judgment can be the best, most thoughtful gift you ever give to someone going through a divorce.
Another sympathy gift idea for someone going through a divorce is teaching them how to manage money after getting divorced. Divorce leaves many people financially devastated.
If you have any thoughts on these sympathy gifts for someone getting divorced, please comment below.
by Diana (Miami)
hey my name is Diana. I am 12 years old. I am writing this because my parents just got divorced, my mom, little brother, and me are going through rough times now since my dad has left. plus, my dad doesn’t give money to buy what is needed for us and the house, the only thing he cares about is his drugs and his girlfriend.
We are going to lose the house pretty soon and he doesn’t care. I will like if you can pray for my dad can get better and for my mom to have faith in god because she sometimes feels like killing herself because of the things she has had to go through with my dad.
Return to Prayers for Strength and Guidance
Separation and divorce are two of the most emotionally draining, difficult, and painful life events someone can go through, and many married people will experience these stressors in their lifetime. While every divorce is unique, common themes and feelings are likely to emerge during this transition period.
Regardless of who initiated the divorce, emotions may weigh heavy and feel painful while grieving occurs. Potential legal issues may be time-consuming and can distract from other aspects of life. Anger, disappointment, and resentment may brew, especially if the blame game is being played, and hurt feelings may come to the surface as the loss of the marriage is processed.
Post-divorce is a time to separate from the role of spouse, redefine who you are, and accept a new identity and lifestyle. While emotionally charged, this time can also be exciting and liberating, filled with new beginnings, freedom, relief, and hope for a better future.
You may find yourself in a delicate or confusing situation if you’re dating a man going through a divorce. There’s nothing wrong with falling for a man going through a divorce. However, it’s important to understand potential complications and employ strategies to make dating him feel more easy, breezy.
Here are eight strategies for dating someone going through a divorce:
- 1 1. Let His Marital Past Come Up (In an Appropriate Way)
- 2 2. Look for Signs of His Readiness to Date
- 3 3. Understand the Dating Process May Be New And, Therefore, Emotional for Him
- 4 4. Date Him at a Slow Place
- 5 5. Accept That He Has an Ex-Wife
- 6 6. Accept That He Has Children (If Applicable)
- 7 7. Beware of the Potential of a Rebound or Transition Relationship
- 8 8. View Him Having Been Married Before as a Positive Sign
- 9 Dating A Man Going Through Divorce: Take It Slow and Watch For Signs
1. Let His Marital Past Come Up (In an Appropriate Way)
Dating 101 teaches you not to talk about your past relationships or ex-partners with someone new early on, but it’s natural to be curious, especially when dating someone who has been married before.
While you shouldn’t make his divorce the sole focus of every interaction, or let him vent uncontrollably, or trash his ex (all red flags), it’s essential that you give him opportunities to share with you as his marriage was a major component of his life.
Understand that his past is bound to come up, and this is a normal part of dating a separated or divorced man. You can learn a lot about him by listening to what he says of his marriage and his ex-wife and how he views his role in the marriage ending. You can be a supportive listener while also setting appropriate boundaries if you are uncomfortable.
2. Look for Signs of His Readiness to Date
Wanting to be ready to move on post-divorce is different than actually being ready. The difference between the two is based on a number of individualized factors. Consider his emotional availability, the circumstances of his marriage and divorce (Was it amicable? Why, when, and how did it end? Where is he in the legal process?), and his capacity to own and reflect on what happened.
Listen closely as he shares his past with you to better gauge where he is emotionally and if he has truly moved on and is ready to be a partner to you. Rather than focusing on the the length of time he has been divorced, you’ll get much better information by tuning into what he is saying and how it makes you feel. While the length of time he has been single is important to his readiness, it is not everything.
3. Understand the Dating Process May Be New And, Therefore, Emotional for Him
Specifically, the online dating process may be unfamiliar territory, so be gentle with him. No matter how ready he is, getting back into the dating scene may bring up insecurities and anxieties.
He may grapple with his worthiness and deservingness of having love in his life again. He may feel inadequate or insecure, despite really wanting to put himself out there again. Don’t play games with his heart or give him a hard time as he adjusts to dating again.
4. Date Him at a Slow Place
In general, moving too quickly does not breed healthy outcomes in the dating world. Especially when dating someone going through a divorce, it’s in both of your best interests to move slowly, take your time getting to know each other, and determine if you are on the same page about the present and future.
Also, don’t take it personally if he wants to move slow or keep your relationship quiet at the beginning (as long as he is treating you well and engaging with you). These preferences are common and are not necessarily an indication of his feelings toward you. Patience is a virtue!
5. Accept That He Has an Ex-Wife
Having an ex-wife is very different than having an ex, especially if there are kids involved. If you’re truly open to dating a divorced man, you must also accept that his ex will remain a part of his life.
Trying to erase her or ignore her existence will only cause resentment and dissatisfaction in your relationship. Understand he has a past that may resurface, but his previous marriage does not have to bring up insecurities in you.
6. Accept That He Has Children (If Applicable)
Along with him having an ex-wife, this is a fact you cannot change. Wanting him to be childless if he isn’t is only going to form a wedge in your relationship and create disconnection.
Understand that dating him will mean he will have to prioritize being a dad and being there for his children, affecting the amount of time he is available to spend with you. He will have to decide when it is appropriate to bring you into their lives.
Also, bad-mouthing his ex in front of his children is a complete no-no. There is no need to compete with their mother or put her down.
7. Beware of the Potential of a Rebound or Transition Relationship
And know how to tell if you’re the rebound woman. If you’re dating in hopes of a serious relationship, it’s crucial to communicate how you feel and look for signals of him being serious about you as well.
Signs you may be his transition relationship include him telling you he loves you or you are “The One” after just a few dates, him acting hot and cold, him asking to move in with you, and him wanting to make his ex jealous or acting bitter toward her.
These are all indicators that your relationship is not the real deal, and, while this reality stings, it is not about you. It shows he has a lot of work to do to process his divorce, and it’s best to stop dating him if you are looking for a genuine lasting connection.
8. View Him Having Been Married Before as a Positive Sign
The fact that he has been married before shows he is not a complete commitment-phobe, so instead of being intimidated by his ex or previous marriage, view his past in a positive light and as a signal he is comfortable with settling down. He has experience being in a committed relationship and understands what this means, which may make him a better, more attentive and supportive partner to you.
Word of caution: This advice goes out the window if his marriage ended due to him engaging in infidelity, which is a major red flag. Also, be careful with assuming just because he has been married before, he is open to being married again. His relationship goals need to be discussed and not assumed on your part.
Dating A Man Going Through Divorce: Take It Slow and Watch For Signs
You can absolutely find love with a divorced man as long as you are both present and emotionally available. You can decide whether to date someone going through a divorce on a case-by-case basis as there is no need to approach your dating life with rigid rules. What’s most important is evaluating the specific situation and remembering that healing takes time and every situation is different.
Photo sources: housingaforest.com, goodmenproject.com, baba-deda.ru, nytimes.com, theodysseyonline.com
Perhaps almost as bad a going through a divorce yourself is watching someone you love go through one. Whether it’s a parent, a son, a daughter, or a close relative or friend, seeing someone in that kind of pain can cause you anxiety and make you feel helpless and frustrated.
While it’s true that the person going through a divorce has to help himself/herself, there are some things that you can do and say that will support your loved one’s healing process.
Here are 10 ways you can help someone going through a divorce:
1. Don’t try to give advice. I can’t count the number of never-divorced people who tried to give me divorce advice several years ago. It was infuriating at the time, but now, looking back, I truly believe they meant everything they said for my best interest. Still, to tell a divorced person what they should be doing/thinking is absolutely ridiculous. Examples: Don’t date right now. You need to be by yourself. You need time to heal. If I were divorced, I would never, ever get married again. Stuff like that.
2. Invite him/her to have coffee or a beer or go for a walk or a jog. Newly separated people are lonely people. They are sort of lost, in a daze, perhaps. They need interaction with friends. Even a half hour a day is helpful.
3. Hug him/her. People going through a divorce need to be touched physically. Yes, men too. Think about how powerful a hug really is. You are embracing someone who really, really needs love.
4. Write him/her a letter of encouragement. I know I’m a writer and it might be easy for me, but even if you aren’t good with words on paper, a card or a letter is extremely meaningful to someone going through a divorce. If you can’t think of what to say, just say, “I’m thinking of you. Please reach out to me if you ever want to talk or go for a walk or for a drink or dinner.” Also, you can steal an inspirational poem and speech from one of your heroes–maybe someone famous and quote them.
5. Assure him/her that confiding in you is OK. I think it is very comforting when someone assures me he/she isn’t going to run all over town and tell everyone what I divulge to them.
6. Do not exclude him/her from couple’s nights. How can you tell the difference between true friends and acquaintances? True friends still invite you out on couple’s nights. They could care less if you are solo or there with a platonic friend or even if you bring a girlfriend. My friends who did that are the real deal. It meant everything to me. Incidentally, I also had friends drop me like a hot potato. I remember that too.
7. Don’t say anything stupid. Refer to point #1 on this list. Other stupid things people say: “It wasn’t meant to be.” “He’s an asshole.” “Kids are resilient.” If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. People appreciate silence, i.e. peace.
8. Don’t badmouth his/her ex. Trust me, they will do all the badmouthing. You just sit there and listen. Offer support like, “That must be so frustrating.” Or “I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. It must have been very difficult.”
9. Offer to babysit his/her kids if they need “me” time. That is a huge gift to a newly separated person, who might just want to sit in a room and watch American Ninja Warriors, or sleep or go for a much needed jog. Keep offering and tell them not to feel guilty for one second for leaving their kids for an hour!
10. Be honest if you must. It isn’t easy to do, but if you see some bad behavior, or the person is doing something that you strongly feel is a bad idea, inappropriate, unethical, etc. speak up. That’s what friends do.
I do want to bring up something else. If your loved one becomes distant or cold or says something mean to you, let it slide and don’t take it personally. People going through a divorce are not themselves. Forgive and forget, and let them know you are here for him or her.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially” for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she’s divorced.