Divorce would be much easier if it were just between the couple and their solicitors or mediator.
“Helpful” people sometimes want to be in the midst of things and stir the pot. This would be similar to football teams such as Arsenal’s or Manchester United’s players taking instruction from the spectators during matches, instead of from their coaches.
Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” and a controlling friend is the director of your divorce drama.
People going through divorce are more vulnerable and needy, so it can be easier to go with the flow, allowing a friend to tell them what to do. Relying too heavily on another’s advice can backfire, since they are not privy to all of the financial and personal details. If that friend has a grievance against the other spouse, then suggestions can be destructive.
This situation is especially challenging when it is your spouse who is on the receiving end of unsolicited advice and it is interfering with your divorce. How you proceed depends upon several factors, such as how the relationship is with your partner. Is it amicable or contentious?
Could you go somewhere low key, such as a coffee house and express your concern? If so, keep a businesslike demeanor and use “I” statements, starting out with something positive. “I think it’s great that we both have friends to help us get through this, but I wonder if Maisy isn’t becoming a little too involved in our personal situation.”
Perhaps agree on what stays private and what can be shared. Are there any mutual friends who can intervene? Maybe they also have a similar opinion of this friend and would be agreeable to discussing this with your spouse. Avoid a direct confrontation with the influential friend.
Speak to your solicitor, especially in collaborative divorce where both work together to move the couple through the divorce process.
Privately share this concern with the mediator about your spouse’s toxic friend who is pitting her against you. If this person seems to be on a smear campaign against you, this may be slander, which is making false accusations. This is a legal matter which may need to be addressed by your solicitor. If the spouse will not say anything to the friend, the legal professional might do so, so that the divorce is not sabotaged.
Consider seeing a divorce coach who can help you form strategies on how to deal with this situation. It is important to exercise which decreases anxiety and to eat nutritious foods, Get out with pals and vent. Have some fun to keep yourself from dwelling upon this. Reduce your stress, whether by meditation, massages or whatever does the trick for you. When you are in optimal condition, it is easier to deal with these specific stressors.
Maybe you are the one who is leaning too heavily on someone else who may not have your best interest at heart. They may present as an expert or insist that you follow their advice.
If you find yourself in the position of not being able to make a move without their input, then it is time to put some distance between you.
If your friend seems fixated upon your divorce, say you want to talk about other topics. Spend more time with others, including family members. Take a mini-holiday and go somewhere to think about your situation, by yourself. Or go with a group of friends for laughs and a long weekend away.
For either situation, consider enrolling in a divorce workshop, support group, or class. You will not feel so alone when interacting with others who are in a divorce situation too. Someone else in the divorce support group may be facing similar problems and you two can compare notes and come up with a solution.
Wendi Schuller is a nurse, hypnotherapist and is certified in Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP).
Her most recent book is The Global Guide to Divorce and she has over 200 published articles.
She is a guest on radio programs in the US and UK. Her website is globalguidetodivorce.com.