The immediate prompt for this brief article is the report on February 23, 2013 that Tiger Woods and his ex -wife Elin Nordegren were spotted at an event where they spoke together not for 30 seconds but 30 minutes. In one sense this is not newsworthy at all but during the week, I had a spate of cases where I know the parents or friends and family of recently separated couples and where the parents/friends/family always knew that this marriage could not last and/or the couple never belonged together or he/she changed and is now unworthy of the friend or family member. This happens every day but when it happens to friends and family we want to rush to support the person we are closest to with words of support.
Express those views with caution or at your peril. Yes, you never did like his wife or her husband. Yes, you saw all of the failings and frailties that your friend or loved one could not see; blinded by good looks or charm or in too many case: “none of the above”. But when your friend finally screws up the courage to end the relationship or move in that direction, be aware that today, the rules are different.
Separation and divorce are never easy. As folks who see this everyday, we recognize that a failed relationship is a difficult thing to face. But in many cases, “history” or “children” or whatever mean that there is a wide gulf between separation and divorce. Friends and family who step into that breach with their views do so at their peril as couples often second guess themselves today and decide to reconcile. If that occurs, your candor in expressing your views about the spouse is the only things that is left and sometimes that means loss of a friendship or relationship that you treasure.
If your friend or family member comes to confide in you that he or she needs to end their relationship with a spouse, be supportive. But do so knowing that many marriages irretrievably broken on Monday are back together in some bizarre way by Thursday and that too much vocal support at your end could end up costing you an important friendship.