If your friend's boyfriend cheated on her, you may feel unsure of how to offer comfort. Perhaps you cannot relate to this particular experience or are afraid that you will only upset her more. A profound sense of loss is common after the initial discovery of infidelity, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. A few helpful suggestions will show your friend support and give her a clearer perspective.
Listen to Her
Although you may be tempted to offer advice or criticize her boyfriend, listening is more effective support. Listening is not about waiting your turn to speak, according to Isadora Alman, a sex, marriage and family therapist. Good listeners absorb subtle information about the speaker, such as body language. For example, if your friend does not say much, you might notice her hunched posture and faraway look. This offers cues about how to respond and support her.
Hold Your Tongue
Do not give your friend advice or, even worse, tell her that you always knew her boyfriend was a cheater. Don't try to introduce your friend to someone else too soon, according to Tammy Nelson, psychotherapist and sex and relationship expert. Beginning to date someone new will only postpone the recovery process. Furthermore, avoid saying she should never have begun dating her boyfriend. Instead of telling her what she should have done, be deliberate about focusing on the present. If she is not dwelling on past mistakes, she will focus on the positive.
Encourage your friend to work through all of her emotions without taking shortcuts. Instead of advising her to attend a party and forget her problems, for example, suggest writing a journal entry so that she can express her feelings and work through her grief. Since her complete emotional recovery is essential, you will be doing her a favor by encouraging her to face her sadness.
Suggest Professional Counseling
Although you may wish you could help your friend overcome her sadness all by herself, she may benefit from professional counseling if her sorrow turns into depression. She may need to seek counseling if she is uncontrollably sad or angry, according to Dr. David Sack, a psychiatrist and CEO of Elements Behavioral Health and Promises Treatment Centers. Finding a counselor may help her overcome this challenging time of life and get the perspective she needs to move forward.
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