Contributed by Eileen Stoner, The Stoner Group

In situations involving separation and divorce, a good friend may be the very next person to know the truth beyond the couple themselves.  How can you help?  First, understand that you can help by simply listening.  Active listening is a skill.  Our brains are sometimes busy formulating a response while we are still listening to the other person; this can lead to miscommunication. [1]  When I seek to ensure that I am actively listening, I try for a 70/30 strategy where listening occupies the 70% share.  Your friend may benefit greatly from feeling truly “heard” by you as she mentally and emotionally processes this major life event.

A few things to consider:  It can be hard when a good friend has been betrayed or treated badly, but try to resist the urge to pile on with an attack on the offending spouse.  If there is no physical danger involved, circumstances may change and perhaps they will eventually work it all out.  If they do resolve their problems, it may be better that she not know “what you really think” of him.

Another approach to consider:  Giving too much advice about what she should do.  This can easily happen, especially if you’ve gone through separation/divorce yourself.  It is tempting to offer advice upon the assumption that the steps you took though the process will prove to be the best solution for her as well.  Maybe, but maybe not.  In the early stages she may need a friend to hear her out.

On the positive side, along with listening there are additional ways you can help. As women, we can be in a unique position to help other women navigate through challenging seasons of life.  You can be a connector.  As you listen you may get a sense that she is ready to bring some professionals in for guidance.  Think therapist, family law attorney, financial professional, job coach, realtor, and more.

[1]  How One Simple Change Can Make You a Better Listener.  Art Markman, PhD. 12/13/15.

Eileen Stoner is a Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services Inc. a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC in 16810 Kenton Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078 and is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice.  Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of UBS Financial Services Inc.  As a firm providing wealth management services to clients, we offer both investment advisory and brokerage services. These services are separate and distinct, differ in material ways and are governed by different laws and separate contracts. For more information on the distinctions between our brokerage and investment advisory services, please speak with your Financial Advisor or visit our website at For designation disclosures visit