How to best support a loved one dealing with relationship struggles

Khloe Kardashian (left) and Kim Kardashian West attending the Hairfinity UK Launch Party, at Il Bottaccio, in central London., © PA Archive/PA Images

The final season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians has begun and the latest episode reveals how the famous family came to the aid of Kim Kardashian when she was going through relationship problems with Kanye West. It was announced in February they are divorcing after six years of marriage.

“My sisters got me so drunk this night!” Kim tweeted during the episode, which shows sisters Kourtney and Khloe trying to distract their sister with alcohol.

Elsewhere in these episode Kourtney says: “She can’t possibly navigate this on her own,” – and she’s absolutely right. When it comes to relationships, support from family and friends is incredibly important, but is plying them with booze the best option? We asked the experts for their advice on best practice…

Be patient


“Some people may find it really hard to open up [about relationship problems], so it’s important you are patient and don’t pressurise them,” says mindset mentor and motivational speaker Sharn Khaira from AFE Collective.

Even if a friend is reluctant to talk about their relationship, you can still be there for them. “Being supportive is key,” Khaira adds. “Being patient and letting them know that you are here for them.”



It may be tempting to try to find solutions when a loved one tells you about any marital or relationship issues, but sometimes it’s better to just lend a listening ear.

“When people are struggling, it’s best to remember they aren’t necessarily looking for answers,” says business psychologist Dannielle Haig from DH Consulting. “They really need someone to sit with them, listen to them and tell them they’re not alone.

“When we’re struggling, admitting to ourselves and saying it out loud to someone else is an incredibly cathartic first step to recovery. Don’t be worried, friends are not supposed to find solutions.”

Don’t judge


Similarly, you may feel the urge to give your opinion about why the relationship has gone wrong, but that doesn’t help either.

“Listen to them and don’t judge,” says Khaira. “Passing your own judgements can really have a negative impact on someone’s emotions, especially if they have trusted you and they want to confide in you.”

Ask how you can help

“It can seem scary or uncomfortable to support a friend,” says Haig. “We’re not trained to offer this kind of support and sometimes we don’t know what to say.”

If you’re not sure what to say or do, try asking your friend or relative what they need, Khaira suggests. “Ask them what would help them at this current time. This might be simple things as daily check-ins, walks or Zoom calls. Or arranging things they can look forward to when lockdown is over.”

Help them seek support


You don’t have to take on the full burden of a loved one’s relationship problems. Professional help may be a good idea. “Help [them] find a professional, or find the support they need,” says Haig. “Then follow up in a compassionate way.”

Khaira adds: “In this day and age there is so much support available, from counselling, therapists and various different healing modalities. They can even speak to their doctor. If they do want support, offer to help them by searching in their local area or looking at what’s available online.”


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