Divorce is a transition which means a change in many aspects of life. One of these areas is relationships, particularly with friendships.
Divorce is a time to reevaluate these friendships to see if they are still beneficial or have run their course.
Pals that have stuck by you through thick and thin may no longer be as supportive and it is better to not be taken by surprise. If someone is really your friend they will stick around. If they do not, is that a person you really want in your life?
Divorce gets rid of these dead branches and allows new growth (friendships) to appear.
Miranda met someone in her women’s group and they clicked right away. They became close friends and had frequent lunches together.
Carolyn was right there when Miranda had two miscarriages and they later got to know each other’s children. Once in a while their husbands attended birthday and holiday parties. Miranda confided about her stressful marriage and eventual divorce proceedings. Miranda also shared with Carolyn, recently revealed abuse that prevented overnight visitation. She was shocked and her sons upset when Carolyn stated several times that she loved both Miranda and her ex and would support them both.
In abuse situations, this is not a helpful thing to say to children in therapy or to a longtime friend. Carolyn refused to take sides and that friendship withered away.
People whom you assumed were close, may choose to side with your former partner. Grieve for this loss in your life and then move on.
My ex is Narcissistic and told tales about me in our divorce. I lost some friends due to being portrayed as the villain in this drama. Eventually I felt grateful to the Narcissist for showing me that these people are not worthy of my time or energy.
Another person who has been a mere acquaintance may surprise you and become a good friend. A divorced acquaintance is now a pal and we sometimes compare notes about our former husbands’ annoying antics. I feel the understanding and validation from her that I do not receive from my marvelous married chums. I became closer to some mothers at my child’s school who were recently divorced and gave me stellar advice. We called ourselves members of The First Wives’ Club.
Friends may distance themselves from you because they do not want to get involved or know what to say. Mutual friends of you both may fall into this category. Be pleasant when you run into them, but do not suggest going to the pub or out to tea if they seem a bit awkward.
What to do about mutual friends who invite you both to social events?
Miranda asked Carolyn if she had also invited her ex to a holiday party, explaining that she and the boys would then be unable to attend. Miranda would never tell anyone who should be on the guest list, but this was a matter of answering an RSVP question. When Carolyn’s answer was vague, Miranda politely declined this and future invitations until they were no longer issued.
In many cases former spouses can be civil to each other when no abuse or infidelity occurred, and others in their sphere are comfortable around them. A former boss on friendly terms with his ex, enjoys seeing her at functions and they catch up with each other’s news.
Friendship is a two way street. If you feel drained or that you are tip toeing around, then something is not right.
Beware of energy vampires who seem to suck the life right out of you.
I had a longtime friend who was also godmother to my youngest son. She was divorced and became fixated upon mine, wanting a lot of details. My sons would ask her to talk about something else.
During my divorce, I had trouble getting a house mortgage and was under extreme stress. This friend disappeared for a few months until I ran into her and asked what had happened. She said that I had snapped at her on the phone (right before moving day) and no one had done that to her before.
It was just about her and nothing about my anxiety. I most likely snapped at anyone who crossed my path, but everyone else gave me some leeway. A year later she dropped out of our lives permanently for no apparent reason. When these friends disappear it can be hard on your children.
Friendships are not static and change regardless of situations. Value the ones that stay in your life and you will meet others in serendipitous ways.
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.