Getting divorced is like throwing a rock into pond … there are always ripple effects. Divorce doesn’t just impact you and your spouse. It will impact you and your friends and you will need new friends after divorce.
Lisa Thomson was married for 18 years. She’d been at stay-at-home mom and divorce meant going back to work. Her change in lifestyle meant continuing to socialize with much of the social circle she and her husband had was no longer feasible. But there was more. Here’s Lisa:
When I first separated, I had already decided that the circle of friends that I had with my husband that were his friends and their wives, that I was not going to be able to really maintain that or be a part of that for many reasons. One of them was financial. They were all in the upper income brackets and it’s just that their lifestyle and I think our lifestyle with them was going on trips. Even if it was just a weekend away, those can be fairly costly when you’re staying at really a nice place and going out for fancy dinners.
They liked to go out to these expensive restaurants. There was a lot of emphasis in that group on gift giving, whether it was a birthday or Christmas, it was the bigger the better, the more expensive, the better; almost like a competition and I was just exhausted from it all. I really was. I just felt that I couldn’t keep up with it and it was just something I needed to let go of.
That solved its own problem. Financially, I didn’t have to worry about that stuff anymore. There was no more, “What do I buy so and so?” My gift budget just went down to quite a bit less than it had been.
Then of course socially a lot of things changed with friends during the separation. Some of it was just unexpected. One of the women who I thought was a really good friend, her husband worked for our family business. I helped them move into their new house. I think it was just a couple of weeks before I moved out of my house. I just was very disappointed with how things turned out there. It’s almost like she didn’t need me anymore. And I came to realize I was a role in her life. It’s like a stepping stone almost. Not that she was a bad person. She has lovely qualities and we had a good friendship, but I saw it for what it was. I hadn’t seen that before.
Sometimes a divorce will do that where you certainly reevaluate a lot of relationships.
You kind of just drift apart. All of a sudden you have different priorities, things that are more important. Sometimes it is just getting through that day, never mind three months from now and never mind so and so’s birthday. Your priorities change.
I think the best people are the ones that have actually been through the divorce process themselves, because they really get it. They really understand how hard it can be just to get through one day.
At that time, blogging wasn’t really a thing and I was hardly even on the Internet. I think I joined Facebook in 2007 and it was just a few relatives like nephews and nieces. Resources just weren’t there like they are now. It’s just fantastic now, because there are so many different places that women can go during this process and find that support. Just by clicking into the computer you can make friends on the internet. It’s just, what a world of difference.
I felt fairly alone. I did have a couple of good friends, but I didn’t have anyone that had been through the process themselves and I think that would have helped. Like now with the internet, it’s like boom. You can find a blog and there’s not just the person writing the blog, but all the people that come to visit are going through the same thing. You can get discussions going. It’s just really fantastic.
The Divorce Coach Says
Even if letting go of some friendships isn’t as conscious as Lisa’s decision, it’s inevitable that your friendships will change.
You may suddenly realize that you have fewer friends because many of these relationships were initiated and nurtured by your spouse.
You may find that some friends choose to take sides or for their own reasons are unable to be supportive of you. That’s often a sign that their own marriage is shaky.
Something you’ll want to be conscious of is divorce fatigue. While divorce will consume every aspect of your life, don’t let it consume every conversation you have with your friends. Be attentive to what’s going on in their lives.
You can guard against divorce fatigue by carefully building your Personal Divorce Support Team and making sure you have a therapist, counselor or divorce coach on your professional team … and be warned, venting or sobbing to your attorney will increase your legal fees really quickly.
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