Where Have All My Friends Gone?

The decree has been signed, it’s official and you are legally divorced. Hopefully, you are past the worst of it, you’ve grieved over your loss, you’ve settled into a new, single lifestyle, perhaps even found peace and harmony. But something is missing.

Perhaps your circle of friends has grown smaller. It’s sad, but common. Some of the people you considered friends won’t survive your divorce. Don’t be surprised or upset, it’s the natural order of things. Some friends may have drifted away immediately upon the announcement, maybe for some it took a little more time but eventually, they faded away too.

What is it about getting a divorce that causes some friends to disappear? It may be fear, rooted in the simple but illogical thinking that associating with someone whose marriage has ended may somehow cause contamination of their own. Many family and friends will take sides, choosing which spouse to support and who to remain in contact with. It’s rare for someone to remain friends with both ex-spouses, even if you and your ex aren’t mortal enemies.

Despite the fact divorce is more common and acceptable today, there is some lingering social stigma. It’s still a common belief that marriage is till death do us part. Your divorce may be objectionable in some friends’ eyes. The couple-oriented lifestyle is considered mainstream in our society; when you divorce you become a subculture of the single lifestyle. The change may influence how couple friends view their relationship with you, and if someone is insecure, they may even consider you a threat to their marriage with your new eligible single state.

Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences you will ever go through. You most likely will have friends that stick with you through it all, the keepers. Just remember, your emotional fall-out can be draining on them as well. If your time together has become nothing but a therapy session, all about you, you, you … it may affect even the longest and strongest of friendships, even stall them completely. Remember, friendship is about give-and-take.

The aftermath of divorce can be brutal, on you and your friendships. The good news is you will find new friends. Let nature take its course and weed out the friends that no longer fit into your new life. It’s all part of the process.  Don’t take it personally, it happens to just about everyone who divorces. So grieve for your losses, both your marriage and your old friends, and move on.