Updated: Oct 29
Ahh how divorce impacts friendships. . let me count the waves.
This issue is a common struggle for those adjusting to life post divorce. Suddenly, the friends who you vented to about getting your child to eat vegetables is avoiding you like the Black Plague. The avoidance is painful but what is worse is that it is often expressed in covert ways. You were forgotten about for the holiday get-together and assumed to not want to come to the couples-only events.
Those of us who have experienced this phenomena often go into MIND READING. This is when we assume that somebody is thinking negatively about us, even though we have not checked it out with them. Mind reading often leads people to isolating and removing themselves from others. People might even take this one step further to assume that they are unlovable and therefore, not desired anymore in ANY social situations.
So before you transform from a social and lively adult into a quiet and monk-ified one; ask yourself these questions:
Were these GOOD relationships to begin with?
What might this person be projecting onto me with their cut-off?
How can I speak to this person in an authentic way to open up the discussion?
Might this person feel torn between having to choose between the two of us?
Is this person judgmental in general?
Then, take action.
Divorce is a grueling transformation-- but, it is also an opportunity to readjust your life to having only positive and life-affirming people in it. For myself, I realized that some of my “friends” were only acquaintances out of social circle expectations but were never truly friends to begin with. Out with the old and in with the new! Now is the time to find like-minded individuals who level you up in life and support you in being the best possible version of you. Find your new tribe! For me, this was a group of other single mamas who were rocking life. I wanted to be like them!
Repeat this saying: The only form of rejection is self rejection. Nobody can MAKE you feel rejected if you are feeling confident. What you will find is that some of these friends might project onto you their version of adulthood and life, in general. You might know one who is unhappily married, or religious to the point where divorce is not an option, or feel that marriage should last until children go to college, or are angry still that their parents divorced, or feel jealousy that you have weekends free of child-care duty, etc. etc. Get my drift? People will project onto you their OWN issues. Some people even think of divorce as a contagious disease and I have heard husbands ask their wives to stop hanging out with their “divorced friend.” Again, you become the recipient of FEAR, ANGER and PROJECTIONS. If your friends are unaware of this behavior and act on it, it is time to move on. Do not take their freeze-out personally. Instead, realize they are people who are just not in touch with their feelings and beliefs.
There is strength in numbers! Though it’s not widely known, there are more of us divorced folks than married ones. The statistics show that over half of first marriages end in divorce and the rates go up for second and third marriages. Take power in that! The only reason that this is not widely known is that our society does not celebrate divorce. We do not talk about it! So change the script and start talking! Then, talk about it more and more. And no, I don’t mean the "Let me tell everybody how awful my ex. is" story (everybody has already heard that!) I mean, the ‘LIFE IS GREAT AS A SINGLE PARENT’ stories! Share the positives with people. This might help them come around when they see that you are acing divorce. They might take their cues from you and when they see that you are happy – well then, they jump aboard!
Recommended To Do’s:
Meetups – check out your local meetings and connect with others who have the same interests.
Check out travel sites like www.singleparenttravel.net and book your next adventure!
Start doing the activities that you have always wanted to do – BUT ALONE! You will not die – I promise! Want to check out a band, hike, start kayaking? JUST DO IT. Alone is MUCH better than with somebody you despise!
Initiate get-togethers. This year, nobody planned anything for my birthday. So I sent out invites to my friends. Otherwise, I would have sat home alone.
Join Divorce Recovery Groups – whether through Facebook or in your community.
Enroll in a Post Divorce Retreat.
Smile and Say “hello” to the world – put out good heart energy and the world will answer! Don’t be shy!
Think outside the box. Do not limit yourself to friends only in your age bracket, parents etc.
Volunteer your time!
Use Dating Sites as a fun way to meet new friends vs. only seeking your soulmate. There will be less pressure and more fun that way!