Losing Friends After a Divorce
The best way to approach a divorce is to expect the unexpected, but even if you enter with that mindset, there are still some things that will throw you for a loop. One of those very unexpected things is the loss of friendships. Who thinks that they will be losing friends after a divorce? During a time when you need your friends the most, this loss can feel devastating.
The Loss of Your Best Friend
The most obvious “friendship” loss is the loss of your spouse – essentially your best friend. Even if you had a rocky marriage from the get-go, they were still your person. You did everything together, and whether you like them or not, it’s a loss you must grieve.
It’s easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty side of a divorce – the lawyers, the division of assets, the co-parenting plan. Once all that dust finally settles, you’re left with a hole that needs to be filled. An empty side of the bed, an extra spot at the dinner table, no one to call on your way home from work. That hole can hit you smack dab in the face if you aren’t expecting it.
Coping with losing friends after a divorce is much like coping with death. You have to grieve it and find new things to fill up the hole that is left behind. Talking about your feelings with an experienced individual, such as a therapist or a divorce coach, is a good way to get through this. A divorce coach, in particular, will walk beside you along this new path as you cope with the loss in healthy ways.
You can also lean on your friends, but what happens if you also lose some of those friends during the divorce? This is actually more common than you might think, and it’s a loss that can definitely be unexpected if you aren’t prepared for it.
The Friends Who Choose Sides
Remember that feeling of being picked for teams in gym class? Not wanting to be the last one picked because you thought your social life would be over if you were? Obviously, as adults, we know that being picked by someone else doesn’t validate our self-worth, but it’s still a lousy feeling when you’re not picked.
A similar situation can take place during a divorce when it comes to mutual friends. Maybe you and your spouse met in college and all of your college friends are still married. Who gets to “keep” those friends? Or maybe you’ve created friendships with the parents of your kid’s friends. Is it going to be awkward now when you drop them off at their friend’s house if those parents are still in touch with your ex?
Staying in touch with mutual friends can be tricky after a divorce, which is why someone usually ends up choosing a side. Either it’s too uncomfortable for you or your spouse to stay in contact with them, or the mutual friend feels caught in the middle and opts for one or the other.
Prepare yourself for this because it’s bound to happen with at least a few of your friendships. You can’t really blame them. They probably want to be there for you, but imagine being stuck in the middle of battling exes? It doesn’t sound like an enjoyable experience. This is the time to really think about the friendships you value the most. Fight for those ones. The ones that aren’t as meaningful? It’s okay to take one for the team this time around and let those friendships go.
The Friends Who Can’t Handle It
A divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. You need to surround yourself with the people who aren’t scared to ride the ups and downs with you. Not everyone is equipped to handle this.
The friends you can call at midnight when your brain won’t shut off and you’re having trouble falling asleep? Those are your people. The ones who ignore your calls and texts and roll their eyes every time you mention your ex? They’re not your people. They may have suited pre-divorce you, but post-divorce you need fellow warriors on your side.
If the thought of letting all of these friendships go seems overwhelming, that’s okay. Divorce is a big change, and it will impact your life in more ways than you could possibly imagine. Switching your mindset from what you’re losing to what you’re making room for can really be the game-changer.
New Friendships, New Opportunities
Once you learn to let go of the friendships that are no longer serving you, you’ll realize how much room you have to fill up those spaces with new and exciting friendships. This is your chance to build a community around you that uplifts and supports you. You’re no longer choosing friends based on your ex- you’re choosing friends for you!
You might be surprised where you find these new friendships. A dating app swipe that felt like a miserable date may actually turn into one of your best friends. A new romantic partner may bring an even better crew of mutual friends along with them. That divorced parent who always sits alone at the PTA meetings? Now is the perfect time to reach out and create a new friendship with them.
If you ever had a judgmental bone in your body before your divorce, divorce will take that judgment right out of you. You’ll see people in a whole new light, and you’ll know what characteristics to look for to create your tribe of supportive, post-divorce friends.
Your divorce is when you’ll finally learn the true meaning of a friend. Someone who has your back, no matter what, and who pushes you to be the best version of yourself. The so-called friends who didn’t during your divorce, let them go.
If you are experiencing this loss or know of someone that is we are here for you! Our tribe understands where you are, have been, and are going. Find your tribe… join our Split.fyi community.