How have your friends reacted to your divorce? Have they been supportive or have you felt negatively judged? Do they have lots of opinions? Have they provided good advice?
Many of my clients have shared their experiences with me around their friendships and the impact their divorce has had on them. Some good experiences and some not so good…
Some have told me how disappointed they have been with the lack of support from certain people they thought were good friends.
My suggestions for an explanation about this are –
- They just don’t know how to react. Perhaps they hadn’t thought it would happen to someone in their friend group. It knocks them and they don’t know what to do.
- Seeing their friend get divorced can lead them to analysing their own marriage. Perhaps realising they are unhappy too which could be quite uncomfortable.
- They hope their “happy” marriage doesn’t end in divorce and feel uncomfortable being around a divorcing couple – as if they might “catch” the divorce illness.
- They don’t want their spouse getting any ideas that divorce could be the right thing for them, having seen their friend get divorced.
- One of the couple feels threatened by a newly single friend socialising with them. Even someone they have known for years. They can feel unsure about their spouse being around a supposedly “predatory” single person. Stupid, I know but sometimes true.
- Perhaps they came to know you as a couple through your spouse and have decided their loyalties must lie with him/her and so have decided they can no longer be friends with you. You’re therefore dumped as a friend, possibly through no fault of your own.
Is your own anxiety distorting reality?
The other thing to bear in mind is whether it is your own worries about the impact on your friendship that is causing you to think your friend/s is not being supportive. It important to get some perspective and to not jump to the negative conclusion because you’re going through difficult time.
Okay, so this might all sound a bit negative. I don’t mean it to. I just want you to know that if you’re struggled with friends being unsupportive or ghosting you during your divorce, you’re not alone and it could be to do with one or more of the reasons I’ve set out above.
If you find yourself in this situation, please remember:
- All the reasons above are their “stuff” and nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault or responsibility that they have decided to take this position. Don’t blame yourself.
- I am sure you will also have plenty of positive experiences where friends provide huge amounts of support for you in different ways. I know of plenty of positive experiences of my clients, where friends have been an incredible support as well as where more distant friendships have become much closer through the divorce.
- Divorce may mean leaving parts of your old life behind but also provides you with exciting opportunities for bringing new experiences and people in to your life. Your divorce could lead to you meeting lots of lovely new people and making great friendships with people who are more like you are now, rather than hanging on to people who have been in your life for a long time that you have nothing in common with any longer.
- If you are treated differently by a friend when you are going through this difficult time in your life, consider whether the friend is in fact worth keeping.
If you’re struggling to get the right support from your friends, think about working with a professional, such as a divorce consultant/coach. Everything we discuss is confidential and it is a safe place to discuss how you think and feel about your situation.
Written by Divorce Consultant Rhiannon Ford who features in The Hug Directory