Many divorcing and separating people say that loss of friends is among the most distressing effects. But why are they so important ?
Keeping your friends
Friends will feel upset about a split. They may start telling you ‘oh, I always thought it would happen’ or ‘I never liked her’, which is a bit disconcerting.
Joint friends are more complicated, as many take sides. People often feel divorce is infectious. You upset their dinner table arrangements. Whom are they going to invite to the party or wedding? They often fear the embarrassment of awkward silences or people losing their tempers. And if there are new partners involved, your friends may be reticent about inviting them, too, as they feel a loyalty to your ‘ex’ or embarrassed about how the occasion would work out.
Help from friends
We have high hopes of friendships and can feel angry and hurt if our hopes and expectations are not met.
Change is a test of true friendship.
Be aware that some friends will listen, but they will try to take your side, so they might not be the best companions at this time ‘ you might feel you want to keep talking about the past but try to make a positive move towards living in the now
Some ‘friends’ will find your pain too difficult to go near, they won’t know what to say, they will back away. They may feel guilty and will back away even further. This happens, it’s not your fault, it’s about their own difficulties and lack of awareness. It might help if you explain that you want their company not their solutions, if not try not to become to angry or bitter as this will make your recovery more difficult.
The friendships you had when you were a couple can become a battleground for one-upmanship between you and your ex. You might feel good when you’re the one included, but be aware that you will feel sad when the tables are turned.
It’s great when these friendships move forward with you, if not you have to accept that that was then and this is now.
Be careful to communicate with friends, don’t just turn to them at the bad times ‘ remember you still have something to give to them
Try to link with people who have been through the same circumstances. They may have only been acquaintances in the past ‘ but they can be very good friends, they know what you are going through. These may be short friendships, that’s fine, but some will last.
When do I tell friends about the split?
It all depends on how close you are to them. ‘Best’ friends may be involved from the outset, whereas mere acquaintances may only hear about your split after the event.
What support can I expect from friends?
You should be able to draw on support from closest friends when you split up. Maybe you can stay at their place a few nights, or talk endlessly about what’s happened. If the need to talk goes on for a long time, they can experience ‘compassion fatigue’. Don’t forget, they have their troubles, too.
Who else can I turn to?
If you need to talk and download emotionally goes on for a long time, get some counselling help. Talk to your GP or contact your local Relate office. Yes, you can go alone.
Please Submit Your Own Story…
Please consider sharing your story with others suffering now. How you coped? How you felt? What helped? What were the circumstances that led up to your separation? How do you cope with loneliness? The more you can share the better.
Your story really does help others who are going through the same gut wrenching pain. Your story reinforces the fact that they are not alone in their suffering.