I remember being really distressed at a friend’s response when I told her that I was getting a divorce. She was someone who I considered a good friend and when I called her I expected understanding and kindness. She was cold and critical, and in fact pretty much stopped communicating with me.
It was one of the most surprising and hurtful experiences of my divorce.
The responses of your friends are likely to be varied. Some will be predictable and others will surprise you. Over the years, working with clients on how to tell friends about your divorce, many have said that they have been shocked by a friend’s less than supportive response. More than that, they were confused. ‘But why did he/she react like that? Don’ they want me to be happy? I thought we were friends.’
Remember that your friends’ response to your divorce isn’t just about you….its about them. Your friends are invested in your marriage. It represents stability, certainty and order. Their investment is on two levels – the personal and the symbolic.
On the personal level is about how the pattern of how you and your partner fit into their life. Perhaps you regularly go out for drinks as part of a close knit group. Or you share the same interests and have good conversations and have ‘in jokes’. Maybe you holiday together each year. Or your kids go to the same school and you do parents evenings together. As odd as it may sound, your divorce will disrupt their pattern.
On the symbolic level ‘Marriage – Good. Divorce – Bad’. Divorce is of course much more accepted now, but it is accepted as an unfortunate event. It makes people uncomfortable.
If your friends give you a less than supportive response remember that they might be more invested in your relationship than you realise. Hopefully this will help to make sense of their reaction and give you a starting point to discuss it with them. Check this out http://thewayofthebody.co.uk/product/first-steps-to-dating-after-divorce/?