Friends and Your Divorce
Six Boundaries To Make Sure Your Friends are Loving And Supportive Versus Fuel To the Fire
by Sandra Baker of Flirt.com
Divorce is traumatic, no matter how you slice it. It is also a time when you need your friends most for their support, comfort, and to provide a safe place to come up for air. But sometimes friends can make things worse, whether they mean to or not.
Here are six boundaries you need to lay to make sure your friends are the loving support group you need, rather than the fuel to the fire:
1. Ignore the “Your Divorce is No Big Deal in the Grand Scheme” Rhetoric
Friends often think they’re being helpful by letting you know you’re not alone. The sentiment in and of itself is valuable, but it often comes out wrong. They might say things like, “Divorces happen all the time, don’t worry.” “Most marriages fail.” “I’m on my third divorce; it’ll get easier.” They think they’re marginalizing the issue and therefore minimizing your pain, but in the end, they’re just minimizing how devastating this is for you. You may not be able to avoid these comments or shut them down without hurting friends, but recognize them as good intentions and bad executions. By identifying them, they’re easier to ignore.
2. Shut Down the Late Snitches
Your friends may have seen your husband getting flirty with other women and elected not to tell you. They didn’t want to rock the boat or hurt your marriage, but now that you’re divorcing, there are no toes to step on, right? Now they’ll lay out all the past transgressions. All this does is make you feel betrayed. Rather than enduring those late snitches, which make you second guess everything – even the loyalty of your friends – tell them you don’t want to know. You can’t change it now; it’ll only make things harder.
3. Don’t Let Others Choose Your Lawyer
Good lawyers are hard to come by, so a recommendation is pretty valuable. However, if you choose your attorney based on your friends’ recommendations, you might be in trouble. Because they knew the lawyer first, they’ll feel a right to be more involved in your divorce than they may have otherwise. You might also feel obligated to explain details of your divorce and make them a bigger part of the process. After all, it wouldn’t be going so well without them, right? The bottom line is, there is nothing wrong with taking recommendations from your friends for a good divorce lawyer, but keep the friends out of your divorce. In other words, keep the details of your legal battle between you and your attorney.
4. Let it Be Known You Don’t Want Updates
When friends can’t help in any other way, many are tempted to be our spies, gathering intel and proving their loyalty to us. Knowing that your soon-to-be ex is miserable without you should lift your spirits, yeah? However, knowing this only rips open any healing that’s been accomplished and makes the disaster more the center of your life. Make it clear to your friends you don’t want to know what your spouse is doing, where, or with who. It can only make things more painful.
5. Give Disclaimers on What You Won’t Talk About During Hangouts
The best way to heal is to move on. You can’t move on when every hangout with your girlfriends inevitably brings up your spouse’s name, your divorce, or even memories from your marriage. They may think they’re being helpful asking how you’re doing and expecting a detailed response, but all this does is stir up bad feelings and memories. There is a time for talking and a time for living your life again. So before you agree to hang out, make it clear you want to talk about anything and everything other than those pain points. List them out if you need to!
6. Don’t Share When You’ve Started to Move On
People heal in their own way and at their own pace. If you never date again, that’s fine. If you wait years to try again, that’s okay. If you go on real-life dates or try to find someone new online, those are all good choices. You should definitely take time to heal and avoid rebound relationships, but if you’ve finally worked up to trying again, avoid the temptation to share the good news in detail. This will only invite criticism, words of caution that aren’t helpful, or pressure to succeed in your new relationships. Browse single women date sites, have coffee with someone new, and feel free to head to a social function if you feel like it. Live your life! But make sure you’re steady in your new life before you let others look in and start giving their opinions.
This post was sponsored by Flirt.com.
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