Divorce doesn't just formalise the breakup of your marriage it recasts the whole of your life and all the relationships within it.
There is so much stress and trauma going on in your life and so much to understand from how to find a good family lawyer to getting to grips with the whole process of divorce that a key set of life enhancing relationships can be overlooked. Your friends.
Now friends can be a major problem in divorce. Firstly there is the ‘ownership' problem. Mine, yours and ours. This can be fraught as friends will often feel that they want to take sides and then feel beholden to support their ‘owner'.
Upon reflection they often see that taking sides can lead to difficulties both for them and for the divorcing couple. Being caught in the cross fire of a divorce gun battle is not a place you really want to be.
This usually results in the friends pulling back and staying out of the way. This also removes them from the divorce ‘zone of contagion' and makes it less likely that they will be infected by the highly contagious divorce virus. This is a very immediate fear for couples whose own marriage is less than rock solid.
After the divorce
After the divorce you need to reconstruct your life from the bits you have left. The whole new world of life after divorce needs to be redrawn and the battered network of friends needs to be restored. The ownership problem will again come to the forefront. Very often a couple who were firm friends in the pre divorce era will feel uncomfortable at the prospect of being friends to both of you as newly single individuals. They will then feel the need to choose between you. This will lead to an inevitable sense of loss and disappointment for all.
Rely on your best friend
Women always seem to have a tight group of female friends to provide them with support in times of need. It's not quite the same for men. However, if there is an old friend you can rely on in difficult times then use (but do not abuse) their sympathetic ear. It'll also make you feel less lonely and vulnerable. You should talk about your divorce and vent your anger, whether you're the one who initiated the divorce or the one who was left.
Avoid competitive refriending
Getting into a competitive situation with your ex in trying to revitalise friendships that have taken a battering during the divorce is not something you want to be doing. Nobody wins here and the resulting animosity will do nothing to benefit your life after divorce. If you can reach some understanding with your ex-spouse as to how the post-divorce allocation should work then that will be a great help to both of you.
Take it slowly and carefully
Invite one couple over for a drink or a meal at a time. Try to make sure that you have interests in common with both of them. This will facilitate a good flow of conversation between you all and avoid one of the couple feeling left out. We live in a society of couples and three for dinner could sound a bit spooky. Do, it anyway. Your life's changing so be bold and it will work out OK.
Don't go on about the divorce or your ex-spouse
If you're the one who was divorced then your friends will initially be sympathetic but they will soon want to move on and so should you. Endless rehashing of the divorce details will drive them away and be counterproductive for you too. We're not supposed to mourn a failed marriage in public, that's a private function and one that's best done as thoroughly and quickly as possible. It's not easy but when the mourning is over you will be so much better placed to get on with your life after divorce.
Friends are one of the things that make life worth living. This is a time in your life when they can be lost or just allowed to drift away. Make sure you keep the ones who you value and who value you and remember that in your new life after divorce there is a whole bunch of new people out there.