My ex-husband and I grew up in the same small town and went to the same small school where everyone knew everyone. So naturally, we had the same circle of friends. Many of whom he was acquainted with before we started dating, and I got to know them and eventually became friends with them too. We had couples who joined us on vacations, camping trips, and cookouts for special occasions. Our children played together, went to each other's birthday parties, and we even attended the same church each Sunday.
Our divorce was discreet. Not many people knew we were getting a divorce until the divorce was final. So, I am sure it came as a shock to many, especially to those who were considered part of our "circle."
I may be naïve, but I guess I expected to have more support from our friends than I did. After all, they were friends with us both. I am so thankful for the friends who were by my side during that difficult time. The ones who saw me at my lowest point and were there to help lift me up and help pick up the pieces.
I am disappointed in those who, however, snubbed me as soon as the word "divorce" was attached to my name. I noticed quickly that instead of inquiring how the kids were, or how I was holding up, I was removed from social media profiles and was the topic of small town gossip. Not only was I divorced from my husband, it appeared I was also divorced from our mutual friends. *Insert a big fat sad face and a pint of chocolate ice cream here*
I suppose when a couple divorces, friends are saddened by the news, and it is some sort of defense mechanism to choose sides. You're friends with them both so what do you do? Sure, it is awkward for outsiders looking in, those who think they know us best. They do not know how to process what they do not know about why the marriage failed or understand our situation. It is sad that social stigma plays a part in this and makes us feel like we
It is sad that social stigma plays a part in divorce and makes us feel like we should choose sides. Well, I heard that he/she did this to him/her, I can't associate myself with he/she now because they did that, blah blah blah. Although a marriage ended, it does not mean those involved have changed who they are as individuals and what made them a good friend in the first place.
It hurt at first, but I am OK with the loss of those "friendships." I have forgiven those who abandoned me because they thought they knew about what happened in our marriage and chose to judge me for it. I have picked up the pieces, toughened up, and have met some new and incredible people along the way. I am blessed beyond measure to have gained new friendships and strengthened others during this phase of my life. And I am so very thankful for those who have stuck around.
For those who have lost friends after divorce, I understand and feel your pain! It hurts, but you know what? It is OK. I have learned in my experience that not all people are sincere and many will judge others for things they have not yet experienced themselves or even understand. Unfortunately, that's the world we live in and we must take the bad in with the good. I know that my experiences have made me more empathetic and compassionate toward others, and in turn, has made me a better friend to those who need me most.
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