It was our regular girlfriends’ night out for drinks. It would be the usual chatter, catching-up, laughs, full disclosures and never to speak of again talk. But I knew that night I would probably share the news. My Oscar-winning performance of “Yes, All Good” was coming to an end, because I knew I’d be saying “by the way friends, my marriage is falling apart.”
During my marriage breakdown, it took me a while to tell my various circles of friends of my new state of the nation (read: heightened denial and unyielding perseverance).
Regardless of circumstances, along with the grief and anxiety you are dealing with in your own head, telling the world opens up the possibilities of external perceptions, judgments and of course, good old fashion ego bruises.
As unfounded and unproductive as those thoughts are, and they are just that, so you know, they can misguide you. It is important to remember your friends are safe ground and part of your support crew.
It was time to fess up. As I told them my news that night, they were in shock and at a complete loss to try and help me. As I looked at their faces, I was sad that I caused them concern. This really was my battle but they cared, and I had to tell them something that would help me to share.
Well let’s see, you usually drop off casseroles or lasagne for those in mourning right? So maybe soup is what you drop off to those mourning a relationship? Yup, bring me soup. We had a few laughs over the thought and yes cream-filled desserts, and layered anything with cheese, also made the cut in their emotional- healing phenomenon properties.
I knew they felt helpless not having gone through this, and not knowing the full impact to me and my children. As a friend, helpless is contradictory to your sworn duties of friendship. This is especially true during the bad times.
So why not help them, help you? (Everything I ever learned, I learned from Jerry Maguire).
Gentle guidance in this area to family and friends, is a gift for those who want to contribute to your journey, post marriage rebirth, new chapter…alright, first thing on the list is you can actually say the word divorce!
When you are ready to tell your friends about your relationship issues, why not give them a list of Do’s? An honest, maybe read between the sarcasm, list of things to do when they want to help you as you cope through, whisper it now – divorce.
The Girlfriends Guide to Divorced Girlfriends: #TGGTDG
1. Assume designated driver role for six months.
2. Buy her drinks during above DD period.
3. Never, I repeat never, look hotter than her in public.
4. Do not complain about your husband wanting to “do it” again (see number six).
5. Lose the pity face; she will bounce back. Any friend of yours will get through life lemons.
6. Withhold your right to complain about your trivial, but relevant to you issues until appropriate.
7. Listen without judgment for a three-to-six-month period.
8. Slap her in the face appropriately, after the no-judgement, three-to-six-month period.
9. Realize that sometimes when she says, “I’m fine” she is not. You need to get over there stat!
10. Be patient and understanding; your friend is still in there finding her way back.
11. Do not forget the marriage-mourning, egg drop soup.
So there you have it, a list for those wanting to help a friend through divorce. It is guaranteed to provide you with the assistance you actually crave – a much-needed smile, and a start to an honest conversation between friends.
In the end, life is a team sport. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. You will be better off and on your way to accepting your new normal, that much faster. That means everybody, including your friends, will be that much better for it. We have to believe that Dionne Warwick sang the truth in her song about friends…what was it called?
As for me, after that conversation about my marriage breakdown with my girlfriends, you know darn well there was a jar of homemade soup on my porch the following day!
Because after all, “that’s what friends are for!”