Equations change with divorce

Common Friends

Equations change with divorce

Divorce takes its toll on the couple.

Some things that change radically along with divorce are the friendships that the divorcing couple made while they were married.

“Most of the time, couples come by these friends together. But once news of an impending divorce is out, the equation changes completely. Common friends often think they have a moral dilemma of their own to resolve. Which partner do they stay in touch with or should they abandon both so as not to make a choice,” says marriage counsellor Phyllis Nazareth.

“I must confess that we barely saw our divorced friends after their split. It wasn’t deliberate. We just figured they were busy living their new, exotic single lives and our friendship was a constant reminder of an unhappy experience they were trying to put behind them,” says Sunil Sachdev, who admits that though divorce is common place, it is very awkward to stay friends with the divorcing couple for many reasons.

“From bitter experience, the main pastime for divorced people seems to be spouse bashing. No matter how hard you try and stay neutral as you were friends with both of them at a certain point you end up being forced to take sides,” says Pamela Rosario, who found herself avoiding her former close buddy for this reason.

Sushil Pande found that the ramifications of divorce go way deeper than legal, property or social issues saying. “Once you go through a life-altering experience like divorce, every aspect of your life changes including your friendships. It is important to expand your social circle, by re-connecting with old friends you haven’t met in years or simply making new friends. Since they were not a part of your married-with-children phase, they are much easier to relate to. Common friends often make things worse either by trying to get you back together, or constantly irritating you by what your ex-said or did.”

“Sadly, divorce can tax even the closest ties so in order to salvage the friendship with one or both of the divorcing people certain guidelines should be followed. Offer your hand to hold, your shoulder to cry on and your ears to listen in a non-judgmental fashion.”

“Refrain from giving advice and encourage the person to get professional help since you are not qualified to delve into the complexity of the situation. If you want to remain friends with both, let each know that you value their individual friendships even though they are no longer a couple. Let them also know you are inviting the other when planning a party so they can decide whether or not they feel comfortable in attending,” advises Phyllis.

“Divorce can suddenly become a game of, “Who gets the friends?” and no judge makes that call. Divorcing couples often find friends they thought would see them through thick and thin vanish. They are sadly left to face being single all alone as if divorce is a contagious disease happily married couples may catch,” he says.

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