I worry. I worry about a lot of things. I worry about my kids, I worry about my dog (yet another ear infection? Was he not breastfed??), I worry about my car, I worry about the future and whether or not I left the light on in the laundry room.
I worry a lot about what I feel. I worry that I will never be in love again, that whatever little lobe or mass of nerve endings in my brain that controls love has been irreparably damaged by Tropical Storm Divorce. I think about how nice it would be to fall in love, how nice it would be to share my life with someone I really and truly cannot live without, and then I think about the fact that despite dating and trying to find some semblance of love over the past 5 years, it has yet to happen.
One thing I don't worry about, though...my friends. It's taken some time, but I have come to realize that I am surrounded by an awesome group of people who have my back no matter what. When I get emails or messages or comments from women who are now facing life solo, one of the first things I tell them is "gather your friends around you". Without my friends, I would not have made it through my darkest hours. Without them, my brightest moments wouldn't have been so bright.
Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. I think that same thought applies to friends, as well. Here is my little opinionated guide to the friends you may come across on your journey through DivorceVille. And here's my disclaimer: This doesn't describe any of my friends individually. It's kind of an amalgamation of the hens you may stumble across, and hopefully keep as friends, as you recover and get on with life. Truth is, I've probably been all of these friends myself, at one time or another. Except for the one with boyfriends. That's not me.
1. The Marriage Friends
These are the friends you used to double-date with, back in the day. They might have been part of the group you and your ex hung out with before and after you got married. She might have even introduced you two. When you got divorced, these friends chose you over your ex, even though her husband may still be friends with him. She's a valuable friend because she knows what your life used to be like. She was there when it all went down, and she's stuck by you in the aftermath. She'll defend you if the need arises, and she'll sing your praises in mixed company. This one is a keeper.
2. The Kindred Spirits
These are your Divorce Sisters. They've been through their own hell and lived to talk about it. This is the friend who knows EXACTLY what you're talking about when you bring up concerns about your kids and your finances and your future. She's the one you call when you get a scary email from your attorney, she's the one you call when one of your kids asks you why you don't have big diamond earrings like Daddy's new wife. She'll laugh with you, cry with you, empathize with you. She gets you. You get her.
3. The Blast from The Past
You two used to be friends. Maybe as far back as elementary school, but most likely in high school and college. She may have been one of your work friends at your first real job. You guys parted ways before the whole marriage and kids scene, but thanks to the wonders of social media, your paths have crossed again. These friends are awesome because they knew you before real adulthood happened, they knew you when you were young and single and partied without care. When you think about it, you're kind of back in that same boat, except now you're not so young, you're divorced and you're way too tired to party. But she always has horrifying/funny pictures of you wearing your best 80's attire and she is the one who remembers EVERYTHING you did at Sexy Steve's kegger after the homecoming game. This one is gold.
4. The In-Betweener
This is the friend who is in a similar situation to yours: she may be divorced, or separated, or somehow single like you. She's out there looking for love, and finds it with alarming success. She is the one you will hang out with while she's in-between boyfriends (hence the name). I'm not saying this in a bitter or jealous or snarky way, believe me. Sometimes this is just the kind of friendship you need. When this friend needs consoling or commiseration after her latest endeavor goes south, be there for her. She'll be the first to give you a high-five when you finally find your Prince Charming.
5. The Cheerleader
This one is kind of a catch-all...she can be many of your friends all rolled up into one ball of fabulous. She can be a he, even. These are the friends who are always, always in your corner, ready with water or bandaids or a martini. They know just what to say, and exactly when to say it. They'll surprise you with a big hug out of the blue, or a sweet card in the mail, or an impromptu invite out for happy hour. They won't always be so obvious about it, though, sometimes these friends cheer you on behind the scenes. The Cheerleader somehow always knows when you need a little pom-pom waving and is always willing to do it.
6. The Kid's Friends Mom Friend
(Please excuse my slaughtering of the apostrophe placement. Im' working on it.) This friend is one you wouldn't have met if it weren't for your kids. She's the mom on the baseball team, the other room parent, the chick you get paired with when you volunteer to help with picture day at the junior high. She isn't going to be as close to you as some of the other ladies, but she'll be the kind face in the crowd on Open House night, or the one who will chat with you when you're standing there all alone at the 6th grade band concert. She'll be the one who offers up rides to games, or day-long playdates when you really need a break. She'll be the one who drops off a plate of brownies when she drops off your kid, or the one who takes your darlings out to eat when your checkbook is emaciated. Sometimes, if all of the planets align just right? She ends up being a close friend.
7. The Best Friend
If you're lucky, and I mean really, really lucky...you will have at least one of these. This is the friend who may or may not know exactly what you're going through. Chances are, she's happily married and has never taken a dip in Divorce Pond. But somehow, she knows how to relate. She will bring you and the kids up to her cabin, she'll join the gym with you, she'll invite you to movies or concerts and offer to drive. She'll let you borrow just about everything besides her husband and won't judge you when you return it a little late or showing a little wear. She'll be upfront with you about your wardrobe choices (like, "How many days in a row are you going to wear those yoga pants, honey?") or your choice in men, and she'll let you be when you are in one of your hermit phases (and maybe even more importantly, she'll know when to drag your sorry ass out of the house). She'll come to your parties, she'll befriend your kids, she'll either give your ex dirty looks or else be the grown up and be all polite with him when they cross paths. She will make sure your kids don't starve, and she'll also make sure they treat you well. She'll toast your victories and she'll wipe your tears when you fail. This is the woman who will pull you aside and tell you that you need to wax your upper lip, and the woman who will overlook the fact that your house resembles New Orleans after Katrina. I am so very fortunate to have more than one of these babes in my stable. It's my wish that every single one of you has at least one of these friends.
Divorce is scary. It can be messy and soul wrenching and it can turn your life upside-down. Having friends around when everything is changing like this is quite possibly the easiest, most economical and for sure the most enjoyable divorce therapy available.
Remember: friends don't let friends get divorced alone.