Divorce stirs up all kinds of emotions in people. Some people base their feelings on their relationship with the couple divorcing. Perhaps others base it on their own experience with divorce themselves or as a child. That's all understandable.
It's was the friends that took my divorce personally that surprised me the most.
We were a group of five couples that did many things together. We vacationed together, we had girls trips, play dates with the kids and all the fun things people do together with their families and friends. It was all of that until my divorce upset the party. Couple down.
Certainly, I thought, this wasn't going to mess up the friendships I had made or the play dates with our children -- but it did. My ex husband and I agreed to have a friendly divorce. We weren't going to take sides and hoped our friends wouldn't either. We specifically sent that message out to everyone. I figured, if the ex and I can be cool, certainly everyone else could be cool. Right?
Wrong. Slowly but surely I felt people pulling away. There was definitely a vibe in the air when I came around -- Oh no, it's the pariah! Here she comes to ruin it for all of us! I don't know if they really realized they were giving off that vibe, but they were indeed giving it off. One of my better friends in particular was very upset by my decision to divorce. "Don't you get married for better or for worse?" she asked. "Ideally, yes." I answered. Sometimes we make mistakes. Was I not allowed forgiveness for a mistake?
As the months passed by, I found my group of friends pulling away, but two of the crew called me up to let me know that they were still my friends. They were, although we never really hung out anymore. You could say that one was busy with small children and the other busy working, but sadly, it wasn't the same. Not that I expected everything to be exactly the same, but I still expected my friendships with my girls to be the same. Unfortunately, they were not.
My "best" friend in the crew stopped calling and stopped including me in things. This stung the most. Our children were the exact same ages and we all played together since they were born. Literally. We had so much fun together, we even began to develop a television pilot together. We shared lots and lots of information. You know, the kind of information you probably wouldn't share with anyone that you thought wouldn't be your friend in five years kind of information. Obviously those years of friendship were not strong enough to survive my divorce to my husband.
Soon after the finality of the divorce, there were less and less invitations out with that crew. Less phone calls, less emails, less texts.
To be quite honest, it definitely hurt my feelings that I was no longer part of the group I was used to spending my time with. It hurt a lot. But you know what? I'm a tough cookie and that hurt soon dissolved and new friends were found. Real friends that are still my friends today.
Here are three signs that you have a fake friend:
1. She/he runs at the first sign of trouble. Doesn't want any association with you.
2. She/he gossips about you behind your back, but is kind to your face.
3. She/he disappears or becomes scarce when the good times go bad.
As Oprah Winfrey has said, "Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
So, did I lose some friends? Not real friends, as it turns out.