Few people consider how the pain of a divorce can spread ripple effects onto the couple’s friends and their friendship. We all know it affects the family, but friends are rarely considered in the divorce equation.
The truth is, friends are frequently impacted negatively when a couple undergoes a divorce. Here are some of the ways friends can be touched:
1. Friends of a divorced couple are more likely to face a divorce themselves. The reason is that once the concept of divorced has been introduced, it becomes real, even for friends. Also, listening to a divorced or divorcing friend discuss how much better he or she feels being independent and free can make divorce seem more viable and attractive. It is almost as if one divorce coupling can influence the way an entire circle of friends thinks. It can also reduce the social stigma associated with divorce. When a friend divorces, it suddenly becomes more acceptable.
Research has shown that if you witness a coworker’s divorce, your own chances of getting divorced may increase by over 50 percent. The same study indicates that if you have children, you will remain far less affected by a coworker’s or friend’s divorce. A couple with children has greater reason to remain together, which a childless couple may be tempted by the idea of freedom.
2. Since married couples frequently create a tight social circle, many friendships may be affected. No more shared dinners, no weekends away together, no more double dates. Some couples cease socializing with one divorcing partner, while sometimes, it is simply easier to avoid contact with both. Many lives can suddenly change because of one divorce. Couples and singles rarely spend quality time together – it tends not to be a good fit. So, people begin to drift apart.
The most durable relationship when a person is undergoing a divorce is a friendship that exists outside of the marriage, such as a work friend or an old college friend. In these instances, there are few loyalties to the friend’s spouse, so they are more apt to be loyal to their friend.
3. When friends get divorced, it can be difficult to stay neutral. It is far more natural to lean toward one partner. It is difficult to continue both friends on an equal basis and creating a distance with both can be the easiest solution to an awkward situation.
Reach Out To Your Friend
If it seems easier to spend less time with a divorcing friend and become less emotionally involved, consider that your friend is living through difficult times and may need a shoulder and support more than ever before. A good friend is there when needed.
Your relationship is likely to change during this period. He or she may be depressed and anxious and needier than usual. Understand that this is normal and remain positive for your own sake instead of being dragged into the morass. If your friend’s problems become serious, recommend counseling.
As a friend, you may also suggest the benefits of obtaining the services of a family law attorney. It’s a fine line threading between remaining neutral and being helpful.
Some people say that marriages may come and go, but a good friend is there forever. A friend’s divorce can either create distance, or it can draw you closer and forever seal your friendship.
Among married couples, a divorce in their social circle can be a true test for the entire group. Allegiances will likely change. The person you’ve been having lunch with every Saturday may suddenly become “busy.” Married friends may be afraid of “catching” the divorce bug and distance themselves.
It can be a true test of your friendship to remain a support to your divorcing friend. If your friendship survives, it will become one of the true treasures of your life, because you know it is something you can depend on.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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