An unexpected side effect of divorce is the loss of your friends. It feels like you lost custody of not just the spouse but the friends as well, though in reality the friends dump you both. Even those who have been friends for years, perhaps since childhood, will shun you for ridiculous reasons or perhaps no reason at all. The couples with whom you and your ex socialized in the past suddenly treat you like a leper, afraid that divorce is contagious and will spread to them, destroying their marriage as it did yours. It seems to come down to a game of, “Who gets the friends?” and no judge makes that call.
Married same-sex friends shy away so as not to give the impression that they are also single. The friend’s spouse will either keep a wary eye on you, just in case you do something they can construe as you trying to lure their mate into spending time with you instead of them, or they may recognize an opportunity to offer you illicit comfort in order to get a little extra action on the sly. Those are the worst kind of creeps, looking for a chance to cash in on your pain under the guise of providing a shoulder when, in fact, what they are after is located somewhat lower in the anatomy.
A person finding him/herself divorced may react one of two ways: The “dumper” celebrates the newfound freedom or at least is comfortable with the demise of the marriage because they were the party calling the shots. The “dumpee’s” life, that is, the person on the losing end of the split, goes into a rut. The two categories, “dumpers” and “dumpees,” are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Dumpers are not seriously affected by losing the pre-divorce friends because they’re satisfied to make new ones, never missing a beat regardless of the depth of friendship(s) lost.
On the other hand, the “dumpee,” the one who is kicked to the curb, more often than not finds him/herself in a quandary. It hurts like mad when trusted pals no longer avail themselves to you the way they used to, such as for lunches or basketball games. Worse, they subtly let you know that, although you’ve been friends for awhile now, they just haven’t got time to listen to your troubles and there’s nothing they can do to help you anyway. Friends you thought would see you through thick and thin suddenly vanish, leaving you to face being single all alone. They don’t return your email messages and never have time to chat. A divorcee with no friends is a lost soul indeed.
Eventually, after the shock of the breakup has worn off, the new reality sets in. Divorcees come to realize that there is life after divorce and that they will move forward without those old friends whether they like it or not. They will either pick up the pieces and trudge forward into single life making new “friends” as they go (which they will forever hold at arm’s length, having lost trust in the concept of friendship) or, instead, will give up on having friends altogether, terminally jaded by the tragedy of divorce.
It’s painful when your friends dump you at the same time as your ex does. If you know a divorcee, or your social circle includes a couple who are divorcing, take care not to alienate the one who considers you a friend. The way karma work, someday you may need to seek comfort instead of being able to provide it. Remember, you have to be a friend to have a friend.