You may expect that your friends will be there through thick and thin. During a divorce, you may hope that you can use your friends as a shoulder to cry on. Sadly, this does not always happen.
You may find that while you are in the midst of a divorce, your friends are nowhere to be found. While some of them stick around, many leave, many distance themselves, and others disappear forever. In fact, a woman can expect to lose 40% of her friendships when going through a divorce.
This can be devastating, whether you are a man or a woman. Why do friends desert you when you need them the most? Why can’t they stick around when times are tough? Why can’t they be more tolerant and empathetic about your divorce?
There is Fear Involved
Friendships go on the wayside after a divorce for two main reasons — fear and grief. Fear is the driving factor. Your friends fear the unknown. They do not know how to proceed. Many friends do not know how to support someone who is going through a divorce. Instead of communicating with you, they may disappear from your life because they do not want to do the wrong thing and end up making things worse.
A divorce can be especially agonizing for your friends if they were also friends with your spouse. They do not want to choose sides, so they decide not to choose either side.
Or maybe they do choose a side, and it is not yours. It is possible that your friend may think that you treated your spouse badly or you were in the wrong about a marital matter. In these cases, they may be siding with your spouse. It is also possible that you may lose friends because they were friends in your spouse’s network in the first place.
Your Friends are Grieving Your Loss
Grief is another factor to consider. When you go from married to single, it can be a huge adjustment not just for you, but your friends and family. You are hurting, and as a result, your friends are hurting as well. However, they do not want to deal with the grief. They just want it to go away, so they ignore your feelings. They ignore you altogether, making your divorce even more painful.
The truth is that people want to be happy, so your friends may not want to be around you because of the negativity. While you should feel free to express your emotions, most people do not want to deal with it non-stop. They do not want to feel as though they have to help you handle your grief every time they see you. So they stay away, which is hurtful but it is the reality of the situation.
Your Status Has Changed
If your friends are married, they may be avoiding you because your status has changed. This problem tends to affect primarily women. Now that you are divorced, you are seen as the single woman of the group. So what does this mean? It means your friends now see you as a threat.
It may seem childish, but now that you are single, you are seen as a “maneater.” Partner poaching is a real concern among women, although it is unknown why a woman would suddenly take interest in someone else’s spouse simply because they are single. But studies show that a surprising number of relationships are the product of stealing someone else’s partner, so the concern, while seemingly weird, is valid. While men do poach partners from time to time, women seemingly do it more.
Divorce Can be Contagious
Many people fear that if they hang around friends who have divorced, their marriages will end in divorce as well. This sounds like another weird theory, but it is a valid concern caused by social contagion. Studies show that divorce can in fact be contagious. If a friend or family member divorces, your marriage also has a 75% risk of ending in divorce. Even if a friend of a friend is divorced, your marriage’s risk of divorce is 33%. So what this means is that divorce is like a rumor. It can spread through a social network, affecting a wide range of people.
There is Still a Stigma
Divorce occurs in roughly half of all marriages, so splitting is not all too uncommon. While people are generally becoming more accepting of divorce, it is still seen as a stigma in some religions and cultures. Even in our society, being in a relationship is part of the mainstream culture. Also, in some social circles, divorced people are placed in the same categories as singles and seen as negative influences. They are often seen as failures. Some people see divorced people as immoral, while others consider it shameful and selfish, especially if children were involved. Many people also believe that those who are divorced are lazy and not willing to take the time to work things out. So there is a lot of negativity still associated with divorce.
Seek Legal Help
It can be sad to know that your friends may not be around during and after your divorce. Many feel uncomfortable about the process, especially if they have never experienced divorce before.
If your friends are not there for you, get the support you need from Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler. We will provide you with legal and emotional support so you can move on with ease. Get started by scheduling a consultation. Call our office at (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.