I love my married friends with all my soul. But since my divorce, they cannot relate to my life the way they could when I was married. And that’s okay. More than okay.
As I was signing my divorce papers, I was surrounded by happily married women who didn’t have free nights like I did to sit over a platter of nachos or meet me at spin class.
While they were doing family life, I was trying to navigate single life. I realized one lonely Saturday evening when everyone else was enjoying family game night or a trip to the movies, I had two choices: I could either wallow in my sadness and really dig the knife in deeper by letting their lives make me feel even more lonely than I already was… or I could find myself some divorced friends to spend some time with.
I decided on the latter. Not only was it the best thing I could have done for myself, it was the best thing I could have done for my friendship with these married ladies.
After running into an old high school friend who was a few years ahead of me in the divorce process, I felt a wave of hope after a chat and we made a plan to get together that weekend.
I hadn’t seen her for over 20 years, but our dinner lasted three hours and I literally felt a weight lift off my shoulders. She let me in on all the stages you go through (she was so right) and was able to put some of the confusing feelings I was having into words simply because she’s navigated that madness and it was starting to make sense to her. Not to mention it felt so good to talk to someone who had been through it and to be able to be there for them, too.
We have some of the same child-free nights, and meeting her for a glass of wine or gelato has been the silver lining I needed. She knows what this kind of loneliness feels like, and she understands when I send her a text telling her I feel like I’ve taken a step back because she feels it too.
Then, there’s the woman I met online who’d been in the dating world for two years before I’d dipped my toe in. She gave me the “low down” on grooming “down below.” She helped me set up my dating profile and told me some of her horror stories. We laughed so hard I peed my pants at the bar.
Going through a divorce and dating again after having kids is not for the faint of heart. You need a wing woman because your sensitivity chip is so heightened, you literally overthink every move.
Also, it helps to have someone get you out of a bad situation with an “emergency” call alerting you that you need to leave your date ASAP and tend to an imaginary problem.
My divorced friends are a treasure I handle with care. They have been able to see me through some dark days. The mere fact they have gone through it takes some of the pain away. Humans don’t like to feel alone regardless of what they’re going through.
Their advice, our afternoons spent shopping at Target, and our text threads have been more valuable to me than therapy.
I love my married friends and sisters, but I realized after I wasn’t married anymore that my life has a separate compartment they simply cannot relate to. It’s not bad, it’s not sad, and it certainly is no reason to end the friendship. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in my life or offer excellent advice when I need it.
Having a few friends who have walked in my shoes and who know that divorce isn’t black and white — it’s not something you just “get over” — and can understand the lingering pain is priceless.
If you are going through a divorce, or have been divorced and don’t have any friends who have been through it, I cannot recommend getting yourself at least one divorced friend fast enough. It has been my saving grace, and I don’t know what I’d do with out these badass women in my life.
If you are worried about finding your new squad, believe me when I say you don’t have to look very far. Single moms are craving friends who can walk through this experience with them too, so don’t be afraid to ask that divorced fellow mom out for a cup of tea.
I guarantee she’ll say yes, and it could be the start of a wonderful friendship. I know because I now have three strong, divorced women in my life who never would have entered it had I not invited them.
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