When Friends Abandon You in the Middle of Divorce

By Nanda Davis on
When Friends Abandon You in the Middle of Divorce

No doubt life’s ups and downs are easier to handle when you have good friends by your side. You might imagine the early stages of your divorce in the company of the guys drinking beers or on the back porch with your girlfriends sipping chardonnay. But what happens when you’re in the middle of divorce hell, and suddenly those you thought were your closest friends are nowhere to be found?

Feeling abandoned by your friends at such a vulnerable time is hard. You might feel angry as you think about all the times you’ve been there for your friends or resent the fact that if the roles were reversed you would be there for them. As your friends dodge your calls or requests to get together, you might start feeling as if you are going crazy. You might even start to have feelings of depression and wonder if you are worthy of love at all.

The question remains, why do some friends make themselves scarce when you’re going through a divorce? If this scenario sounds familiar, first, know that you are not alone and second, keep reading.   

They Might Not Be in a Position to Help You

Understand the support you may need during a really contentious divorce is more than most people can provide. Very few people have the time or the emotional energy to listen to someone vent all their anger and hurt that is common during divorce. This may sound selfish on the part of your friends, but in reality, most people already have full lives, juggling work, kids, health issues, elder care and financial struggles. 

Chances are your friends have personal crises they have not even shared with you. If your friends are already struggling to deal with their own burdens in life, they are more than likely not in a position to be able to help someone else. It’s hard to keep in mind what others are going through when you are so consumed by the problems with your divorce. But it helps to remind yourself their behavior could have nothing to do with you.   

They Don’t Want to Pick Sides

Some friends don’t want to pick sides during a divorce. If you’ve been with your spouse for a while, there’s a strong possibility that you share a friend group and they don’t want to choose one of you over the other. Your friends might have to continue to interact with your ex at sports practice for the kids, at work or at church, and knowing too many details could make these interactions awkward and hard. Also, if they view your ex as a friend, hearing about what went on in your marriage could be too upsetting for them. Keep in mind even if your ex was a terrible spouse, that doesn’t mean that he or she was also a terrible friend.

Divorce Changes You

Whether you finally worked up the courage to leave or you had to pick up the pieces after someone left you, divorce changes people.  It realigns your priorities, your outlook on life and many times increases your grit and resilience.  These changes can be very positive for you in the long run, but it will also mean that you simply won’t be as compatible with certain people in your life as you once were – and that’s okay.

Tips If You’re Not Getting the Support You Need

It Won’t Always Be This Way

Remember, it will not always be this hard and this is just a season. When feelings of anger, sadness or loneliness overwhelm you, it can seem as if it will never end. Just keep telling yourself that it will get easier and better as time goes on– because it will.

Sometimes all it takes is one night of good sleep for your feelings to seem a little less intense. Other times eating a good meal is enough to slow the spiral of frantic thoughts just enough so you can get through the rest of your day. Hang in there and be kind to yourself.

Seek Professional Help       

It’s important to know that professional help is available, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed. No friend or family member can replace the help of a skilled therapist during such a stressful time. The objectivity of an outside professional can be invaluable — even with the strongest support from friends and family.

A Good Therapist Will:

  • Give you suggestions for coping mechanisms you can practice in between sessions when you feel overwhelmed by emotion;
  • To be slightly uncomfortable as you discuss and process painful topics;
  • Offer empathy for the struggles you are going through;
  • Establish trust and a relationship in which you feel comfortable.

If your current therapist is not giving you the help you need, find a new one ASAP.

In conclusion, forgive the friends who cannot be there for you right now and don’t hold grudges. Focus on self-care during this difficult time, and who knows, you might meet new friends during this time who can better understand what you are going through and offer their support. Remember, with or without friends by your side, you are strong enough to get through this.

If you’re looking for legal counsel that will also provide support and resources for you, don’t hesitate to contact us today.