Divorce can seem like the loneliest thing in the world, especially when it is the time you need the support of friends and family members more than ever before. “Compared with married individuals, divorced individuals are less involved in social activities and report more social isolation,” write Alan J. Hawkins and Tamara A. Fackrell (97). These two authors of the book A Guidebook for Individuals and Couples at the Crossroads of Divorce talk about how extensive the impact of divorce can be on our outside relationships.
We often lose friends and family members during a divorce. Sometimes we cut ties with them because they remind us of our relationship with our ex-spouse, sometimes friends ally with one spouse and not the other, and sometimes the friends cut themselves off from us to avoid the drama and tension of our divorce. This is especially true of “couples friends,” as The Journal of Divorce and Remarriage found that 1/8th of all couples interviewed lost ties with both spouses if their friends divorced. Men in particular have fewer friends outside of the marriage than women do, so they are gutted of a support network before the divorce even takes place.
If you are considering a divorce, try hard to maintain your closest friendships or even establish new ones; try not to isolate yourself with your own problems, as this can make them feel worse. Hawkins and Fackrell write, “individuals will bounce back [from a divorce] quicker given certain circumstances, such as… higher levels of social support from family and friends” (97). However, make sure not to burden your friends with your crumbling relationship or impending divorce, as this can make your friends uncomfortable, feel like they need to take sides, or give you advice you don’t need before the divorce actually happens. Try taking a trip with just your friends to take your mind off the divorce as well as reinforce the strength of the friendship. Your friends can be a fantastic support network, especially if they have been through similar situations.