By Jennifer Giamo
If you were married for any length of time, chances are you and your spouse had many friends in common. Your friends became his, and vice versa. So what happens to these friendships when the common thread tying them together unravels? Most likely, there are choices to be made on both sides. In a perfect world, everyone could co-exist and things could remain unchanged forever. The unfortunate reality is that people choose “sides” or just naturally gravitate towards one person or the other.
Sometimes, it depends on the circumstances surrounding your divorce. Did your spouse do something horrific to cause the split? Did you both agree to amicably separate? Or were you the one who was to “blame” for ending the marriage? Friends may base their decision on these factors if they feel that one party was grossly mistreated. Others may not want to get involved in the details and stay neutral.
Most (if not all) of my friends were just as shocked as I was when my husband left. I can still recall every conversation on that day when my friends and family were dumbfounded. They couldn’t understand what had happened. I didn’t understand either. All I knew was that he was gone and it wasn’t good. For weeks we had no communication, and I knew in my heart he was never coming back.
READ ALSO: The Truth About Friendships After Divorce
It wasn’t until months later that the reason behind his abrupt departure became clear. He was in another relationship. Unfortunately for me, this relationship was somewhat public, making it not only impossible to ignore but mortifying as well. I knew my friends and family would eventually find out so I had to break the news. That was the last time I ever read a tabloid story about them. I don’t google them or seek out information or follow any of the gossip. Nothing. My heart (and my stomach) cannot take it. Occasionally I’ll hear something from people who continue to be appalled by his behavior but I cannot let those stories affect me. My true friends know how I feel about this and they refrain from sharing anything with me.
I was very lucky and will be eternally grateful for the ones who stood by me. Of course, there were those who didn’t and that’s okay too.
As these stories unfolded, it also became evident which side of the fence people wanted to stand on. I was very lucky and will be eternally grateful for the ones who stood by me. Of course, there were those who didn’t and that’s okay too. The ones who’s jobs depended on staying close to him or felt that he had more to offer them in terms of career gain or “celebrity” status. Or they simply liked him better! I totally get that. I understand that position and it doesn’t upset me. At least they are honest and they own it. Some were even upfront enough to say that they had to maintain his friendship because they feared the ramifications of keeping a relationship with me. I have no ill feelings towards them at all.
Taking the high road
There are those who still remain neutral and as long as they respect my feelings, I can happily maintain those friendships too. It is not my intention to pin people against my ex-husband. I am not interested in winning anyone over or trash talking my ex in order to gain friendship votes.
I also won’t shut people out just because they choose to keep him in their lives.
I sincerely feel that the friends who are real, true, compassionate and trustworthy are the ones that will remain in your life. It isn’t a contest. There are no prizes for the most friends. Hell, no one ever comes out of a divorce a “winner,” right?
Appreciate the relationships that continue to grow, learn from the ones who are gone and be open to opportunities to build new ones!
About the Author
Jennifer Giamo is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Education, and the founder of Trainers in Transit LLC.