By Dena Landon
Your vibe attracts your tribe. It’s a slogan that you’ve probably seen on an t-shirt somewhere. What it’s trying to get at is that other people pick up on our attitude. What we’re putting out there attracts like-minded souls. It’s something I’ve seen for myself over and over again post-divorce.
As much as I’ve appreciated and leaned on many of my lifelong friends, one of the perks of getting divorced (yes, really!), has been making new friends. Women who’ve been through the same experiences and will listen when you vent about your ex or share money worries. Women who know the financial pain of legal bills, the tightrope of custody negotiations, and the loneliness of spending part of your time away from your kids.
But they don’t just share the negatives! They also rejoice when you go on your first post-divorce date. Urge you to seek out that promotion, or go back to school. Help out when you need baby-sitting for a sick kid. I’ve found that the community of divorced women is amazingly supportive of one another.
It’s also really nice to have friends that are just yours. Not friends that picked your ‘side,’ or who knew you during your marriage. Friends that didn’t know your ex and who don’t have memories of you as a couple. Friends who don’t struggle to reconcile the ‘old’ you with the ‘new’ you.
It grows harder for people to make new friends as they get older – our free time shrinks, our lives tend to revolve around kids and work, and you’re not thrown into constant proximity with new people like in college. But divorce is a common experience that can make it much easier. It’s not just meeting someone because you have a common interest like yoga, it’s sharing pain and triumph. It’s knowing, like no one else, what it feels like to have something you thought would last forever end in a moment.
There are many ways to connect with other divorced women–from support groups to the forums on websites like esme.com. The Worthy website, Facebook page and Facebook group are chock-full of strong, badass women. Local Facebook pages and groups for divorced women may connect you with local women in your same boat. Then – take a risk! I’ve flexed that courage muscle I developed in divorce and asked old acquaintances who’ve revealed their going through a divorce, too, if they want to grab coffee or dinner. The worst they can say is ‘no.’ And they never have.
Because human beings, at our core, crave connection. Emotional ties that give life meaning. Support that helps us process and deal with our lives. After a divorce you may feel alone, but you’re not. You’ve lost a spouse, but with a little bit of work you can gain a ton of new friends.
My new friends aren’t better than my old friends, many of whom I’m still close with. But they have read a lot of the same self-help and recovery books. They speak my language. They get my vibe.
It’s a strange freedom to reinvent yourself at an older age. To shed the beliefs and habits that no longer serve you. Embrace it, embrace your growth, and go out there and find your tribe.
About the Author
Dena Landon is a single mom who eats raw cookie dough, passionately debates intersectional feminism and frequently tangles herself in yarn. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Narrative.ly, Salon, bust.com, and in Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit magazines. Her first novel was published by Dutton Children’s Publishing in 2005. She blogs at femmefeminism.com, and can be found on Instagram and Facebook.