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Health & Sex

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What Your Friend's Divorce Means for Your Marriage

"How strong is our marriage?" continued...

Instead of looking at your marriage through the gloomy lens of your friend's heartbreak, you may need to see the friendship in a new light. "If you're so close and intimate with a best friend, and your paths have been so similar — you get married around the same time, you have a kid around the same time — it's hard at the point where your paths diverge not to think that it will happen to you, since you had so much in common," says Amy. "But then you're forced to see that your friendship is changing rather than that your marriage will fail in the same way." Amy, like Jessica, figured out that the best thing for her friendship and her marriage was to stop the pattern of garden-variety whining to her pal about her husband. "I didn't want her to feel like I was on the same page with her, because I was not," says Amy. "I think I just made a decision not to stir my own pot."

If you and your husband were especially close to the divorcing couple, you may both be feeling something that approximates mourning — not just for the end of their marriage, but also for the memories you expected you'd continue to make together. "If you have very close friends who are getting divorced, it can feel like you're losing part of your family," says Michele Weiner-Davis, a couples therapist who has authored several books about preventing divorce, including Divorce Busting . In an effort to process the loss, you may find yourselves endlessly analyzing what happened, comparing he-said, she-said notes that aren't likely to yield helpful truths. "Of course, what your girlfriend is going to tell you about why the marriage fell apart is going to be very different from what the husband is going to say," says Weiner-Davis. "What you really learn is from observation. If you can stand back a bit — without taking sides — and think, What did each partner do to contribute to the downfall of their relationship? you might be able to learn something vicariously."

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