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What Your Friend's Divorce Means for Your Marriage

What Your Divorced Friend Wants You to Know

Don't pick sides
"I wish fewer of my friends had chosen sides. They could have cared about both of us as individuals, not as a couple anymore. Two of my women friends told me that they had to go with who their husband was friends with, meaning my ex, as their husband had so few friends, they wanted to 'encourage the male friendship.' This still baffles me five years later — couldn't the guys have nurtured their own relationships, and not have their wives make their relationships for them? The friends who didn't choose sides and were concerned about each person had greater hearts and love than I had imagined. I admire those friends."
Linda, 49

Don't gang up on the ex
"Friends have to understand that even though you're divorcing and things might have been really bad, you married the person because of the good you saw in him. The instant someone announces a divorce, it's not okay to rip him to shreds ('I always hated him!' 'What a jerk!'). No person is all bad or all good. Divorce is the death of a dream that you thought was going to last."
Julie, 39

Don't be jealous of her dating life
"Having been married, I know what I want, what I don't want, and where I'm going in life. I'm interested in a relationship rather than a couple of casual dates for the sake of companionship. I'm surprised that there are still so many people — men and women — in my age group who don't mind just seeing someone a few times and then moving on as if you'd never met. This has been a real shock to me and has made dating a lot less fun and interesting than I expected."
Nicole, 33

Offer an ear — and a night out
"Nothing was more frustrating than to hear friends who'd never been divorced say, 'I know exactly how you feel.' While their intentions were good, they really couldn't understand the undercurrent of conflicting emotions. So just listen. And keep inviting your friends to join in 'girl fun' even if they keep turning you down. When they're ready, they will let you know."
Lara, 48

Don't throw a party
"When the divorce is final, please, please, please don't throw a celebration party. There is nothing to celebrate when a love-of-a-lifetime has permanently failed. Instead, be there for talking, venting, distraction — but not celebration. Try instead to include her in group settings, but not individual dating situations. Help her see that being alone can be a healthy, good thing, not merely a steppingstone to a new relationship. Help her learn to love herself as she is — show her she is complete whether or not she has a partner."
Maggie, 48

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