Coping with the Losses of Divorce

By: Gitu Bhatia, Psy D
Last Update: November 01, 2016

While you may feel mentally prepared for some of the losses of divorce that are inevitable, there may be others that may startle you or shake you to your core. Many people going through a divorce may know that they may lose their house, a previous financial status, and family that has now taken sides. However, the loss of friends can feel bigger and more unexpected. Friends are consistent and a source of support during difficult life transitions. So why would friends drift away at this time?

Reasons for the Loss of Friends during a Divorce

Knowing some of the explanations can make the loss more bearable. Some friends may feel that they have to choose sides and cannot be friends with both people who are divorcing. There are some couples who find it awkward to include a singleton in their ranks. They see you as a “couple” and do not want you to feel tense or nervous socializing with couples. You may want to let people know if you feel ready to take on this new status in your life. Some other friends may just stop calling and asking how you are. They may feel fearful about being around someone who is going through a divorce. They may not know what to say to you, so they stay away.

Examining and Keeping Friendships 

It is crucial that you examine your friendships at this transition point in your life. You are in many ways cleaning house and need to make sure that you have people in your life who will be supportive of you. If they are not or are unable to provide support, it may be you who is letting go of some relationships. Some other friends may see you starting to have single friends and socializing with them. They may feel like they don’t fit in with your new lifestyle. For those people who are important to you, sit down with them and let them know that while you may be making friends, you cherish their place in your life.

Finding Time to Grieve 

Other losses can be more geographical, but the grief can still hit you at unexpected times. If you have to sell your home, you may feel the loss of neighbors and the promise of the “happily ever after” that came with your house. Your child may change schools, leaving you to help them traverse this change while you struggle to fit in and socialize with a new set of parents. Even having a family pet live with your ex can feel like a death. 

It is important to give yourself time to grieve the losses, stay in touch with friends who will always be there for you regardless of geography, and begin to focus on the hope and possibility that lies in the future. 

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