Over the years, January has become known as the “divorce month” for professionals working with people wanting a divorce. It’s the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year.
Every new year, those in a difficult relationship begin thinking about their life. They question if it’s going in the direction they want.
With the new calendar year, many decide to move forward with the divorce process. A new year often signifies new beginnings.
Typically during their decision-making process, those going through a divorce think about the impact on themselves, their spouse, and their children. They often forget to consider the impact on others, especially close friends.
The realization that others are also impacted by the divorce happens when something happens. Phone calls aren’t returned. They are not invited to annual gatherings.
It causes one to pause. There’s often a feeling of betrayal.
Sure, you can understand if your mother-in-law who you once got along with stops meeting you for lunch. You also understand if your sister-in-law no longer calls.
But what you didn’t expect is your friends choosing sides. Friends you once thought of as “our” friends, become only your ex-spouse’s friends.
Before it gets to that point. Take action to salvage meaningful friendships.
Realize people react differently when they find out about a divorce. It may be awkward for your friend, especially if they have never experienced a divorce. They don’t know what to say or what to do.
Your divorce may have them evaluate their own marriage. You may know personal information about their relationship and they feel you may judge them for staying married.
It’s hard to say why people react the way they do. But if the relationship is important to you take the first step.
Be proactive and share your decision to divorce before they hear it from others. You don’t have to go into detail, but let them know they are important to you and you hope your friendship can weather the storm.
If they already found out about the divorce, still be proactive. Call them and be honest about being consumed with the process and not taking time to reach out earlier.
Again, no need to go into detail. It may cause more awkwardness or it may cause resentful feelings if they are also close with your ex-spouse.
Instead, hire a professional to help you vent. It’s a third party who doesn’t have an ongoing friendship with your ex-spouse.
With friends who truly matter to you, take time to reach out to them and tell them your decision to divorce. Refrain from exposing details.
Instead, focus on the value of their friendship and schedule time to do something with them. Pick some type of activity that will keep you preoccupied so you don’t vent about your divorce. For example, visit an art exhibit, see a movie or attend a yoga class together.
It may seem that you’re stretched beyond what you can take on given the divorce. But in the long-run these friendships will be the ones you cherish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
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