Surviving Divorce: Part Four

Posted on | November 7, 2012 | 2 Comments

At some point during this long process, you will start to scroll down the list of contacts in your phone, wondering which one of those names would be okay with being an ear for your tears.  You will scroll through the list at least five times before you give up and cry harder, believing that no one wants to hear you like that. You will wonder if you made bad choices in your friends, wonder why none of them call, not one visits… not one seems to care that you are floundering through this with all the grace and panache of a fish on a flat counter.

The thing is… unless you have friends who have gone through a divorce… no one knows just what to say to  you.   It’s not like you have a funeral and everyone gathers around you, showering you with flowers and casseroles.  There is no Hallmark card that sums up “Hey, I’m sorry your spouse turned out to be a dud… but hang in there!”  No one really knows how to deal with what you’re going through unless they’ve been through it themselves.  Your friends will want to make jokes… they’ll want to tell you to “Wash that man right out of your hair” or “you are so much better without him.” But they won’t know what to say when you cry out “but if I’m better than him then why doesn’t he want me?”  They won’t know what to do when all you want to do is rehash everything that went wrong and everything that went right.  They just won’t understand the pool you’re drowning in.

For a lot of people, your brand of broken is too much for them to deal with.  They’ll remember the times they commiserated with you about their spouse and they’ll wonder if maybe your divorce means theirs is imminent.  They’ll stop themselves from saying anything negative about their marriage to the point that what you’re left with is a lot of “But I shouldn’t say that because (fill in the blank) is so amazing and such a wonderful husband/wife/father/mother that I have no room to complain.”  They won’t mean it to be mean… but it will sting.  You will hear their words and all you’ll think is “They have better judgment than me.  They have a better life than me. They are better than me.” You will find yourself making excuses like “Well my spouse did that, but it’s totally different because my spouse sucked and yours clearly doesn’t” and all the energy you need for yourself will be sapped out in trying to convince your friend and yourself that your marriage was lousier and crappier than theirs ever was or will be.  Eventually, you will find both yourself and your friend slowly backing in different directions with pasted on smiles.

For some, your divorce will serve as a reminder of what could happen to them.  It will remind them to hold their spouse closer, to talk a little more, to spend a few more moments together.  For others, your divorce will be the elephant in the room, the thing they just never mention… as though them not talking about it will somehow make you forget it ever happened.  Though of course it won’t.  You don’t have the luxury of leaving this reality to go back to a warm house with a warm spouse and two arms and ears ready to hold and listen.

If nothing else, divorce sorts your friends for you.  People you have known all your life, people who participated in your wedding, people who graduated high school or college with you… they will fall into three neat catagories:  Those who ignore, those who distract, and those who listen.

Throw away the ignorers.  They are not worth your time.  If every time you call your best friend they find a reason to get off the phone quickly, stop calling them. Maybe he or she is hanging on to their own marriage by a tenuous string.  Maybe they just can’t handle your sadness.  Maybe they just can’t handle your broken.  For whatever reason, they can not handle this and if that’s their truth, more power to them.  But you don’t need that in your life so cut them free.  Your first instinct will be to call more often… to beg and plead through your persistence.  You’ll think the last thing in the world you can deal with is another person rejecting you.  But honestly, you don’t have the strength to fight for friendship right now… you’re fighting for your life.  Cut. Them. Free.

Keep the rest.  The distracters don’t know what to say or what you need, but they will do everything in their power to make you laugh or to take your mind off things for a while.  And you will need that.  A lot of that.  These are not the friends to call when you’re crying your eyes out… these are the friends to call just before the tears start.

And then there are the listeners.  Oh the listeners.  These are your soul sisters.  These are the people you’ve waited your whole life to know.  And they will be in the most unexpected of places.  They will crawl out of your computer, out of your child’s daycare, out of your neighbor’s house.  They may or may not be the people you thought would be there for you… but they are the people who ARE there.

Forget the ones who let you down and spend some time scrawling these new names on your heart.  They will be there for years to come.

And you deserve THOSE types of friends.


2 Responses to “Surviving Divorce: Part Four”

  1. Q's Mom
    November 7th, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    It’s like you read my comment yesterday & then expanded on everything going in my mind, but beautifully. (And so true about the “ignorers”!) Thank you!

  2. lawmomma
    November 7th, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    Yeah… you brought up a really good point yesterday. 🙂

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