Divorce is hard but you already knew that. I’m not here to tell you what you already know. What I am here to do is share a new perspective on living your new single life.
Everything has changed. (Again, you knew that.) In some cases, for the better, and in others, not so much … or so it seems right now. These changes impact all relationships and that includes your friends. You were used to double date nights and now, it’s table for three or even perhaps table for one.
What you may not know is how to better relate to your married friends and how they could possibly understand what you are going through.
EMBRACE YOUR NEW LIFE BUT DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE OLD
Your life may seem like a hurricane has come through but the storm will pass. While it is normal, human and expected to express your tumultuous journey, it’s also important to remain confident in your choices and take it all in. If this new adventure was not a choice of yours, you still need to pick yourself up, dust yourself and face reality. Change is not easy but can often be a blessing. You are on your way to discovering who you really are and who you want to be.
Your usual tribe of confidants will witness this journey and some may come along for the adventure and some may not. This is not about them but about you, the new you. You may not crave the besties you once had, (and vice versa), because the synergies have changed. That is okay. That said, take the time to check in with your married friends or rather your old crew about what is happening in their lives. If you committed to be a part of someone else’s village, don’t forget your obligations.
BUILD YOUR NEW VILLAGE
As a parent, you are not only picking up the pieces for yourself, but for your children as well. It is important, now, more than ever, to ensure your village is secure. The friends that stick around will remain part of your original village, pre-divorce. They will share in your pain and be there to help with the kids when you simply can’t do it. While you may think your married friends don’t understand what you are going through, it’s not about forcing them to fit into a size six shoe when they have a size nine foot. It’s about the support they will bring that is their value.
The great news is that new friends are coming your way as you are now a magnet for other single mums. This means your village will be filled with a diverse bunch of friends, each with a different significance. Build it and they will come.
KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN
This is not just a one-sided relationship you are working on with your married friends. They are learning how to adjust to your new status as well. Stay patient and discuss your concerns. Things may be awkward for a while, as everyone figures out who ‘won’ which friends in the divorce. These are new waters that are being navigated on both sides. Feelings may be hurt, sides will be taken but stay true to who you are and everything else will fall into place.
THIS IS YOUR JOURNEY
Let’s make something very clear. This is your voyage and no one else’s. You do not have to impress anyone to keep a friendship or feel awkward around your married friends once the dust settles. Yes, things are different but that is okay. There is a whole new world waiting for you and with that comes a whole new crowd of people. Embrace the changes and see where your new life takes you. Is date night with friends and their spouses over as you know it? Perhaps for now, but in the near future, when you are ready, date night will once again occur. It may be with different friends and of course a different date. How exciting is that? Scary yes, but exciting.
How can you have fun with divorce? Simple. Humor is the best medicine, even in the most serious of situations. Throughout this voyage, you are of course a role-model for your kids, but also your friends. How so? The word ‘jealous’ would never be a term you associated with divorce, but some of your friends may have thought about what life would be like without their spouses. They may even say they are jealous. They are not happy but don’t have it in them to make a change. They want to know what it is like to be dating, to feel those butterflies again. Your friends will be living vicariously through you and you will be sharing a lot of laughs and horrible dating stories. Your shenanigans and new lifestyle may cause them to pull up a chair and grab some popcorn.
Yes, divorce is not a goal for anyone when they say, ‘I do’, but it’s a reality for many and you can either decide to hide in the pantry or show those who surround you an attitude of inspiration, strength and humour.
When we look in the mirror, self-reflect and self-correct, anything is possible. Any massive alteration in your life is going to be difficult. When you realise the road ahead will be bumpy but you can see through the weeds, discovering new scenery, new perspectives and a new path, sustainable solutions occur. What can be our largest roadblock can also be our greatest success.
Own this new you, even if you have yet to discover who she is. Your world and village will open itself up to new friends and allow you to relate to your old ones. This has been a rollercoaster for you but you already knew that. Hopefully you can find the humour and the power in the ride but also be ready and able to get off when that ride stops.