In the midst of an emotionally-draining divorce, relationships with family and friends may deteriorate. This could be due to:
1. Fading relationship caused by neglect during marriage: You were very close before marriage but kept in touch less often after you have gotten married due to increasing commitments.
2. Taking sides: Your family and mutual friends with your spouse have taken sides during the divorce.You now feel uncomfortable with people taking your spouse’s side as they think you are at fault for the breakdown of the marriage.
3. Misunderstanding your divorce: Your family and friends do not understand why you are getting a divorce. They may be prejudiced or have assumptions on how the divorce came about.
4. Having no idea with how to deal with or react to other divorce: Your family and friends have no clue what to say or do to make you feel better, and therefore avoid you.
5. Seeing you as a threat: Your married friends now feel less uncomfortable with your new-found single hood. However, if there is no agreement, a date will be set for a pretrial conference where further instructions will be given. The case will then go onto trial where the Crime Registry of the State Courts will now take over the remaining divorce proceedings.
6. Not being able to accept divorce: Conservative people may question your ability to manage family and personal relationships and hence keep a distance from you.
Divorce could therefore have a negative effect on your relationships. Nonetheless, family and friends may still be willing to provide a good listening ear to your problems. It’s then essential to draw boundaries prior to talking. For example, you could warn them that you might sound sadder than usual and allow them to redirect the conversation towards less weighty subjects.
To receive the best possible effect from your relationships, don’t isolate yourself from concern coming from your friends and family. While your divorce may be a sensitive topic, receiving some empathy from good listeners will help you to heal faster as you can then talk about your emotions and thoughts on the divorce.
Although your friends or family may be busy with their own lives and have less time to empathise with you on your divorce, you shouldn’t dismiss them completely. Take that time alone to rediscover yourself. However, if you feel like your emotions are overwhelming, you should seek professional help by getting counseling. Although you may be reluctant to talk about such private matters with a stranger, they may be able to provide more objective advice on moving on after a divorce.
In general, maintaining relationships need not be relegated to the sideline during a divorce. Rather, you should draw upon such relationships to find the mental strength and perseverance needed to face the divorce process.