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3 Ways Divorce Affects Your Friends

Divorce is one of those lifetime events that no one wants to go through, but in the end, that no one can predict. People change, lifestyles change, and sometimes in a couple these changes happen in opposite directions. As a consequence, divorce may be the only option. However, divorce does not only affect two people—instead it affects the entire social web that exists in the couples’ lives—friends, family, and coworkers can all feel the repercussions of a divorce.

1. Polarized Friendships

One way that divorce affects friendships is simply as a sort of “taking sides” war. This, of course, relies heavily on how amicable the divorce process is. If the divorce is bitter and fraught with conflict, then friendships are likely to become more polarized. Mutual friends may have to choose whose friendship they value more.
 
Each side of the divorce will naturally pull in on friends, including those that are mutual, as a part of their support system. These friends will feel forced to choose sides. A kind of “battle” ensues – who is on whose side?
 
Divorcees may feel betrayed by the manner in which the friends choose sides and in turn this can destroy friendship, and burn bridges. The loss of friendships is a natural consequence of divorce as the process is, more often than not, very unpleasant.

2. Significant Stress

Another way that friends will be affected through divorce is stress. Friends will feel the strain of the accusations, insults, and become entangled in it all.  This can be cause for a significant amount of stress in their lives, which can have consequences for the divorcee—friends may pull away, wanting to avoid further stresses.
 
Divorcees will rely heavily on their friends to help rebuild their confidence and self-esteem following a divorce, and this can tax heavily on the social energies of a person. If a divorcee is bitter, then following a divorce, they may be a somewhat sour person to spend time with.
 
However, friends feel obligated and will be there for support, although the time spent with the divorcee may increase stress and lower well-being. Divorcees should be made aware of the situation if this is the case, as real friendships rely on truth and straightforwardness.

3. Changing Roles

Lastly, divorces can change friendships, especially those between the sexes. A divorce opens up a person for a new relationship, regardless of how much time they want to stay single. Sometimes, a friend may “line up” to become the divorcees next beau. This can be dangerous if not enough time is given to rebuild one’s self-esteem following a divorce. However, if enough time has passed and the divorcee is ready to enter into another relationship, one of the best places to look for a new partner is in their pool of friends—people they know and trust.
 
Photo credit: CarbonNYC
 
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