The biggest surprise about being single is that you have to drive everywhere. I miss being a passenger or seeing the scenery as I drive through the countryside. If you are married and have single friends, offer to drive them somewhere. I’m willing to bet they’ll take you up on it so fast your head will spin.
I was also shocked to find which friends stayed loyal and which friends did not. Some of my girlfriends were faculty wives and their husbands are still Bob’s colleagues. I was determined to keep these girlfriends, so I decided to keep my thoughts about Bob and our divorce to myself. When we are at gatherings I find other things to talk about, and keep the conversation light and frothy. All in all I retained about 90% of these friends, and although I don’t see them as much as I used to because of my travel schedule, we still see each other about 4 or 5 times per year.
As you attempt to avoid pitfalls during the worst time of your separation, you might find some help in these suggestions. I learned them the hard way, and then some.
- Your friends are there for you, especially during the early crisis stages. But they lead busy lives too. As time wears on, expect them to drift away a little at first, and then a lot.
- Don’t put your friends in the middle and force them to choose sides. I had two friends who thought Bob was a fiend and a jerk and a dork, and they minced no words about how they felt. I spoke my true thoughts to them, and I kept to the high road with all the rest.
- Your friends want to help you but some don’t know what to do. Some others will feel very uncomfortable with the situation and seem to avoid you. Put them at ease and tell them you understand. If you need to see them, tell them. Better yet, ask them that you need their help. They’ll feel so relieved to be given something specific to do without having to engage in an uncomfortable dialogue.
- Don’t expect your relationships with your couple friends to remain the same. It will not. I am rarely invited to intimate couples parties or gatherings. It’s just a fact of life. You can choose to complain about this or move on. At first I railed and ranted when I found myself alone on weekends, then I found new friends to pal around with. This process took a few years. And no, it wasn’t easy to be dropped by my couples friends from regular gatherings. However, I understand this is normal. I still see these couples at major events, though, and meet up with the wives for lunch.
- Because of the above, expect to feel lonely on weekends at first. Saturday nights were the hardest for me. If you have kids, this may not be as much of a problem since you will be caught up in their activities. Nevertheless, be prepared. Find other things to do, and try not to compare your new social life to your old one.