Choosing Sides: how a divorce can affect friendship
Written by Craig Cherney

Choosing Sides: how a divorce can affect friendship

Friendships form throughout your life. You and your spouse may each have friends who have been there since childhood. You may have met others through school, work or community activities. When you introduce them to your spouse, that person and their spouse may become close family friends.

Inevitably, when some of your friends come to you through your marriage, your divorce can affect that friendship. People may feel they need to choose sides. They may be uncomfortable inviting you to a group dinner where everyone is coupled-up when you’re no longer a couple. You may start to feel that anchor of friendship slip, leaving you adrift.

If you’re worried about losing friends, you and your spouse should consider options that help you work together instead of against each other. Collaborative divorce can help couples improve their communication skills and remember the bigger picture when ending their marriage. Honest conversations with a goal of a mutually agreeable outcomes can help minimize the extent to which divorce can affect friendship.

Choosing Sides – Or Abandoning Both

In a traditional divorce, each spouse is looking to win. This naturally creates tension between the spouses. It isn’t just you, though. Divorce can affect friendships when you fight against each other. Talking about each other can put pressure on friends to pick one of you over the other. Or perhaps ongoing venting and insults will make them want to abandon both of you.

It can be hard for good friends to stay neutral. They may have known you or your spouse longer or relate better to one of you. Sometimes, a close friend’s divorce can make someone uncomfortable if they begin to reflect on their own marriage. They may subconsciously give you some distance while they’re deciding how they should move forward in their own challenging marriage.

Other Ways Divorce Can Affect Friendship

Divorce can affect friendship in other ways as well. If someone always spent time with you as a couple, the dynamic changes immediately. People get used to spending time with a group that has now changed. It can feel awkward or uncomfortable, even if you work hard to avoid that. Friends you have had for years suddenly may not want to spend time with you like they once did.

In a bitter divorce battle, this gets much more intense. No one can listen to two angry people and come away unscathed. Friends might worry about their own happiness and spend less time around you. They may even decide that neither of you is the person you were before. Divorce can affect friendship before you even realize it.

Collaborative Divorce and Preserving Friendships

You cannot fully protect your friendships when you are getting a divorce. You can, however, try to lessen the way divorce can affect friendships. Usually, neither spouse wants a difficult divorce. If you choose to work together and collaborate, you can avoid some of the uncomfortable aspects of divorce.

One way to do this is to engage in a collaborative divorce. You will learn to communicate better with and about each other. Instead of focusing on winning and losing, this process lets you focus on what is best for both of you. It gives you a fresh perspective you may not have seen in years.

Collaborative divorce helps spouses keep the focus on their family. For some people, this also includes their close friends. By keeping your negative feelings about your spouse to yourself, you can avoid awkward interactions with your friends. They might even be interested in learning more about the unique method of divorce you’re using.

As you develop communication skills and work together, you can also see changes in the way your divorce can affect friendship. Friends may see you getting along better and feel more comfortable around you as a result. It can help ease some of the feelings of isolation you and your spouse may experience. If you want to learn more about collaborative divorce, contact a Best Legal Choices professional today.

How may it affect your friendships and your children if you stay friends despite the pain of your divorce? Click here to learn more.