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What to Do When Your Friends Divorce

marriage in troubleYou have been best buddies for years. As couples you were at each other’s weddings, baby showers, and housewarmings.

You spend more weekends together than not. And, almost as much as growing old with your spouse, you picture growing old with them. Until — divorce.

When the couples you are closest to start to fall apart it can hurt almost as much as if your own marriage were ending. Family trips and weekend barbecues will never be the same. Friends becoming the family you chose is true for many, and when a family splits up everyone suffers. So, what do you do when your best friends decide to call it quits?

Support

They are your friends for a reason. You probably love them like family. Try to remember that the problems they have with one another are theirs and not yours.

They have decided to leave each other, not leave your friendship. And, although it will be a difficult process to redefine the boundaries of your relationship, you should still be there to listen and support as they each need it. Your pain at their split is not their focus right now. But your friendship is likely to be needed more than ever.

Try not to take sides. Whatever the reasons they have decided to end their marriage, getting drawn into the drama will not help them, or the future of your friendship. Remaining neutral but caring is your best course. And taking sides can affect your own relationship and family in a negative way, too.  

Adjust

The landscape of your relationships with each of your newly single friends will change bit by bit. With effort and caring it will maintain, but many things are likely to be different. How different will depend a lot on how friendly their split is, but accept that going forward you are still not likely to be doing group vacations.

Spending time with each of them in different ways may take a bit of juggling. It may also require a conversation with each of them about your intentions to stay friends with them both and how that will look. He comes to one event and she comes to another? Or, will they be okay under the same roof?

Protect Your Relationship and Family

This is new territory for you and your family. What does it mean that the people your children may have referred to as “aunt” and “uncle” are no longer together?

This can create a need to explain marriage separation and divorce to your kids. It may also scare them. If this can happen to another family, could it happen to yours? Reassuring your children that each family faces unique circumstances, and that they are safe should be a priority.

Children, both yours and theirs, are another reason not to take sides. Your children probably love them each like family and do not need to hear bad things about either one of them. Their children may love you like family and need all the positive adult support and love they can get.

A close friend’s divorce can also rattle your own relationship. Much like your children wondering if this could happen to their own family, you may be wondering the same thing. Don’t let the pain of others color the way you feel about your spouse. Every relationship is different and faces different problems. No matter how similar you felt you were as couples in the past, their problems are not yours. However, this may be a good time to talk with your spouse about what you value in your relationship and how to keep things strong between the two of you.

Nothing about divorce is easy. Unfortunately, because of the high divorce rate it is likely that divorce will affect you and your family in some way. When it affects close friends (or family) it is a sad situation for all. Just try to remember that they are divorcing each other, not you.

What to Do When Your Friends Divorce


Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC

Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching and writes a blog about the issues facing men (and the women who love them). As an expert in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today, he regularly appears on The Huffington Post, NerdWallet and PsychCentral. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their lives and relationships better. Check out his weekly tips on Facebook or Twitter.


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APA Reference
Smith, K. (2018). What to Do When Your Friends Divorce. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-to-do-when-your-friends-divorce/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.