My girlfriend and I were talking about this a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about how we were really going through it when we got divorced and a lot of people weren’t around. Not that we didn’t have friends, but that our friends never knew the depth of our pain and depression because they were busy living their lives.
I remember sitting in my girlfriend’s living room and telling her that it was over. That I was done. She looked at me with such sincerity and love for me that she told me that I would lose friends. I was shocked. Why would I lose friends? People would stop being my friend because I’m divorcing. She simply responded “Yes.”
She was right. I can’t point out the exact number of people that are out of my life as a result of my divorce, but it was a few. Am I mad? Nope. Was I hurt? Yes. Why was I hurt? Because no one knows what truly goes on in a marriage. People assume because you don’t walk around with a busted lip, broken nose or black eye that things were great. They don’t know.
People then decide to take sides. They aren’t very good in their side taking. What I mean is that they are not woman or man enough to say that I’m going to be loyal to him or I’m going to be loyal to her. They do it in a sneaky way.
They think it’s cute in the subtle ways that they do it. They stop speaking to you socially and then in person. You feel like a social pariah. You wondered what you did and you want to scream “Hey asshole it was me buying all those gifts for you and your family. My money.” But, you don’t.
You smile. You accept that God is removing the negative out of your life to put in the positive. You cry. You laugh and you go on. You have to raise your children. You need to focus on your mind. You need a renewing of your mind. You need to focus on keeping your job so that you can provide for yourself and your child/children.
You need to pray.
However, it is when your close friends start to disappear or not come around that you really begin to feel the distance. You get consumed with the pain. You start to wonder what you ever did to deserve the cold shoulder? No texts. No phone calls. No emails.
Some friends kept their distance out of fear that they couldn’t console you or that somehow your divorce was going to be contagious and thereby cause problems in their own relationships. I know it seems silly, but there are truly people out there that believe divorce is contagious. They think they could catch it like you catch an STD or something.
My best friend was my biggest supporter when I was going through my divorce. I’ve spoken often of how I was losing my mind when I was going through my divorce. I couldn’t eat, sleep and had suffered bouts of depression. I would literally be walking and fall to the ground crying because I was in so much mental pain. My son would hold my head and wipe my tears begging me not to cry and promising to take care of me.
I was a wreck. Emotionally and physically. My best friend would call me constantly and try to comfort me. There were many times that I didn’t think I could endure any more pain and anger that I wanted to throw in the towel and reconcile only for the sake of my sanity. But, God!
She spent so much time encouraging me and making sure that I was okay that I know that I couldn’t have gotten through this difficult time had she not been there. She was my rock. She helped me to see that I could do this. Be a single parent. Start over. Be strong.
And I did.
But, I don’t know if I would have survived if it had not been her helping me. She never left me alone. She was my friend when all hope seemed to be gone. She didn’t think divorce was contagious to her marriage.
Divorce is not contagious. You can’t catch it. If your friends are going through a divorce, it is like a death and they need your support. Even if it is a quick call, email or text to say that you love them and that you’re thinking about them. They need it. It matters.
You can’t catch divorce. It’s a choice. You wake up one day and realize that you are no longer going to pretend anymore. Not for him. Not for her. Not for anyone.