Divorce is Not Contagious

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.

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37 thoughts on “Divorce is Not Contagious

  1. I too experience this. Although my first marriage was forced and dissolved after much less than a year, I had friends that were very put off by it. You’re right! It’s like they thought they would catch something – especially a few “church” friends. That part was more hurtful than my actual dissolution. I’m glad you have true friends and the others were weeded out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I lost every “friend” I had. They all chose Loser….only ten years later when I divorced him did I find out why.
    He told them I left him because he got fired and I didn’t want to live with somebody who didn’t have a job. Funny, he didn’t mention a thing about cheating on me, giving me a disease and treating me like shit. He even blamed me when he got fired….because I wouldn’t be “the queen.” He said I “really damaged his career.”
    (His firing COULDN’T have been because he treated everybody like low-life animals.)

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  3. I love this post, honest and straight to the heart of the matter. You cannot catch divorce 🙂 love this. It applies not just in divorce cases but to many of life’s trials

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Powerful message here. I went through the same thing. The only difference was I wasn’t trying to connect with my friends because they were all still married and I felt embarrassed.
    I drunk more and did more drugs trying to suppress my feeling until I ended up in a drug treatment center.
    Yes men take it hard too.
    In recovery I found out it wasn’t all my fault. Just like it takes two to make a marriage work both parties also play a role in it not working. I’ve been with my new wife for 10 years and we’ve been married for 4 years. And although divorce isn’t contagious it can be repeated if you’re not willing to look at your part. In my first marriage we always looked at what the other wasn’t doing. In this one we look at what ourselves aren’t doing. It makes all the difference in the world.

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  5. Preach! Unless you have been in that divorce rabbit hole nobody AND I MEAN nobody has no idea what is going on with you physically and mentally. It sucks worse than a cheap hooker (I know nothing) but you do come out of it so much better as a person and a parent. As for friends losing some of them sucks, but the ones that stayed in your corner you never forget. Many of them are still in “happy” relationships and the thought of divorcing is just so scary to see first hand that they just want to stay away.

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    1. Which I get, but like Laura said “It’s like a second betrayal.” It hurts and people don’t realize it, but I tell you that those that stay are loyal and you will see your life grow and change in ways you never thought possible.

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  6. I’ve never been through one but I have a dear sister who has and I saw how broken she was. I fail to understand how a so-called friend can walk away from their friend at such low moments in their life. Those are fair weather friends and they are better off far away from you. I like your openness Tikeetha.

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  7. Divorce is terrible and draining and at some points unbearable but I feel it was the best decision I have ever made. I also lost a few friends (surprisingly!) during the divorce and I wish I had come across this post earlier. For me I depended on my family, some of my closest friends and online support groups, books, and divorce blogs. It makes you feel less alone when there is a whole world at your fingertips with so many others going through similar situations. I have to recommend a book I recently read that really opened my eyes to a lot of things (emotionally, legally, mentally) called “The Accidental Divorcee” by Laura Scott (http://theaccidentaldivorcee.com/). This is such a phenomenal resource for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed and alone. The author shares her personal story and stories of many others who went through difficult divorces and are now thriving. She covers a wide variety of topics such as custody, infidelity, beginning to date again, and even the act of taking off one’s wedding ring. I really hope you will all check it out and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

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  8. I haven’t read any other comments but will say this – which I don’t think divorce is contagious I do think a good divorce experience of a close friend can help give others the courage to do the same if they’ve been thinking about it. I have had several close friends reach out to me post-split to ask questions about how to make it happen. I don’t see it as a bad thing; having a support network is critical!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It can, but if you’re going through a divorce and your friends relationship is fragile, they usually don’t want you around. If your marriage is strong, being a supportive friend is all you need to be. Your relationship won’t end.

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      1. That hasn’t been my experience with my friends in “fragile” marriages… it’s been quite the opposite as they seek out my advice. But I guess it depends on ones friends and perhaps more importantly – on your divorce situation. Mine was amicable. I didn’t bring a lot of negativity and anger into my discussions with friends… which is hard to be around.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s wonderful that you had such support when you needed it most. Your experience reminds me of Proverbs 18:24 “There are companions ready to crush one another,But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” God can always provide us with the strength we need and often does it by using the people around us. God truly can and will comfort us through all of our tribulations (2 Corinthians 1:3,4) and I’m sure you are a much stronger person because of this experience.

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    1. Yes, Lord. Thank you so much for reminding me of Proverbs 18. I never wanted to be divorced, but I know the plans that God has for me and I’m thankful that he sent those people to guard and protect me during that difficult time.

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  10. Thank you Tikeetha for bringing light to some very bleak behaviour. This is a social pariah that swims in those waters and especially difficult when divorce (and it’s process) leaves one to feel at their most vulnerable. It does happen, I know from my own experience and I have been witness to the heartbreak of those I care deeply for as they struggle to reinvent and rebuild the chaos divorce brings.
    As another reader posts, “it sucks” but as you come through it those shoulders stand side by side, your friends, confidents and dearest people, they shine for you. This post is not only a testimony of friendship but a reminder of our inner brilliance.

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