You and your partner/spouse finally realized that separation is the only solution to the never-ending strains on your marriage. The child custody issue may have been sorted out (I/A), but losing friends can be just as tricky and hurtful. Divorces or splits are already difficult emotionally to deal with and adding potential loss of friendships add stress.
In the event of a split/divorce, mutual friends often think that maintaining friendships with both parties can make things messy and awkward, especially during social events. As a result, split/divorced couples may not be invited to dinners and parties. Unless you don’t want to maintain certain friendships, which could leave you socially isolated if all or most of your friends are mutual, sharing friends after divorce/split is critical. Here are some ways to manage mutual friends after separation:
Discuss With Your Ex-Spouse/partner
If you have good communication, it might be best to discuss how to handle various situations with friends. In some instances, only one of you might go to events/parties. But in other instances, both of you might go depending on the feelings of all the people involved. If both of you arriving at the same time makes you uncomfortable, then that is probably not the right choice and create a plan to arrive at different times. In some instances, only one of you may get invited to a party/event. If you still want a relationship with that friend, try reaching out for lunch or some other activity. Try to come up with a solution for your social life to work and for you to maintain the friendships you value.
…it is of critical importance to make sure not to use friends as weapons against each other.
Set Up Rules
Don’t forget to set basic parameters regarding how the two of you plan to go forward with mutual friends. It is of critical importance to make sure not to use friends as weapons against each other. For example, you or your ex-spouse/partner must not speak ill of the other in front of friends in what would be a sorry attempt to alienate the other.
Decide on Sharing or Splitting
It may not be your choice. Some friends will choose one or the other. As stated above, if you still want a friendship with that person then find a reason to invite them to spend time with you, lunch, a movie, a walk in the park, golf. Whatever activity you used to share.
Don’t Drag Mutual Friends into your Split
No matter how much anger, pain, anxiety and frustration you’re going through, don’t drag your mutual friends into the situation. In serious divorce/splits, especially those triggered by extra-marital affairs, it’s all too common for divorcees/splitees trying to force mutual friends to take sides. Your friendships shouldn’t suffer so try to keep them separated.
Be Prepared to Lose Certain Friends
No matter how hard you try, there will still be friends who may decide to choose one of you after the divorce. When dealing with married friends, they may feel they need to let go of one person to show loyalty to another. Even if you and your ex are okay with shared friends, certain friends feel conflicted. Thus, if you sense one of your friends isn’t there for you anymore, don’t assume that your ex-spouse took them away from you. It might be the friend’s own decision. It’s more sensible to move on if you have tried to invite them to lunch or something else and they have declined.
Things are naturally bitter right after a divorce/split, which is why the feelings can be extreme. Over time, it’s quite possible that these feelings change and the two of you become more comfortable socializing and sharing friends. In this case, you may want to revisit your mutual friendships and reconnect with friends that you thought were not going to remain in your circle.