As with any divorce not only do you split your belongings, but you also have to split your friends. This can make it awkward and difficult for some as they are now forced to pick sides. Luckily for me, my ex was a jerk. The only friends he kept in the divorce were those who thought it was totally acceptable to cheat on your wife of more than twenty years and who needs those kinds of friends anyway.
Being married, working full time, raising a family, managing a household, and going to school left me little time to cultivate a large group of friends. I had a few special ones though. You know…those friends who you have on speed dial and can call in the middle of the night because you are having (yet another) emotional breakdown. The ones who come over still in their pajamas, not taking the time to get dressed, and just sit there, holding your hand, while you blubber insanities about life not being fair. They pat your hand reassuringly; telling you everything is going to be okay, then they tuck you in bed with a glass of water and head back home hoping to get in a few hours of sleep before dawn.
There were others who I “thought” were my friends until things began to get ugly in my divorce and they feared ramifications if they were found picking sides. Instead of picking a side, it was easier to play Switzerland…and we all know how well that worked for Switzerland. Needless to say, I am no longer “friends” with these people.
What I didn’t expect were the friends I made during and after my divorce. A league of “we’ve been there’s” came to my side, put their arms around me and said, “You are now one of us.” At first, I didn’t appreciate this. I hadn’t “chosen” to be one of them. I didn’t “want” to be one of them. Divorce had never been part of my vocabulary. I felt I was losing everything; my home, my family, my future, even my sense of self. The thing with loss, however, is that you finally come to accept it, and so eventually I embraced my new found friends.
While I have my boyfriend who is also my best friend, I have now widened my circle of female friends, as well. Some are still close and others are there when we need each other and still others are there for the occasional catch-up call.
A study done on the places where people live the longest suggests that in addition to eating healthy, exercising and low stress, having a wide circle of friends is important to longevity. I want to live a long and happy life. Therefore, I plan to continue to cultivate and grow my circle of friends.
As woman, we tend to look at each other as competition. And yes, there are clearly those out there who have no sense of “sisterhood.” I feel sorry for them. As a gender we need to be there for each other, stand up with and for each other.
I really enjoy my friendships, maybe now more than ever. We may meet for a drink after work, a light lunch or shopping at the outlets. I recently attended a writers group meeting and if I’m lucky perhaps I will make a few more friends. After all, I don’t think you can have too many.
Friends tend to be the one thing we may put on the back burner when husbands, families, homes and career become too demanding. Yet good friends are the first to understand your hectic life and forgive your transgressions. You know this is true when, after not talking to a friend for six months or more, you call them out of the blue and they are so excited to hear from you they keep you on the phone for two hours.
Of course this all holds true for men, too. The need for friendships isn’t just a female thing.
Life happens. Regardless of who we are, what gender, marital or parenting status, we all lead busy lives. Our lives become richer when we fill it with people we enjoy being with. We only walk down this path called life once. I, for one, find it much more fun to do it with my friends.