How will your family, faith community, and social circles accept your divorcing? Make it clear to friends you don’t want them to take sides: but, obviously, you may not be comfortable around your ex early in the separation (or not early on).
I’ve had a few friends I’ve introduced to a woman I was dating; and when we split up, they kept her and lost interest in me. I guess they weren’t really my friends, were they? Better to find that out as early as possible, since real friends are the only ones worth investing your time in.
Some friends can’t support you. Often that is about ignorance (They haven’t been through it) or fear (I hope that doesn’t happen to me.) The more they are afraid for their own relationship, the more likely they are to make you wrong.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Don’t beat up the ones who can’t offer the support you need. Would you want them to have to go through what you are? Probably not. Not if you care about them, even if you are angry when they abandon you in your hour of need.
In some parts of life ignorance is bliss, but that ignorance won’t help you now. Painful as it is, try to remember what you are learning now you will use to help others in the future, just like I am in this book.
When I ask my clients questions to figure out what support systems they have, here are typical responses:
Where are my buddies, Sherman? What do you mean? I was too busy working or starting a family to keep up with my high school or college buddies. We had some couple friends – mostly her women friends and their spouses. They’ve turned against me. The wimpy husbands went along with the wives. It is all pretty ugly.
Do you have a group to go to every week for several hours of support? Alcoholics are lucky to have AA.
Ok, I’ve touched on general divorce/separation support groups, now let’s discuss groups just for men and specifically why that’s where you need to be. It is sometimes tough for guys to imagine the difference in a facilitated support group just for men, and a coed one, although women figured this one out years ago. But if you can’t see how valuable one is within 2/3 sessions, please contact me, and let me know I’m off the mark, although such a group needs to be run by a guy who has the experience and the compassion. These groups are great places to find new friends who understand your situation.
You can search the internet for a group in your area. Maybe you church will help you create one. The more rural the area you live in, the less likely to have one nearby. I had to create my own 30 years ago.
You are luckier today with the internet. A great way to attract a crowd is to announce that your first topic for discussion will be separation. That one is what got my group going.
We just don’t talk the same way around women. We either puff up and show off without knowing it, or we get passive and let her be in charge. You also can’t talk about how angry you are with your ex and use helpful venting words like bitch, now can you?
A coed group might fit for you later in your recovery process, but probably not until you are ready to re-enter the dating world and hang out in a singles groups, where you can talk about general difficulties of dealing with dating again or with children, without the rawness and pain of being just out of the gate.
Here is a good topic for discussion with your supportive friends and your support group. The U.S. is number 6 in number of divorces. Russia is number one.
Why so many? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________