Should Friends Be Forced to Choose Sides in a Divorce?

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When a couple gets divorced, their friends often find themselves in an awkward position.  Do they stay friends with both exes after the papers are signed?  Or, do they choose only one of them to continue their friendship with?  It’s clear that everyone faces many questions on how to proceed after a divorce. While each person should stop, pause and treat the others as they would want to be treated themselves, that’s not always the case.   

As a friend as well as a divorcee, I’ve been in this position before.  I had been friends with a woman since we were in grammar school.  Her husband had been really good friends with my then husband.  Not too long after their divorce, we had a big event so I invited both of them to the party.  My friend attended and when she found out that her ex was also invited, she became furious with me.  Our relationship suffered severely because of it.   I didn't know quite how to deal with it and it’s really hard when you’re in that situation.  On the flipside, I had some very close friends when I was married and after I got divorced, they still stayed close to both myself and my ex.  In fact, they have warmly accepted my remarriage as well as my ex-husband’s and remain friends with all of us.  Sure it’s an extra couple of holiday cards, but isn’t it more mature and what friendship is all about?  

Newly divorced people really need friends to help them through the process.  It’s important to put the negativity aside and support your friends no matter what.  The divorced couple should be thrilled when their friends stay friends with both parties.  However, sometimes you end up getting “sideswiped.”  It seems that it has unfortunately become a natural reaction for friends to often pick sides when a couple they know is divorcing.  While friends usually assume the divorced couple is at odds, sometimes they actually aren’t and the break-up was a mutual decision.  If they are at odds, picking sides will only make matters worse.  Nobody should take sides – not the divorced couple or the friends.  It’s important for all to stay neutral and for everyone to not lose sight of the fact that you all had a friendship before the papers were filed.  There’s no need to divorce your friends too at this sensitive time. Read the rest at MORE Magazine!


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