Over the course of your relationship, it is common to gain a set of mutual friends who both you and your partner could count on for fun and support. Now that you are getting divorced, these relationships become complicated. After all, your friends now have to figure things out, like whether or not they can invite you both to their celebrations. As you talk with mutual friends about your divorce, keep the following things in mind to help smooth the transition to your new relationship status.
Make Sure You and Your Ex Are On the Same Page
For civility’s sake, you want to avoid making it seem as though you are trying to steal mutual friends from your ex-spouse. If your relationship is amicable, sit down with your ex and discuss what to do about your mutual friends. For instance, you may both be fine with being at the same social events, or it may be better to split up certain friends. Getting on the same page allows you to talk to your friends without worrying about backlash from your ex.
It’s Best to Leave Out the Dirty Details
Your mutual friends admire both of you, even if it is for different reasons. This means that listening as you rant about all of the terrible things that your ex did will just make them feel bad. In fact, it could even drive away a few friends who always felt like your ex was a great person. When a mutual friend asks about what ended your marriage, just say that you couldn’t work out your differences and you’d prefer to move on to a different topic.
Some Friends May Not Know How to React
There are those mutual friends that are like family, and you may find that they react almost like children to the divorce. Maybe they don’t know how to handle spending every weekend with (or without) you. Maybe your relationship was defined by being a couple that went on outings together. If you find that a friend responds with extreme emotions or just shuts you out completely, give them time to adjust before trying to renew your relationship.
What You Say Can Come Back to Haunt You
An important thing to remember about mutual friends is that they may still be in frequent contact with your ex. Therefore, use caution with what you tell them during and after your divorce. For instance, insulting your ex could lead to your ex hearing about it, causing a strain on your relationship especially if you still have kids to raise together. Importantly, if your divorce has not been settled, then sharing details about your personal life could also harm your chances for getting what you want regarding child custody or support.
Mutual Friends Are Not Relationship Counselors
You should always feel as though your friends are people who you can talk to when things get rough. However, mutual friends are simply not neutral enough to give you an objective, useful perspective. When you need to vent, talk to a professional relationship counselor who can look at your situation clearly and rationally. Talking to a third-party also means that you never have to worry about anything you say getting back to your ex.
Keep In Mind That Things Change Over Time
Changes in your life impact your relationship, and it is important to be prepared that you may not keep all of your mutual friends. In some instances, one person may feel closer to your ex, or it may seem strange to a couple to hang out with you now that you’re single. On the other hand, you may discover that a friendship gets closer now that you have more time to spend together. Be open to changes, and recognize that it’s nothing personal since relationships grow and drift away according to circumstances.
Talking to your mutual friends about your divorce should always be approached with a positive attitude that respects their feelings. While you can expect varying reactions, being open to maintaining your relationships as they change allows them to grow.