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September 18, 2012

When Friends’ Divorce Is a Problem For You – It just seemed weird. To celebrate their eleventh anniversary, a couple I’ll call “Steve” and “Anne” had dinner alone.

The restaurant was rated with four stars; the food was fine. Each of them made a special effort to look attractive and well dressed for the occasion. Steve, bless his romantic heart, had flowers delivered to the table.

But something was missing.

For the past five years, they had celebrated their anniversary with their friends, “Brett” and “Allison.” What fun it had been to discover that they had married on the same day.

Then everything changed. Six months ago, Allison filed for divorce Brett and his kids were devastated, but so were Steve and Anne.

Their friends’ divorce created a very real crisis for them too.

“It’s kind of like a brush with death which makes you face your own mortality,” says Anne.

Steve took his wife’s hand as they sat on a couch in my office. “I don’t want to lose Anne.

Anne, I asked, are you unhappy with Steve?

“No. I love Steve. Things are just different. I feel so vulnerable,” she said. “Mostly, I feel depressed.”

Anne is in mourning for a life that had included Brett and Allison. She’s never been good with change. Because change is tough for most everyone, I can relate. Can’t you?

Somewhere, along the line, you must have also lost a friendship because of a divorce, a death or simply because someone moved out of town.

What did you do to heal?

I’d bet that you mustered the energy, somehow, to go on in a new direction. You took advantage of the inevitable energy-release that comes with any change, and found a way to benefit from the momentum. You opened up to making some new friends. Remember?

It’s a good thing that every ending implies the possibility for a new beginning*.

*Hold on to this idea, when the going gets tough for you.

Steve calls this divorce of his friends a personal “wake-up call”.

He and his wife have re-affirmed their marriage commitment. He and Anne are making bucket-like lists and have signed up for a series of dance lessons.

As they face their own “change –challenge,” they have become less angry and more willing to not view the friends’ decision as a personal affront.


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