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5 Things No One Tells You About Friends and Divorce

5 Things No One Tells You About Friends and Divorce

Even in the best case scenarios, divorce is unpleasant. But there’s one particularly troubling aspect of divorce that people hardly ever talk about. What happens to mutual friendships after you split with your spouse? You hope that you and your ex won’t be forced to interact socially, and that you can each move on with your separate lives. But that doesn’t always happen. If it doesn’t, here are 5 things to remember that’ll help you stay sane.

1. They don’t get it, and you can’t expect them to 

Aside from your very closest friends, the others won’t pick sides. And honestly, they shouldn’t have to. No matter how much of an injustice your ex inflicted on you, your mutual friends simply aren’t close enough to the situation to be expected to cut your ex off. It’s not worth it for them to actively shun him, because doing that is awkward. People will do just about anything to avoid awkwardness or conflict, and this is one of those things. So they’ll continue to be friends with your ex – and you, too. They

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It’s not worth it for them to actively shun him because doing that is awkward. People will do just about anything to avoid awkwardness or conflict, and this is one of those things. So they’ll continue to be friends with your ex – and you, too. They do love and value you, even if it doesn’t seem that way to you at first.

2. You’re going to feel angry and betrayed for a while

Especially if the circumstances of your divorce are such that your spouse was unfaithful, you’ll understandably feel angry and betrayed. But not just at your ex; also at your mutual friends who won’t ditch him as a friend.

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There will be times when you want to strangle everyone, and can’t understand why the people who call themselves your friends would still maintain a friendship with someone who burned you. It’s natural to feel angry and betrayed for a while, but those feelings will eventually lessen – probably when you’ve fully come to terms with point #1.

3. You’re going to miss out on things you shouldn’t have to 

Your mutual friends are going to invite both you and your ex to events because guess what? They don’t want to have to deal with choosing. Unfortunately, that means you will. If you’re dead against seeing your ex, you might need to bow out of events and decline invitations if he’s accepted them.

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If you’re on civil enough terms, consider proposing an “alternate” social schedule to your ex that the two of you can work out where you attend one event and he attends the next one, etc. The only other option is to not care, go anyway, and try to have a good time with the people you’re actually there to see. None of these choices is easy, and ultimately what feels right for you will be based on where you are in your journey to healing.

4. It’ll take you much longer to work through your divorce 

You can do everything “right” after your divorce – go to therapy, identify your share of responsibility for the decline of your marriage, work on self-improvement, and even try to spend the bulk of your time with people who aren’t friends with your ex.

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But having mutual friends means ultimately means you two are still connected, which is especially true in the case of social media. It can be like constantly picking at a scab that won’t heal. It’ll gnaw at you, and definitely extend your time working through your divorce. Try to be patient and remember that as clichéd as it sounds, the passage of time does heal.

5. You’ll continue to be caught off guard

Things you never thought could happen will. For example, I was shocked when I found out a mutual friend who offered to officiate my second wedding also agreed to officiate my ex’s second wedding. This happened three years after our separation, so perhaps our friend thought enough time had passed. But some things will always be too soon, and others probably won’t ever get it. Bottom line is, don’t be shocked when you’re shocked.

Divorce can be brutal. It’s incredibly difficult when you fee betrayed by someone and your friends don’t unequivocally choose your side. It does nothing to validate your feelings, and it may even seem like their loyalties lie with your ex and not you. But remember that in reality, your friends just feel uncomfortable and aren’t sure what else to do. No one wants to be in the middle.

Featured photo credit: Group of Friends by Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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