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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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5 Things No One Tells You About Friends and Divorce

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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