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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 April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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