Divorce. It’s not something anybody ever thinks will happen to them. Even though everyone knows divorce is still common, nobody thinks they’ll be one of the statistics. The Center for Disease Control reported nearly 747,000 divorces in 2019 (court closures during the 2020 pandemic made accurate numbers hard to collect.) The good news is that divorce rates have actually dropped substantially over the last 20 years. In the year 2000, there were nearly 945,000 divorces. So, there should be some optimism in the air. But still, divorce exists, and research out of The National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that it hits women the hardest, leaving them more at risk for poverty and single parenthood than men.
So if your friends seem worried about you after a divorce, they have good reason to be. But, worry isn’t always the emotion friends display. People can get a little weird after you get divorced. Not everyone in your network can be quite certain how to respond. And, it can be surprising to learn just how much of your dynamic with a friend relied on your being married. For that reason, at a time you need friends the most, you might see some the least. Here are reasons friendships change after divorce.
Hesitant pillars of strength
Some friends can worry that if they let you lean on them after divorce, you’ll lean on them too much. People can hesitate to become too involved in your grieving process, and want to set certain boundaries, which makes it seem like they’re pulling away. So while some friends might tell you their home always has an open door to you, and you can show up any time you need company, others might want to make it clear that is not the case. Remember that some people are not comfortable around grief, and others may not be as generous with their love and support as you thought. Some friends do disappear when supporting you becomes “too much work.”