People ask frequently how I cope. One of the ways I cope is through an incredible support system – my tribe. My solid, bad ass group of girlfriends. They show up, get things done and have my back. It is the most inspiring and heart-warming thing I’ve ever experienced.
Songs about this are as long as my arm. When you’re going through a divorce, you need your tribe. You may instinctively know who these people are in your life. You may even be surprised at who all ends up in your corner.
Whether you initiated the divorce or it was thrust upon you, you will need these people as you navigate this very muddy minefield. These girls will give you a shoulder to cry on, say what a **** he is, drink with you, chill with you, go out with you, make plans for you, plan an entire birthday month of parties, spend the night with you curled up on the couch, pull you out of the house when you feel like binge watching Netflix, open her house up to you and your kids in the middle of the night, laugh hysterically when it takes the two of you an hour and several household tools to open a bottle of wine, and close up like a vault when your name comes up during youth sports or PTA meetings.
These women are your lifeline during this very crappy and sucky process. You need them. You’ve been there for them (or you will be when the time comes) and they know this. They know you. They know your strengths and your weaknesses (e.g. oatmeal raisin cookies that they will stock their homes with and whip up a fresh batch with “I love you” notes). They will not let you fall or fail. They will stand by you. They love you.
Let them love you during this time. It isn’t weakness to talk to them, vent, cry, laugh-whatever you need. Everyone processes this differently. Some let all of their emotions out and cry or vent. I wanted to squash it all and put it in a box to deal with at some other time in the very distant future. Coming out on the other side, I can see that each have their value and place. I’ve learned to cry with my friends and do a bit of venting as well.
Just remember during this process that they are your friends and not your therapist. Yes, they will fulfill that role at times, but be sure you are having fun with them too. Be sure to ask them how they are and have those typical conversations you had before your life was turned on its head.
After the initial shock wore off, I didn’t want to discuss my ex or situation when I hung out with my friends. Yes, I’d give a general update about where things stood, but I had those thoughts in my head enough. I wanted to know about their lives. I wanted to have fun with them like we always had. I didn’t need to relive every bad thing he said or did. Saving full-on gripe sessions for your therapist allows you to focus on your friendship with your friends. No one wants to hear about your issues over and over. You know the friend who always complains? Don’t be that friend.
If you don’t have a group of friends like this, go find some. Seriously. I have a girlfriend in Dallas who joined MeetUp and found women in similar situations. They bonded. They’re still good friends.
You also need to understand that you aren’t a good friend right now. That’s okay, but eventually, you’ll need to move on to the next phase and go back to being there for your girls as well.