Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

People seem to believe there are sides in a divorce.

In actuality, there are not.

pexels-photo-260606I know what you’re thinking, bear with me.

First, let me preface this by saying no mature, confident adult expects another human being to take sides.

What they do expect is sincere friendship. 

And friends who see the situation accurately and do what is in the best interest of the children.

Of course, there is one disclaimer. Any social acquaintance or person one is not particularly close with, may, in fact, choose to stay neutral. This is a natural reaction. They simply aren’t close enough to the situation to warrant wanting or needing any involvement.

That being said, if you have what you would consider a good, close or best friend politely or not so politely explain they do not wish to take sides…

Well, then DANGER WILL ROBINSON.

Meaning?

There absolutely isn’t a wonderful friend in the world who would dare even consider speaking these words.

It would never occur to them. Why? Because the absolute first priority would be showing up in your life for you and your family. Asking if they could listen or help in any way. Inquiring about how your children are doing? How are things progressing? What are the hardships and difficulties? What are the needs?

I refer to those who DECLARE they have taken sides or say the feel FORCED TO as the ‘couple conundrum.’

This rare freak of nature in marital suburbia which comes alarmingly close to the fabled  ‘high school break-up.’

You remember, don’t you? When you dump or get dumped how the proverbial teenage boy or girl and their friends ‘gang up’ on you? Wait, did I say that? I mean ‘take sides.’ 

It sounds so much more civilized and grown-up that way, doesn’t it?

Certainly, and ultimately every single person has their loyalties.

That is the extravagant dividend of true friendship.

But mature and confident people don’t draw a line in the sand. They determine a kind and appropriate manner in dealing with divorce.

For example:

When my husband and I first started having problems, one of his friends chose friendship rather than taking sides. He took my husband out to lunch and showed true concern for him as a friend and our entire family. In essence, he treated us all very well and most importantly, put our children first.

Later, when the divorce began his wife called me.

She did not call to say she felt conflicted as the guys were long-time friends. She did not call to say she felt two sides existed. She did not announce the situation made her uncomfortable. Nor that she felt my obvious pain forced her in one direction or another.

She simply called and said she wanted me to know she felt compelled to reach out to me despite the circumstances because I was a good person.

She could never imagine how those few moments impacted me.

How in a time where less some less mature people were making me walk the sidelines – she stepped over it to shake the opposing team’s hand.

Another example:

A couple I know and respect had two of their closest friends initiate divorce proceedings.

The husband and wife, true to their friendships talked about the situation.

They both chose to be the friends they had always been to each of the respective spouses. With great respect for one another’s feelings, they came up with some ground rules. Their house would not necessarily be where they met. If they were going out to meet one of the divorcing friends they would just meet them somewhere else.

This was a situation they could both live with.

Neither of them would have respected the other had they walked away from their respective friends but neither did they want to appear disloyal to each of them.

So do you see a commonality evolving?

Divorce does not have to be the all or nothing of FRIENDSHIP.

There is a way to be good friends to people going through an already impossible loss.

I think that bears repeating…

There is a way to be good friends to people going through an already impossible loss.

Frankly, there is something very troubling that happens to otherwise decent people witnessing divorce. They lose their sense of right and wrong. Even when a spouse does the unthinkable, they are still someone’s mother or father. The children are witnessing every adult who compassionately reaches out to their parents and those who declare it’s too uncomfortable.

The children need those good friendships to remain as much as their parents do.

It represents continued stability in the family and friends arena of their lives.

Unfortunately, it’s fairly universal in divorce (especially once you have been married many years) to experience the ‘ganging up’  – did I just say that again? I mean the ‘taking sides’ grown-up phenomenon. 

And it is initially devastating.

That is until you realize there is absolutely no such thing as ‘taking sides.’

No friend who is devoted to you and loves you would ever utter those words NOR would they insinuate you perpetuate it. A wonderful friend is a loyal friend.

They stay up later than they should, listen longer than anyone would want to and continue to see the best in you at your worst.

They see the tragic and ugly side of divorce and they wouldn’t wish it upon anyone especially one they hold so dear.

They hurt for your children and show up in your life so your kids get reimbursed the love they are currently hemorrhaging.

They don’t stand for anyone criticizing your disheveled self or life because they know it’s temporary and not who you are.

You won’t retain every person in divorce.

That is not a rational expectation.

But believe me, any individual who speaks of sides was never someone you ever held, to begin with.

Not to worry…

Soon their dull whispers of doubt are overpowered…

By the friends who have been too busy cheering you on from the sidelines to ever notice there was another team.

Funny – Fans are loyal that way. 

 

(Picture courtesy of Pexels)

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