When getting divorced, especially in a family oriented community, I have found that many of the people who I thought were friends and couples who I enjoyed many wonderful times with became distant memories. If I may be so bold as to create a comparison: Life is like an outfit; sometimes it flatters you and sometimes it fits, it sometimes needs changing, and sometimes it just makes you fat. Life has accessories too such as friends, homes, cars and a partner. When you change your life “outfit” many tmes your “accessories” need adjusting too. (Please don’t take this literally…it is purely for the sake of literary license).
In some ways the separation comes with a twinge of remorse: the couple who always served the best food, had the greatest views, the most engaging conversations and the best toys for the kids to play with. Other times it comes with an overwhelming feeling of relief. You no longer have to put up with that annoying wife of your husband’s friend who you never have anything to say to or made annoying jokes at someone’s expense.
Let’s just look at our work friends for a minute, our colleagues. When you switch jobs and forlornly say goodbye, you know that these people who you spent every day with for the past few years will most likely drop off the end of your life, never be seen again. It doesn’t necessarily reflect badly on them or on you for that matter even if you both keep saying, “Let’s keep in touch, ok”? For obvious reasons, in people’s fast paced lifestyles proximity does make for an easier friendship and since you never had to make an effort to see each other before what makes you think you would start now?
Are there any specific traits or behaviors that lead to long term friendships?
It reminds me of a book I once read about ordinary everyday people who became heroes due to a heroic act that they did spontaneously. They couldn’t explain what motivated them to act on the spur of the moment. There really was no defining trait for heroic behaviour. All that they could be sure of was that they were presented with a situation where they just knew that they had to act. What the author wrote in the forward to this book was that we are always so fascinated with what motivates the serial killer or someone who stands on a tower and shoots tens of people or who kidnaps someone and mutilates them and yet we are never fascinated by the reverse scenario: What motivates an ordinary person to act altruistically or heroically?
During my divorce proceedings many of the couples whom I thought to be close seem to have just become part of the unwritten divorce settlement. The reverse is true as well. I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself spending time with people and couples who I never would have in my previous coupled life. I enjoy their company and that’s all there is too it. They are kind and giving and we love to laugh together.
If you are looking for answers as to which friends will move to the other side and which will just fall through the cracks never to be seen or heard from again, I don’t have any. But let me just say that when you are single for the second time around you learn very quickly who your real friends are. You are wearing a new outfit and only you and you alone will decide which accessories look best on you.
And just remember darling: You look fabulous!