You’re Not In This Alone: The Empowering Force of Friendship During Divorce
Walk down the street and you’ll see people so lost in reading their phones that they almost step out into traffic. In fact, while driving and texting gets a lot of attention for causing accidents, walking and texting has caused more than 11,000 injuries according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Whether it’s letting go of friendships, staying home in isolation or tuning out the world around you, solitude can be downright dangerous.
But during the divorce process it’s incredibly easy—and hard to avoid—feeling isolated. Your partner, likely the adult you’ve had the most contact with in your life, is no longer your primary confidant.
Women Need Friendship
It isn’t just marketing and Hallmark. There is actual scientific evidence that women need female friends. A recent study about female friendships found that it isn’t just about good times and having fun. During times of stress, friendships among women help release oxycotin in the bloodstream as well as hormones that calm and create a sense of wellbeing. Another study from Harvard Medical School links fewer physical impairments during aging to an active social life. Making plans, traveling, having a standing coffee date—all of these social touch-points can help guard against loneliness, isolation and sadness. They take you out of yourself and into the world.
Finding or Creating a Circle of Friends
But what do you do if your friendships evaporate with the marriage? This week’s guest understands the strength we derive from friendships and the relief that sharing can provide. Her work in the field of divorce recovery very much centers on building a network of friends.
This week I sat down with Deanna Coyle, founder of Vesta: ReDefining Divorce, an organization that provides informative and social events, retreats, and referrals for trusted professionals to educate and empower people who are navigating life during and after divorce. After leaving Wall Street, Coyle is working to bring people suffering during or after divorce into connection with people who can help them, offer perspective, and serve as a source of empowerment.
But let’s be honest. Not all friendships are created equal. Sometimes, friends want to re-hash drama or wallow in sadness. This is precisely the kind of friendship you don’t need in your life right now. If you don’t have positive friends, really think about where you might find some. Try the gym. Or church. But go where you might meet people interested in building you up and bringing positive energy into your life.
Identify What’s Important
Whether you’re creating a new group of friends or deciding who to take a break from, you need to have a clear sense of what you’re looking for in friends. Do you want people who can help you make tough decisions? Or do you want people to have your back no matter what? Finding your tribe may look different than it did before you got married or even than it did six months ago. That’s okay. You’re growing. So should your social circle.
If you’re considering divorce but would like to try an approach that might mean a brighter future, call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.