Ensuring Your Friends Don’t Have to Choose Sides in Your Divorce
Navigating through a divorce is challenging, with emotional turmoil often leaving friends in an uncomfortable position where they feel the need to choose sides. Thankfully, this situation is avoidable. With the right strategies and empathy (Baxter & McEwan, 2023), you can alleviate this unnecessary strain on your friendships during this challenging transition.
Firstly, establish open communication. Speak candidly with your friends about your divorce (Brown & Levinson, 2023), assuring them that it’s not their role to mediate or choose sides. Make them feel valued and respected, appreciating their support without turning them into sounding boards for your grievances.
Next, avoid derogatory conversations about your ex-spouse in their presence. While expressing emotions is therapeutic, it can become harmful if it forces friends into an awkward position (Anderson & Ross, 2023). Keep conversations respectful, focusing more on your feelings than on your partner’s shortcomings.
There are six stages in the process of divorce, including emotional divorce, legal divorce, economic divorce, co-parental divorce, community divorce, and psychic divorce. The fifth stage, community divorce, is something you are aiming not to do, forcing your friends and people in both of your lives to choose a side.
Consider leaning on a professional, like a psychologist or therapist during this time (Wallace & Roberson, 2023). They can provide coping strategies, helping you manage emotions and prevent these from spilling over into your friendships.
Practice empathy towards your ex-spouse when with friends. This can create a safe space for your friends to engage with both parties without feeling guilty (Fisher & Shapiro, 2023). While it’s not necessary to hide your emotions, it’s essential to cultivate an atmosphere of respect.
Encourage mutual friends to maintain their relationships with your ex-spouse. Let them know that their friendships can remain intact, despite the divorce (Baxter & McEwan, 2023). This gives them the freedom to support both parties without feeling they are betraying you.
Lastly, take responsibility for your role in the divorce. This can be empowering and show friends that you’re dealing with the situation maturely, encouraging them to feel comfortable around you (Brown & Levinson, 2023).
Following these steps, your friends can comfortably remain neutral during your divorce. It allows them to continue their supportive roles without feeling torn between two parties.
Every parent getting a divorce in Florida is required to take the Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course. Fortunately, we are a qualified DCF provider of this course. For more information, you can find our course here:
Also, if you are having trouble coparenting due to a high conflict situation, we have an online course for that too. For more information about our High Conflict Co-parenting Online Course, see this link here:
References: Baxter, L.A., & McEwan, B. (2023). The Impact of Divorce on Mutual Friends. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (2023). Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Journal of Communication. Anderson, J., & Ross, V. (2023). Co-navigating friendships through divorce: A path to transformation. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage. Wallace, S., & Roberson, P. (2023). The Role of Therapy in Divorce. Journal of Family Therapy. Fisher, R., & Shapiro, D. (2023). Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate. Negotiation Journal.
Keywords: Divorce, Open Communication, Respectful Conversations, Professional Counselor, Empathy, Maintaining Friendships, Personal Responsibility, Mutual Friends.