Divorce is like meeting up with your crazy friend from college years after graduation, and having them immediately admit they dropped acid right before picking you up and now you’re stuck in a car that they’re driving to the Mall of America which is five states away and there is a bag in the trunk of the car filled with cheap fireworks that go off every time you hit a pothole.
Basically, you have no idea how you’re going to get out of this alive.
As if it's not enough that your life is a mess and you're questioning every decision up to this point, suddenly you look up and all of your friends have disappeared. The drama is just too much. It’s like tax season is happening year-round and your friends are all horrible at math.
So what if you’re not Pollyanna anymore?
When your marriage is falling apart, you may, intentionally or not, end up isolating yourself from your circle of friends. When you crawl back to them, broken and at your lowest, you’ll find many are AWOL. They’ve run for the hills because you’re not Pollyanna anymore and having someone around who doesn’t fit into their obsessively positive worldview makes them uncomfortable. Let me save you some time. These are not your friends. They never were. If they can’t be honest in their conversations with you, if they can’t find time for you when you need them most, they’re not worthy of your time and attention. You don’t need to be anyone but who you are right now to be worthy of love and friendship.
Married friends and couple friends distance themselves.
Your couple friends seem to be missing, too. Seriously, where did everyone go? Don’t think too hard about it. And don’t bother trying too hard. If they don’t come around anymore, they’re not your friends either. You are now a physical reminder that their own relationship is imperfect and that happily-ever-afters aren't guaranteed. The more they distance themselves from you, the more insecure they are with each other. Congratulations on becoming a walking harbinger of doom!
Only someone who has been there really gets it.
I recommend only talking to only strangers for a while. Unless you want your friends to make awkward divorce jokes around you or simply avoid you like someone who is wearing a cape made of hamster skins. If you’re lucky, your divorced friend steps up at this point, holds your hand and says, "Let’s go make a cape of hamster skins from hamsters that died of only natural causes," and it makes you feel like you can wear that hamster cape with zero judgement. I recommend wearing it while you do your taxes, too.
Call it like you see it.
Being a divorced person gives you x-ray vision for life’s everyday bullsh*t. In fact, most people around you are so covered in it that you shouldn't be surprised to discover you can’t stand being around people at all. Honesty is imperative in your life now as you attempt to sort through who is truly important to you, who is there for you, and what your life is like now. Go ahead, don’t be afraid to use that x-ray vision; it’s your new divorced superpower. Your divorced bestie already has this superpower. Welcome to the club.
Friends after divorce are your only real friends.
Like a half-removed staple on a binder of the presentation you forgot to do until the night before it's due, you cling to those who can walk through this nightmarish process with you. Whether it’s simply dividing assets, dealing with attorneys, or walking you through a custody battle, everything is just too much to handle. Your divorced bestie knows exactly what all those insane legal terms are and doesn’t stop you mid-conversation for a definition.
Even small awkward moments in your day can mean hours of emotional turmoil as you turn each and every phrase and action over in your head. A divorced bestie is there to help you weather everything you're going through and to provide real guidance. She is the only one that can tell you when you’re being crazy—or maybe that it’s time to take off your hamster cape and re-engage with the world.
You'll have a lot of best friends in your life, but none are quite like a divorced bestie who is there through all the ups and downs. I don't know how I could have survived my divorce without mine.