Going through a divorce can be an incredibly personal and emotional time in your life not only for you but also for your friends and family. The closest people in your life will naturally want to be there for you during this time but having them around will not always be the most healthy situation. Therefore, it is important to establish clear and healthy boundaries for your relationships with friends and family as you progress through your divorce. While they may not completely understand your reasons, in the end your decision to keep your friends and family out of your divorce will help you, your spouse, your children, your friends and family, and your future relationships to be healthier and happier.
You and Your Spouse
Your divorce is first and foremost about you and your spouse. Friends and family, while well intentioned, do not need to be privy to every challenge you are facing. Divorce means having to hash out every part of your marriage and having other people weighing in, even when they think they are helping, can hurt negotiations with unwarranted opinions. Divorce proceedings need clear heads, and a friend or family member who is strongly biased in your favor can influence your opinion in a negative manner and cause unnecessary conflict. Even if they mean well, unfounded advice from someone who isn’t directly aware of all of the circumstances may cause more harm than good to you and your spouse and potentially needlessly increase your attorney fees and costs, including having to pay for your spouse’s fees and costs.
Friends and Family
Your friends and family will also be affected personally by their involvement in your divorce. If they are friends with you and not your spouse, they are likely to resent your spouse based on their one-sided opinion. Likewise, your spouse’s friends may come to resent you for the same reasons. If allowed to fester, these resentments may turn into a dislike strong enough to affect your opinion and cause even more strife to color your divorce. In addition, married couples often share friends. These are often other married couples and by involving them in your divorce it can cause rifts between them as they watch their friends struggle to separate their lives. They may not realize it, but getting too close to your divorce may bring up issues in their own relationships that could hurt them in the long run.
Finally, involving your friends and family in your divorce can affect your relationships with them in the future. In the moment, divorce my impact your relationships negatively by creating rifts between you and your friends who find themselves in an awkward situation. They may feel the need to provide advice, be fiercely protective of you, or take your spouse’s side against you. All of these situations can lead to resentment, which, when left to fester, can have serious repercussions on your relationships. Even when your friends and family want to be there for you during your divorce, setting clear boundaries on their involvement is best for all involved. Let your friends and family know how they can help you during this time and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Don’t over involve them, but don’t ignore your relationships altogether during your divorce. Take time to be intentional with your friends and family throughout the process and you’ll all be thankful for it later.