Is Divorce Contagious?

When people get married, the assumption is that it will last forever. No one steps into the role of a spouse with an inkling that the situation upon them may be temporary. No.

We fall in love, get married, have children and grow old together. That’s how it’s supposed to work. That’s how we want it to work. The reality is, it may not always work exactly like that.

Stresses of finances, kids and work demands can weigh heavily on any marriage, at any give time. Some weather those storms, fiercely holding onto the sails as the storms thrash them back and forth in the wind while other’s find that their grip lessens, finger by finger, slowly over time for a multitude of reasons.

Wherever you may find yourself in your marriage, thriving, struggling or letting go, it is okay. In life, there are challenges, obstacles, triumphs, failures and happiness. They all come in ebbs and flows and marriage is no different.

Why do I say it’s ok?

Because no person can dare judge where you are in your life without living your life. Where you are or where you choose to be is an inside decision. Those pressing their nose against a window have no right to criticize.

For me, I held onto my marriage for more than twenty years. I was with this person for more than half my life. Sounds strange, but he helped shaped who I am since I spent two decades with him. Unfortunately, it was time to end the struggle. Both of us deserved to be happy which we only found in fleeting moments toward the end of our marriage.

The decision was not made overnight nor devoid of heartache and struggle. The children are at the forefront when going through a divorce. The priority is to minimize change and hurt for the children you share together. If a parting husband and wife can commit to making every future decision with the children in mind, it’s really half the battle. The kids shouldn’t bare the battle scars of one’s own War of the Roses.

Divorce is a life changing moment for anyone. You part ways with the person you are most intimate with and have relied on for so long. The choice is not made lightly and change is imminent for all those directly affected. It’s a roller coaster of emotions and no matter how prepared you think you may be, trust me, you’re not.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there is a level of doubt when you cross that line of no return. A lot of people stay for the children’s sake, for comfort and familiarity. At the end of the day, fear masks itself as doubt. You’re stepping, no leaping, into the unknown. How will you survive, pay bills, handle major events without the benefit of knowing that no matter what, that person is there for you at the end of the day (because they legally have to be if nothing else lol)?

I first hand experienced two phenomenons during my divorce. I can best liken it to when you shine a flashlight inside a tent in the woods and all the little rodents or bugs scurry away from the light. Well, that’s how it is with friends. I’d consider myself someone that has some solid friends. In the midst of my split, none were to be found. Granted most people had no idea about my personal life, but those closest did. Friends weren’t checking on me, offering to help, asking if I needed to talk. All the things you’d rightfully expect from a friend simply didn’t exist during this time. It was hurtful, disheartening and shocking to say the least.

I walked that lonely journey alone but in the end, I’m better for it. I relied on no one but myself to get me through the single most difficult situation of my life. I was consumed with guilt, anxiety and worry day after day. All I wanted was for my kids to be okay and for me to not only survive but flourish. Several years have gone by and I can tell you that those things have come to fruition.

But here’s the most bizarre thing that happens that no one will give you a heads up about, well, until now.

Friends leave you. I mean people you are closest to, distance themselves from you. I divorced my husband, not my friends. I was the same person and the same type of friend through the entire process. Through the dissolution of my marriage, neither my ex nor I asked people to take sides and we did not bash the other. We both did what we could to make our friends feel comfortable.

A few of my “friends” said,, “my husband doesn’t want me hanging out with you because he’s afraid I’ll get ideas” or “I didn’t tell my husband because he won’t let me hang out with you if he finds out because you’re single now”. Wait! What?

Is divorce contagious? Does a woman have some predisposed gene that if a friend divorces, the gene is so strong that she will then follow her friend straight to the matrimonial attorney? Are husband’s so insecure in their relationship that they can’t trust their wife to hang out with a single woman? Does being a divorcee equate to being some kind of floozy who will drag her friends along to some sort of male whorehouse? It blew my mind…DAILY.

To the men out there who do this, listen up assholes! Jumping into a relationship is probably the last thing on a woman’s mind during a divorce. As the matriarch of the family, the woman will continue to strive to provide the children some semblance of normalcy. She’s simultaneously crunching the numbers to make sure she can live in something more than a shoebox. Divorce is a crucial time in a woman’s life and it’s whens she needs her girlfriends the most for support so guys cut the shit and stop interfering lol. Actually, I take my lol back.

By the way, should your wife suddenly jump on the divorce train soon after her divorcing girlfriend, I promise you that your relationship was riddled with problems way before she showed up.

Let’s end on a positive note! As the cliché says, love shows up when it’s least expected, and from people that were right under your nose the whole time. As you can guess, that happened to me. The Big Guy upstairs threw some fairy dust around and I ended up falling in love with the most amazing guy ever. It has landed me in the healthiest, most respectful, loving relationship and for that, I am grateful.

I can also attest that my circle of friends organically changed. I sadly realized some people were only comfortable being in my life when things were miserable and thrived on seeing me that way.

I remember a piece of advice someone once gave me and I’ll share it with you. A friend will stick by you when things are bad, but you’ll really know who your true friends are when things are going great and they are genuinely happy for you.

I have surrounded myself with like-minded, supportive people who choose to celebrate the good things in eachothers lives all while dumping those that wallow in self-pity and perpetual negativity.

I take pride in reporting that despite divorce, which can produce mass chaos in any family, everyone is okay. Me, my ex, my kids, my boyfriend have all survived what seemed like the impossible.

If you can relate to any of this blog, know that you will be okay too. Onward and upward we travel.

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