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Sharing Friends after a Divorce

by Norris Law Group on December 20, 2013

The holiday season in full swing—office parties, Christmas parties, after-Christmas parties, New Year’s parties—and on and on and on. But if you are anywhere in the divorce process, events that once were fun might now seem anything but. If your social life centered on relationships you made during your marriage, what will you do now that your marriage may be ending?

Christine Gallagher, therapist and author of The Woman’s Guide to Divorce, writes about this in the Huffington Post.  One asset over which “the Court” may have no jurisdiction over is your shared friends.

In the event of a divorce (and even in minor domestic squabbles!), friends often feel they have to “stick with” one spouse or another. Even if friendships with both parties in a divorce are maintained, social events can feel terribly awkward for all concerned. Divorced or divorcing people may suddenly lose friends, or find themselves being left out of parties or dinners. Things may become even more uncomfortable if one or both parties in a divorce decide to bring a date to a function at which an ex-spouse may be in attendance.

Gallagher offers seven tips to help couples navigate through the process of splitting or sharing friends after a divorce.

  1.  Talk about it. Simply work out the situation with your ex-spouse, calmly and in an adult manner.
  2. Accept the losses. Your friends may feel a loyalty to your or your ex-spouse, and some friendships may naturally end.
  3. Split or share? If the lines of communication are open, talk to your ex about whether you will split your friends or share them. Discuss the relationships you both want to keep.
  4. Agree on rules. Set parameters on moving forward with shared friends. DO NOT pit friends against one another, or speak negatively in an attempt to “win” friends over to “your side.” 
  5. What to expect. You may need to relearn “how to be” around the your ex in social situations. Either you or your ex-spouse may start dating someone. Start thinking about how you might handle seeing your ex “out and about” under those circumstances.
  6. Communicate With friends. Feel free to speak directly with your mutual friends. They may not be sure how to stay friends with one or both of you, and would likely appreciate your honest input, as well as your consideration of their feelings.
  7. Stay flexible. Know that as time passes, the feelings you have now will change. It is possible, particularly if you have children together, that both will eventually be more comfortable sharing friends and socializing in each other’s presence.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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