Q: I’m a newly divorced woman and everyone is acting bizarre around me. All of my old female friends think I’m after their man, and old male friends suddenly believe I want them. I'm both flattered and hurt. First, I didn't think I was that good looking or appealing to anybody. Second, these people were my friends and now they treat me like I’m loose or a wanna be a home wrecker. Every conversation seems to have their own personal spin. We have the same conversations as before the divorce, with the same people, but now it's like I don't know them anymore and they forget who I am and it’s very hurtful.
I understand that after a divorce friends will take sides with one or the other, but this is different. It's like when divorce becomes your new status, very old, very good friends, depending on female or male, read that as “watch your man” or “now's my chance.” When I needed their support the most, they freaked me out. The women ran away and the men started to stare. Good luck with trying to figure that out.
I hope you can shed some light on this weird phenomena.
A: I understand how the reactions from your “friends” can be hurtful and there could be some validity to your thoughts. It’s almost as if when you're married, being friends with other couples is like some secret, close-knit society. Everyone gets married around the same time, you're all bridesmaids in each other’s weddings, and if you have kids, you try to synchronize pregnancies so you can plan play dates. And even if the friendship isn’t so cliché, or if I may be so bold, immature, you still do “couple things” with “couple friends.” If one of you gets divorced, you’re considered the outcast, the third wheel. It’s no wonder they are treating you different, because you are different to an extent.
Women and men tend to present a certain aura after getting out of a bad relationship. You may appear brighter and more confident than you did before breaking free. Just so happens, your friends aren’t appreciating the new spring in your step. There could be a number of explanations: They are bent on only hanging out with other couples, they really do view you as a threat, or they are suffering a loss as well. Were they good friends with your ex-husband? Of course, none of this means you’re doing anything wrong. Next time they act awkward, call them out on it, ask questions, and tell them exactly how you feel. If they’re the good friends you say they are, you should be able to discuss it with them.
As far as the men go, while I totally understand you’re not looking to jump on any offers, maybe they had their eye on you all along and love the fact you're finally single. Unless it’s a friend’s husband, then we may have some issues. If so, come back and we’ll delve into things further. Otherwise, enjoy the compliments. A little attention goes a long way. It is flattering and can be a great self-esteem booster. Something we all need after the big D word!