THAT OLD GANG OF MINE
You can divide the possessions, acquired over a lifetime together, and decide who’ll keep the house. But in the end, who gets custody of your friends when you get divorced? Unlike the coffee table and wedding china, your friends have this thing called free will and it’s no picnic deciding who’ll get to keep them. Unfortunately, you can’t saw them in half or bargain for them; it just doesn’t work like that.
As soon as you announce the big split, you’ll begin to notice changes in your friend’s behavior, because people have a way of getting uncomfortable around divorcing couples. They’ll do their best to side-step the name-calling and blame-assigning that goes with the territory and try to pretend they’re Switzerland, claiming neutrality, and may even tell you “I am Switzerland!” But there’ll come a time when they’ll forget their forsworn allegiance to this noble inclination and choose sides. Remember, grieving a death, even the death of a marriage, is a process; there are stages to go through. But the way you and your friends move through them will differ wildly.
Stage One is: Denial. By the time your friends realize you’re divorcing you’ll have long since passed this stage. Thank God! The whole thing dragged on long enough as it was and it was definitely time to cut your losses and run. For you, this stage was the emotional equivalent of devouring a pound of stilton cheese while watching an exercise video and thinking you’re getting a workout.
Remember to have patience with your friends as they deal with this stage of grieving because they’ll move through it quickly. After all, they can see your marriage doesn’t have a prayer in hell, so why waste another minute pretending otherwise?
And just like that, you’ll move on to Stage Two: Anger. Your friends will have something to chew on here, as this feeling is served up with a great big side of confusion. They’re pissed as hell about the whole situation but haven’t a clue who they should be mad at. Most often the men will see which way their wives are leaning and go that way. “Do you know what he did to her?” The wives will exclaim. “I’m surprised she stayed as long as she did!”
You’ll find your friends, although well-meaning and full of vindictive ire, have nothing on you when it comes to this stage. You own Stage Two and even though you’ll eventually move on, you’ll be re-visiting this stage often and loudly. This is to be expected.