Nobody Gets It Like My Divorced Friends

After I got separated, an old high school friend reached out to reconnect. I hadn’t seen her in years, but she mentioned she was recently divorced. At the time I didn’t have any close friends who were divorced, I was feeling so alone and welcomed the connection.

I’m not being dramatic when I say that our first meet-up was life changing. She came back into my life when I needed a friend who really got it. The relief that washed over me as we chatted about all our similar struggles for hours that night was so validating. I truly believe it gave me the strength to get through the next year.

The only people who knew that I was getting separated were a few family members and one close friend, none of whom had ever been through a divorce. They tried their best, but I could tell at times they were at a loss for words.

Because my friend had been through a divorce, there was nothing I needed to keep from her. Even if I was having trouble expressing how I felt, she understood exactly. It was cleansing to be able to talk to her, and I could tell she was happy to have someone she could share the struggles of divorce with, too.

That was almost eight years ago. And she’s now my best friend. In fact, since my divorce I’ve drifted away from my married friends, and my closest friends now have been through a divorce as well.

I didn’t think this would happen, and it certainly wasn’t intentional. I’m still friends with married people, and we still have a lot to talk about.

But they don’t relate to me like my friends who have been through a divorce. Divorce changes you. My divorced friends are the ones who know what it’s like to spend a holiday without your kids. They are ones who know how scary it can be to lie awake at night worrying about money. They are the ones who carry the burden of doing life, parenting, and owning a home on your own and know just how heavy it can be.

My divorced friends give me support and strength to get through the hard days. And well, my married friends have no idea, and they can’t relate to my life the same way.

I’m not faulting them of course, but my partnered friends say things like, “Oh, you’ll be fine! You’ll figure it out.” They tell me that I should just focus on myself and that I don’t need to worry about meeting someone else because it will probably “just happen.” Meanwhile, my divorced friends offer to spend Christmas Eve with me while my kids are with their dad. They’re around for dinner on a Saturday night, and they always want to hear about my latest date or new class.

They get my life because they’ve lived it.

The funny thing is, most of my divorced friends are remarried or partnered now. But our relationship hasn’t changed because we’ve been through something similar and it creates an unbreakable bond.

I’ve had a few women contact me over the years who are going through a divorce. I’m so happy to connect with them, and hopefully, give back what my divorce friends have given to me.

Diana Park is a writer who finds solitude in a good book, the ocean, and eating fast food with her kids.

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