Many people fear that divorce will shatter their social circle. This is a realistic concern. Our marriages exist within a community, and divorce changes that. We foster connections as a couple, and some only work as part of this pair. Others may not know how to accommodate the new, single you into their couple-centric set.
Friends may worry that your divorce will rub off on them. Some researchers point to evidence of a divorce contagion, a way that divorce can spread through friendship groups. Friends in a shaky marriage don’t need a study to tell them that a new possibility has been introduced into your set. Someone who shuns you in a misguided effort to preserve her own marriage is making a statement about the vulnerability of her union, not your worth as a friend. Still, it’s painful when it happens.
In fact, we change friends in all major life transitions; divorce is no different. But it’s also a chance to improve our social circle. Sometimes, it brings old friends closer. Many people I’ve met said a fellow divorcee reached out to them in a new way, a tennis partner suddenly evolved into a confidant, a family member came forward with new warmth.
As rattling as it feels, a social shake-up also is a great opportunity to seek out people who better support your new life.