Personal Relationship

Dear Jade,

My friends are getting a divorce and it's starting to get nasty. I really don't want to take sides since I've only known them as a couple. How can I be supportive but not end up having to pick a side?



Dear Torn:

Friends are like children in a nasty divorce battle. They are subject to the same collateral damage. Friends will be forced to pick sides and social gatherings with either or both of the divorcing couple will, inevitably, become awkward. Normal non-divorce topics of discussion will now be considered taboo. No longer can you freely talk about children and money since they are, likely, settlement issues. What you are left with is a neutral topic, such as the five-day weather forecast.

Hopefully, they will recognize the situation they have put you in. Think about it, if you are having a problem dealing with their divorce, just imagine their stress. If you want to be in their lives, just be ready to accept your friends back into your life no matter what becomes of the divorce.


Dear Torn,

Sorry to hear about your friends' divorce. I can imagine that they both are experiencing many strong emotions, and unfortunately, they may express them to their friends. Yes, it will be awkward.

However, you can still be both of their friends, but you are going to have to set some rules like: they should not say bad things about each other in front of you. If they can honor your rule, you can continue your friendships with them separately. Good luck.


Dear Torn:

Divorce is hard on everyone, not just the two people divorcing. You are friends with both, so there is no reason you can't remain friends with both. Just let them know that when you are with one of them that you do not want to talk about the other. If it's clear that you are remaining neutral, then it should make keeping both relationships easier.

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