The other day, quite out of the blue, I thought that if I were to get remarried now that I would have no one to invite to the wedding. It would only make sense to go to the court house because there wouldn't be any guests! The meaning of this thought was not about weddings or getting remarried. Rather, it was a harsh reality check about the friends I have lost since my divorce. At my wedding in 2006, I had 50 friends attend and 11 family members on my side. These were people I knew from being a school volunteer, my previous social services job and families from the travel baseball teams.
As I thought back to all of the people who have faded out of my life in recent years it struck me that my two remaining friends are my close girlfriends, both of whom are divorced. I have maintained no friendships with the married couples from my past.
This so upset me that I brought it up with my closest girlfriend. She admitted to having lost touch with some couples as well and attributes it to the fact that now our boys are in high school and no longer on travel baseball teams. They played travel 10 months out of the year and naturally the parents of the team built up connections since we were traveling long distances for our sons to play. Six months of the year we'd be at games every weekend together. But then high school came and it is a different dynamic with the school sports.
I understood this explanation but STILL. To have lost touch with so many people. To have such a small network of close friends when before it was abundant. This was troubling me.
Last night, I came across an article about divorced and widowed women and friendship. The article talked about how many women do lose their married friends after becoming single. Apparently, married folks are uncomfortable interacting with the newly single for a couple of reasons. First, there is the fear of contamination. I guess some people are afraid that by associating with a divorcee or widow, they could possibly end up in the same boat. There can also be a fear of the newly single woman making the moves on the married guys, so the married women do their best to keep their men safe and off-limits. I've heard this before but never really thought it that likely. But it was mentioned as a reason married women do not like associating with single women. Lastly, the article brought up that like attracts like. People want and feel more comfortable hanging out with their own. So, married folks seek out friendships with other marrieds and singles feel better with other singles.
Light bulb moment - so that explains why I've maintained the most contact with the two friends I have - they are both single in a town with very few singles. It all makes sense. But it doesn't make it that much better or easier.
The article suggested cultivating new friendships. This was followed by the comment of a single mom of a daughter who basically said, "I'm already fatigued working, parenting and keeping up the household on my own. And now I have to go out there and make new friends? Where is the time abailable to do this?"I soudly second this mom's frustration! And I guess make the point that again, widowhood and being divorced is an ongoing phase of life that doesn't end with the funeral or the signing of the divorce papers. The secondary grief losses including loss of friendships and support networks are huge! Here are depleted people in need of support, lacking friendship, dealing with the loss of relationships along with everything else on their plates being told to get back out there into the social scene. I want to laugh at the absurdity of this. Then I want to cry a little!