With Friends Like Those . . . 

I need a good dose of reality to help me with a big problem. Please give me the kick-start I need to help me get over this shit I've been going through! I recently got a divorce and have found myself so incredibly alone. My ex and I have had the same group of friends for most of our lives. We have all grown up together. Because of the divorce, most of these people have taken sides. Naturally, it has been so incredibly sad to let those old friends go. They were like my extended family through so much . . . my first date in high school, smoking my first joint, learning how to drive. It's soooo sad when I think about it.

Why do people choose sides? I thought they knew me better than my own family did in some ways! Life can be so unfair! I know what you're thinking . . . why am I dwelling on the bad shit? I can't help it. Maybe it's a part of the healing process. Maybe I need to go through this fully and completely so that I can come to terms with it. The longer I ignore it or pretend to not care, the more it hurts when I see some of them again. Please help me figure out what to do. My brain hurts.

Dropped Like a Bad Habit

Actually, I'm not wondering why you're dwelling on the bad shit—what choice do you have? You not only lost your partner; your entire group of friends up and deserted you! Who wouldn't be mopey? What you're going through sucks, and trying to rationalize how you should feel is futile and will only make you nutty. Moan on, sister!

As for taking sides, well, sometimes you just have to. Nobody wants to see their pal hurt, and it's seminatural to lash out at the one who done them wrong. I had a friend who, pretty much as soon as his band got signed to Matador, immediately began cheating on his wife (also a friend). They were divorced before his hopefully not-long-for-this-world band's second release even hit the stores. Even more than I was incensed that he'd hurt her, I was disgusted that he'd become a pathetic cliché.

But most relationships don't end horribly; most simply run out of steam, and in cases like that, their friends can pick sides out of sheer laziness. Or, more commonly, fear.

Look around—couples tend to hang with other couples. Thus, when one of the twosomes becomes two individual onesomes, it causes a shift in the group dynamic. The still-coupled (notice I didn't say "happily coupled") start to examine their own relationships and wonder if, since it happened to you guys, could it happen to them? I know it doesn't make sense for someone else to be affected by your breakup, but I've seen it before—the bunker mentality kicks in, and desperate couples start to hunker down and protect what they've got. Because everyone knows that, much like herpes, divorce is contagious. And so you are shunned.

This is especially true when you're the suddenly single female. When you were married, you were somebody's wife and therefore not remotely threatening. (At least in theory, anyway.) Now that you've thrown off the marital shackles, you're seen on some level (be it conscious or not) as a harlot, just itching to man-steal. And because the chick half of the duo usually winds up playing Julie Cruise Director for both, she'll be way more inclined to plan activities with Jilted Joe than a potential Jezebel.

I'm not saying this lame-ass, insecure behavior makes sense, but I've seen it a million times.

A pal of mine ended a six-year relationship, only to have the exact same thing happen to her. Formerly close friends suddenly couldn't be bothered to return her calls. And even though her ex was an annoying cokehead, he was the one invited to parties. Understandably, this dual abandonment made her feel like crap on a stick, and eventually she had to find herself a new (single) group of friends.

Which is sad, but is also probably what you're going to have to do. Chin up!

You've got a friend: Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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