Seven years post-divorce I often wonder where some that I considered friends went. As I look around or inventory, if you will, my friends, there are those that are missing. They didn’t die; they just are not in my life anymore. There are quite a few that come to mind right now that I don’t know where they went. Oh, I see them occasionally, even hear about them from others, but they are no longer a part of my life. So I guess the correct question would be not where did they go, but WHY did they go. There are even a couple that I would say were very close to me, others somewhat close, and still others not very close, but still friends. It is not like they came to me one day and said they no longer wanted to be friends. It’s not like we had a fight. It is not like I did something to make them angry. One day they were not speaking to me, even glaring at me from across the room, talking about me behind my back. Since they don’t speak to me, I can only guess about why they chose to exit my life. I have no real answers.
One woman and I were what I thought was very close. We had daughters about the same age, so there were playdates. We attended the same church. We went to lunch together. We went shopping together. Our families vacationed together. We shared thoughts and hopes and dreams and intimate details of our lives.
Then my husband walked out, and she was gone.
She did not call or email or come by. When I saw her at church, she turned her back to me and looked the other way. Granted, I did not reach out to her; I was a little consumed with trying to breathe now that my world had fallen apart. When I finally came up for air, she was gone.
So, did she suddenly decide she didn’t like me? Was she afraid I would come after her husband? (Ew!) Or was she so controlled by her husband that because he was still a business associate of my soon-to-be ex, he didn’t want her associating with me?
At this point, my guess is the last. And the reason I guess this is because the “men” are still business associates, and my daughter, when she is with her dad, still occasionally sees this former-friend’s daughter. I still see her and her family sometimes at church and church functions, and I still receive nasty looks. I have still never heard from her since my husband left.
Another woman and I were friends, close enough that when her husband cheated on her, she came to me for support and comfort and guidance. I was brutally honest with her; I couldn’t guide her, I had no experience in that area. (Do you ever think God places those in your life for you to learn a lesson for later?) But I was there for her, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen. She wanted so badly to save her marriage. My husband at the time and I tried to be supportive. I included her and her girls in dinners at my house, activities with my family, meanwhile, trying to talk with her husband and working on their marriage. My husband at the time spent time with her husband as we were all friends, telling us that he told him to work on his marriage and what the right thing to do was (in hindsight, I am not so sure that is what he was telling him.) This friend struggled for quite a while, and they were working things out, then they were separated, then working it out, then separated, then working things out. I stayed in communication with her throughout all the changes and ups and downs she was going through.
Then my husband left and she was gone.
A year or so later, I heard that she was together with her husband and “they” were friends with my soon to be ex. I no longer heard from her, I no longer saw her at church She no longer answered my calls or texts. Fast forward another 4 or 5 years and I heard that she was either divorced or getting divorced. Hmm, do you think she will be my friend again?
Then there was the one that I was friends with because our husbands were friends. I am not saying we were not friends or that I didn’t like her, just that our husbands are the reason we became friends. We lived in the same neighborhood, so we spent a lot of time together, even vacations together. When my husband left, I remained in the marital house and they remained my friends. I still did things with her and her husband and kids. I was still invited to their house, and they still came to mine. We were still friends. Then came the time when I moved out of the marital house and my soon-to-be ex moved back in…and she was gone.
I saw them at a school function and they turned and walked away. No phone calls, no texts, no emails, no invites, nothing. But she did ask my children, “hey, how is your mom?” and then “tell your mom I miss her!” REALLY? If that were true, why would she not call or text or email me?
There are others that the former “we” were friends with “them” or I was friends with her because of the husbands being friends. Those are easier to ummm figure out or accept I guess. Doesn’t mean they didn’t hurt or confuse me.
I understand it is difficult when “friends” go through hard times, especially a divorce. It is hard to know how to comfort and support. It is hard to know what to say, or not say. But do we really have to choose sides or make definitive breaks from one side or the other? I pray that I am aware, that I am flexible, that I am open, honest, supportive, friendly, and mostly still a FRIEND to those I know and call friends. Perhaps one day I will get a chance to ask those who are gone, “where did you go?” Or perhaps I just need to chalk it up to a reason, a season, or a lifetime.