One of the most difficult things about moving back to Fort Wayne from Wabash was that some of my friendships had changed. When we were married, we had a close group of friends (complete with our own Insta hashtag, heeeey). I self-admittedly pushed some of those friendships away during my transition into singlehood…out of shame, embarrassment, and full on jealousy. Honest talk, ya’ll.
Being the seventh wheel is not a joy ride anyone wants to willingly take, but being that this was a status that I had not welcomed with open arms made it that much more difficult to embrace.
One of my first months back to town, I went to dinner with two of my closest “girlfriends” from our married clique. It was a seemingly normal dinner- the other two discussed their nursing careers, while I sat idly by, hoping for someone to STAWWWWP the conversation about saving lives, and instead talk about their joy of me being BACK IN TOWN!!! (only kinda kidding)
It wasn’t but a few months later that I got a scathing email from one of said girlfriends, notifying me that our friendship had done it’s time, and we were growing apart. Hmmm. Okay? What?
Those few weeks following, wrecked me. I struggled to understand. I replayed so many encounters with her, over and over. What. Did. I. Do?
I looked back over the length of our friendship and tried to compare and contrast. What was I doing now that she hadn’t done? What does she do now that I don’t do? Where had I failed her as a friend? Why did she feel superior to me? Why didn’t she want to be my friend. I felt like a child throughout this. But it wrecked me.
But that pain was temporary. I no longer wonder why then, but why not sooner?
Maintaining friendships that I had during my married years remains a struggle for me. It’s hard to be the odd man out. But additionally, it’s really hard to hear my friends’ struggles with their marriages. The everyday challenges that all marriages face seem so trivial in comparison to divorce. Do you know what I’d give to fold my husband’s laundry these days? A chore that I all-too-often complained about. I missssss his stupid white shirts and stinky gym shorts. (Ew! Too much?!)
Look, it’s inevitable that the invites to “couples nights” will subside. I am only half of a non-existent couple. I get it.
I was prepared to deal with the ending of my marriage, once it happened. But no one talks about the friendships that end with divorce. And look, the friend that cut me out was NOT a friend of my husband’s (quite the opposite, in fact). This makes it all the more difficult. I didn’t “lose” her friendship due to loyalty on the ‘other side’.
No one wants to be friends with the single gal. It’s uneven, unbalanced, awkward. I get it. But here’s the thing about true friends.
They. Don’t. Care.
They will have your back. They will call you over for pizza night. They will take you to dinner on the anniversary of your divorce, or your ex-husband’s birthday, or your kids’ first day of school, or parent night at school when they know you’ve struggled with going solo. They’ll bring you coffee on the tough mornings when you’re going it alone. Or text you in the middle of the day to tell you you’re a “kick ass mom”. They’ll be there for you when you’re messy, and depressed, and sad. They’ll call you on your crap when you make poor choices. And they’ll offer to watch your kids when they know you need a night to just.be.alone.
That’s the thing about friendships. You get to choose who you keep in your life and who you don’t.
And now, a few months removed from my girlfriend-breakup, I can HONESTLY say I AM SO THANKFUL that she had the guts to call it. Because I’m not sure I would have. We outgrow people sometimes. And that’s okay. But thank goodness that these are relationships that were never destined for the long haul. I am thankful for the role that my friendship with this person played for a brief season of my life. But I can honestly say that I have closed the door on that, and I am a better person without her.