How To Handle Post Divorce Friends

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Kat54

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How To Handle Post Divorce Friends
« on: August 30, 2021, 12:44:40 AM »
Since my ex and I divorce was final a year ago weíve kinda buried the hatchet so to speak and have moved on from the anger.  We arenít friends and I can spend a little time with him. Though today was more than I could take but it was ok.

Sometimes though I wish I could see how people see us through their eyes. People who we were good friends with, who now today, post divorce still get together with when I go to the beach, or out in our town. But, apparently they view me as Iím not exactly sure, not a friend I guess, though I thought we were. My ex heís everyoneís best friend and the life of the party, extremely personableÖ but also a victim. He played that up big time and probably still does.

Iím not sure how to handle a friend situation. Good friends ( or so I thought) of myself and my ex their oldest son is getting married and my kids and ex were invited to the wedding, but they chose to not invite me. I was pretty hurt but trying to be the better person and Iíve been a bit distant to them, but Iím trying to let it go. So now the younger son just got engaged, who my son is best best friends with. The day of the engagement the parents had people over for a little engagement party. Again, my kids and ex were invited. My daughter said to please come it was casual and not a big deal. I went for a few minutes but I felt so out of place and didnít belong. I went up to the family and congratulated them, but felt like it was a mistake and wanted to leave. They were gracious and I just donít know what to think.

Should I finally say something to them about the wedding and now their other sons engagement party.  Itís all been extremely hurtful the whole friend things.

Itís things like this that make me want to crawl into a hole and never come out.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2021, 12:58:27 AM by Kat54 »

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notrightinthehead

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Re: How To Handle Post Divorce Friends
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2021, 03:37:27 AM »
I am not saying that this would be right for you, only telling you my experience. For a year after I left, I kept in touch with "our" friends.  I was invited to their get togethers and I went. But I did not feel relaxed and comfortable. I felt that everything I said and did might be reported to my ex.  After a year and a bit I had a disappointing experience with one of the group, a lady who befriended me and seemed to like me, but then told me she would keep a distance and I should think about what I had done wrong. After that, I did not initiate contact with anybody from the friendship group, and neither did they. Turns out, they were never my friends. Otherwise somebody  would have contacted me during the last two years.  Which I respect and accept. Now I hardly ever think of anybody from that group, nor do I want to get in touch. And if I do, I remind myself that they obviously chose who they want to be friends with.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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nillah

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Re: How To Handle Post Divorce Friends
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2021, 12:49:46 PM »
I'm sorry you're experiencing this, Kat54.
I don't know if your ex was NPD or related, but I can speak from my own experience that they do charm their surroundings including your friends to their narrative and so people end up believing them and even protecting them against you. This has been a shocking realization for me, because all this time I really thought all those people cared about me and that we're truly friends. Now, almost none have contacted me, not even a courtesy message. And the ex is busy trying to paint a victim image of himself, and trying to tease out any flaws from me (including my childhood trauma) as an explanation for why the relationship was bad. It's very painful because the friends do not see that they are making conclusions & judgements only based one one side of the story. Maybe they know this and simply don't care because they are charmed/trauma bonded to him? Maybe not, I'll never know. I do feel betrayed, and some days it hits me hard in the chest, but I know it is part of the grieving process so I just flow with it and know it will pass, and one day it will seem so far away.

I'm sorry that I don't have any practical advice about how to handle the invites. My T would probably advise to try to call out the issue with the people who are sending out the invites: just kindly note that you didn't receive any invites and ask them if they left you out because they didn't want you to show up, or if it was simply forgetfulness/something else? Two possible outcomes: (1) you might happily discover that you made the wrong assumptions about why you didn't receive the invite, (2) it could help the others start to see you differently (this has worked for me in the past) because usually with time people start to either get too lazy to stay protective of the abuser or they might start to see themselves that the abuser is unstable (but this depends on how close they are to him).
But the real question is whether you want to be at those events altogether? It sounds like you're not enjoying it when you do show up, maybe that's a clue already. If it doesn't fill your cup, it might help to shift your focus away from what-could-be's to what you've got going for yourself (your own social circles, your own special time with your kids, etc.). I know this won't take away the pain, but it will make it more tolerable.

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clara

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Re: How To Handle Post Divorce Friends
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2021, 02:04:54 PM »
I think this is a real "listen to your gut" situation when it comes to thinking of these people as friends.  Are they really people you want to be with/spend time with?  Right now it seems you've left the ball in their court on how THEY want to proceed with the relationship, and are giving them all the power of decision. 

From my experience, the whole "mutual friends" situation isn't worth the trouble is causes.  When a couple breaks up and there are mutual friends involved, they almost always seem to take sides.  They're no more comfortable with the situation than you are, and try to deal with their own emotional investment by sticking with one person and letting the other go.  It's easier on them, and they likely believe it's also easier on you to not be around your ex or anyone who is remaining friends with him.   

When I was in your situation, I didn't pursue those old relationships because those old relationships weren't pursuing me.  I felt that if someone still wanted to remain friends with me, they would let me know, and those who were friends with my ex simply didn't.  So as far as I was concerned, those old friendships were over and done because they were based on who I was as a couple, not who I was as an individual.   I found and cultivated my own friends, people who had little to no involvement with my ex, and discovered what a relief it was to not have him somehow in the background.  If I had tried to hang onto those old relationships, he would've always been "there" one way or another. 
 

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Kat54

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Re: How To Handle Post Divorce Friends
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2021, 09:11:07 AM »
Thank you all for your thoughts and advice. My ex is kind of undiagnosed NPD. The therapist we were seeing at the time told me separately he had some major issues. Narcissistic, anxiety, the whole thing. Naturally he stopped seeing her, thought she was crazy.
He is the ultimate charmer, he still even charms me, but only when people are around. When we are alone heís cold and can barely say even a hello, itís his usual Jekyll and Hyde persona. In public Heís like the unofficial mayor of our small beach community. Many people were shocked and dismayed at my decision to leave and divorce him. So when these friends invited my ex and kids to their sons wedding my best friend who is friendly with the wife was told  the reason was, she felt a closer relationship to him. Of course she did, even though weíve been out together, just the girls, go to the beach together, have had many long conversations. I even foolishly confided in her about our divorce. Iím definitely more reserved and the complete opposite of my ex.

He paints himself the victim, and heís also a chronic liar. Heíd tell you the skyís purple and he absolutely believes it. It got back to me from one person that I had been cheating on him, so the reason for the divorce. So now I know why some people have been shunning me.

What makes it also hard is my best friend is close with her so she invites this woman and then it kind of forces me to be with her.

I moved an hour away to another town so Iím hoping to make some new friends and have a second chance at a good life again, but I still love my old hometown beach community so I go there often and have to deal with this kind of nonsense. It will be better for me to let go of the people we shared as friends.

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hhaw

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Re: How To Handle Post Divorce Friends
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2021, 01:52:12 AM »
The people you thought were your friends?

The ones who feel they must make a choice between yu and your ex?

They aren't worth your breath, so please don't feel bad about releasing them, hopefully without too much sadness.

They're being manipulated, but they have to want to be manipulated, even just a little, to buy the PD's stories wholesale and without coming to you.

Your instincts to seek out new friends is sound.

Accept some of your "friends" had to be casualties of the divorce......  turn to things you can control. 

You're free now. What will you do with that freedom?

hhaw



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