three friends

After divorce, can he be friends with the ex?

TOH SMALL 11Dear Housewife:

How do you handle friendships when there is divorce (i.e. one of your good friends divorces his spouse, but you and the spouse have become friends)? Can you remain friends with the ex?

– The Third Wheel

Dear Third Wheel:

Just because your friends filed divorce papers with one another doesn’t mean that you must file also.   I think that you should make it clear to both of them that you value their friendship and would like to remain friends with both of them.  Be prepared that one party may object to your decision and may choose to distance himself/herself from you.  Let the ex go in peace.  Do not put a fight.  This response may be a blessing in disguise, resulting in less drama.  However, if both exes are fine with it take the extra step of defining topics of discussion which are off limits.  You must be a neutral party.  Do not allow them to pump you for information about the other, share gossip, etc.  You do not want to unwittingly add fuel to the divorce fire!

(Featured Illustration Jim McHugh. Photo © Diego Vito Cervo

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As long as the topic of conversation is not always about your past marriage. Find common ground to keep the friendship intact that doesn’t cause you to choose sides.If there are kids involved where your child may be friends with the divorced parties kids it would be unfair to them to have to also stop their friendship.

Solomon Jones

This divorce question begs another question: What if your friendship with your friend’s ex starts to morph into something else? Can the three of you still remain friends? Is that even cool? Where I come from there are unwritten rules against those kinds of things, but not everyone thinks that way.

Solomon Jones

Great point about the children, too. They are often the people hurt most by divorce, but we don’t often think about their lost friendships.