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Can you Rebuild a Friendship After the Divorce?

Updated on March 9, 2012

My ex and I are becoming friends again. It won't ever be the same as the days before we were married or while we were married. But, I didn't like feeling estranged from him. We are far apart in physical distance but we have never been very far apart in friendship. It's hard to let that slip away even after a divorce.

I don't think every couple can go through divorce and keep a friendship. You have to let go of a lot of anger, sadness and other emotions. You even have to forgive things that you can still hear him saying in your mind. You need to let go (or hold less tightly) to things that hurt you so deeply you can almost feel the cracks in your heart, mind and soul. But, for awhile there is just numbness. That's how you pull yourself away at first. You just don't feel anything.

Then you live through the aftermath. The time it takes to rebuild yourself and your life. It takes a lot of energy to rise from your own ashes. I went through a time of wondering if I could ever feel connected to the world again. I journaled through the worst of it. Writing helped sort out my thoughts and pull some of them out of the muck my mind was in.

Then his email bounced, about six months after our divorce. I felt a shock that I might not know where he was, or that I could not contact him any time. That was the moment I reached back and connected with him again. It wasn't friendship right then. It was more like a feeling of loss, not wanting to lose our connection, whatever state it happened to be in at that time.

Now, about ten years later, we are friends. It's not a comfortable friendship where I just say whatever I am thinking and know he will understand. There are things I don't want to say. There are things that have become too personal. I's not as simple and uncomplicated as it had been. Ironic that the person I have been more intimate with than anyone (other than my Mother in a different kind of relationship) is someone I now feel reserved with and unsure. It's not that I don't trust him. I just feel I have to hold back. Burned once... twice shy. I don't believe he would hurt me but the burn mark is there, it hasn't quite gone away.

I am glad the friendship is there. It's worth keeping. My family wonders if we could/ should get back together. I don't like when they ask that. It's like they deny everything I felt and went through. As if it all were nothing. But, I don't say much about any of it to them.

By the time I actually publish/ post this a lot of what is on this screen right now will be edited out. I don't want to hurt my ex-husband or have him feel bad about what I'm feeling or have felt in the past. I am responsible for my own feelings, for what I take seriously and what I brush off. He isn't. In the end, I think that is how you recover from the divorce and re-work the friendship. You just decide what is important and what your priorities are. You don't choose to be bitter, you just choose to be happy.


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    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Best wishes SingleStrength. You've got quite a road ahead of you. I hope the kids aren't too young. If they are a bit older they can pull together a bit more and maybe you won't feel so alone at times. We didn't have kids. Sometimes I see that as a good thing; most of the time I don't.

    • SingleStrength profile image

      SingleStrength 5 years ago from MA

      Amen! In some cases a friendship is extremely important to keep if it can be done. I'm in the process now of a divorce by his choice....therefore, I know that bitterness you speak of....though my choice is to be happy and put my 3 children ahead of any "feelings" or "hurt" that I may carry at this time.

      Good for you! Strong woman!

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Thanks Marcy.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      I used to wonder how people could rebuild or recreate a friendship after divorce, but I finally understand it better. It doesn't happen overnight, but it can indeed happen and can transcend bitterness and other issues. This is a nice and thoughtful piece on a topic that can help many people. Voted up and useful.