When my so-called marriage fell apart nearly 10 years ago, I learned the importance of building a support team. I went to different spiritual and ethical communities, looking to bolster my faith in the goodness of people. And I talked to my family and friends about what was happening.
But not all of my friends knew how to deal with what I was going through. So I sought out others who did. I found that with women were also in a similar situation, I was able to share rage, fear, vulnerability, empathy, and hope.
Our stories were different, but they were similar in some ways: the part where our hearts got broken somehow, the initial perplexed and disoriented feeling, the whole scary and exhilarating process of pulling our lives apart and putting them back together in a way that felt healthy and right.
Sharing a meal or an afternoon with these women was much-needed respite from the storm. We’d meet for brunches and potluck dinners, share war stories and advice, and laugh ourselves silly over online dating profiles. We’d talk in snippets while our kids played nearby, providing more detail when they were out of earshot.
In between times, we’d talk online, walking each other off the ledge, providing anecdotal evidence, fact of law, and common sense. We’d encourage each other to trust our intuition, put that resume out there, dip our toes in the dating pool, and do nice things for ourselves.
These women walked with me out of the desert. I can only imagine how lost I would have been without them.
Before my divorcing days, I had a tendency to hide out in my cave to ruminate. But the lesson I learned from my divorcing days is that when you’re going through a major life change, it helps tremendously to surround yourself with supportive, trustworthy people.
Figure out which friends are on your team, and if your friends can’t actively support you, make some new friends who can.