When you are out on your own and navigating the early stages life after divorce you’ll likely wake up one day and realize that you don’t have that ‘always there’ person. This can be even more significant if you are not close to your family. There are several areas of life impacted by this fact – some of which are just now dawning on me. Today I’m focusing on one, your social community, your tribe.
The 2 women with me in the picture above are part of the new tribe that is taking form around me. We talk about relationships, work, money, you name it, and we co-work when we can, as we are all solopreneurs who otherwise work on our own. They bring a new kind of heart and soul to my life and I am so very grateful for them. On this particular day I was struggling with something and they each, in their own way, held my heart and lent me their strength while I stumbled through a short round of tears.
Coupledom often Shapes the Friend Tribe
When one is part of a couple, the friend tribe is often circumstantial. Other than the friends that survived your transition into your marriage and a few work friends, it’s quite likely that a portion of your friend circle included other couples. If you had children, odds are that some of your friends are your children’s friends’ parents. Perhaps you were so involved with your children’s lives that they were the center of your activities, at least until their teenage years.
After you split yourself off from coupledom your relationships and friendships will change. Not all, but many. You’re no longer part of the couplesphere so you’ll not be getting together with your couple friends unless you and they are comfortable with you as a soloist.
People talk about their friends taking sides, or “owning” the person in the couple they were closest to. Whomever was the primary social person might be the one who was the center of the friend circle, leaving the other person to forge new friendships in the separation process. A friend of mine is going through a separation and he has come to realize that his social life with his wife was reliant on her circle. Fortunately for him he has his own friends, too, but it’s likely that her friends will remain her friends as he moves into his life as a soloist. If a man comes into the marriage with his “crew” he’ll probably leave with his crew intact. That’s just how it seems to work.
The Opportunity – Should You Accept It
Here you are now, in this new chapter of your life. Having moved out of the nest of familiarity, you have an unprecedented opportunity to move into new circles and see who shows up in your life. You can certainly connect with other women walking this same path, but you don’t have to limit yourself. You can meet new people around any new hobbies or interests you decide to explore. You could join one of the many online networks such as MeetUp to connect with others socially and educationally. You might even start a MeetUp group around a social or topical conversation, which is something I did when I moved from Sedona, Arizona to a more rural neighboring city.
Heck, if you’re up for it and like to travel, you can join something like CouchSurfing and travel the world, meeting new people who welcome the opportunity to connect and show others around. If you love dogs and/or cats and like to travel, consider TrustedHousitters for another means of exploring new places and meeting new people. In fact, when you are ready the opportunities are endless, depending on your budget, desires and interests. In the right town, you can even meet people at the local coffee place, one of my favorite approaches.
It’s been 2 years since I separated from my ex. My life feels rich with variety in the friendship world. They span 5 decades, which I love because I get to experience this variety of perspectives. Some are single; some are married. Most of my friends are entrepreneurial, and/or creatives, which makes sense given my own interests.
There are definitely days when I worry about life as a soloist, realizing there is no ‘my person’ right now, but when I think about my current tribe, I feel over-the-moon grateful.
~~~ What About You? ~~~
While you were married, were your friends his friends or your friends?
Did you always have your own friends? If so, do you see yourself keeping those friends close, or expanding into new networks?
Using my suggestions as a launch point, what are ways you might want to expand your tribe and explore new interests?