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Divorce Kills More Than Marriage

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My friend's divorce killed more than their marriage.

couple arguing

Guest blogger Erika: We were all inseparable, like in a Rat Pack, "St. Elmo's Fire" kinda way. Jane, Anna and I went through high school together -- friends for life, or so we thought.

Anna married her high school sweetheart, the one Jane and I came to think of as a brother, another best friend. Of course, this meant his friends would tag along with us everywhere we went as well, we a traveling party pack -- best friends for life. We were the constant in each other's lives, through college, careers and having our kids. We were no longer friends, but an extended family who planned on raising our children together, celebrating holidays together and growing old together. When my husband and I decided to leave the city so we could raise our kids in a house with a big backyard and trees, we thought we were so lucky to find one just three houses down from Anna and her husband. Jane lived a mere five minutes away with her husband. How lucky we all felt. How fantastic that we would grow old together.

But things don't always turn out as planned.

Like any marriage, Anna's had a few cracks in the foundation. It seemed the moment I moved down the street, those cracks became catastrophic. She sat in my living room one night and over her third glass of wine, announced to me that she had decided to have an affair. I asked her how could she cheat on her husband, my friend? I asked her to think long and hard about her marriage and what staying in it meant to her. So she did. She left him three weeks later.

Within a year, I had moved in and she had moved out. We remained close for a few months and she cried on my shoulder night after night, wondering how the divorce would affect her children. I assured her they would be fine, that she had to work hard to make certain the kids would be okay, that they didn't suffer. Little did I know how much our friendship would suffer.

People always take sides in a divorce, and sometimes they even surprise you. Things got ugly and other friends chimed in, everyone taking sides and tossing around insults and accusations. The divorce split more than just a nuclear family, it tore apart an extended family of friends

Now, no one speaks to each other. Anna has a new husband and a new baby. Jane has stage 4 breast cancer. She swore she would never speak to Anna again, and she hasn't -- even as the cancer makes her sicker and sicker. There's too much hurt, too much damage done. There's no going back now -- even when we all need each other the most. We always said we'd be there for each other through illnesses and the births of our children. Now one friend is dying, the other just gave birth and yet everyone is alone. That wonderful support system of friends has been shattered.

I miss them all sometimes, I miss the fun times and the support. I miss the history and wish we still had a future. I never see Anna anymore, but I spend as much time as I can with Jane, knowing that with her illness we don't have much time left. I hate that my children won't grow up with these wonderful women in their lives. I hate what this divorce did to this wonderful group of friends. Everyone suffers when a couple divorces, sometimes in ways we never expect.

*The names in this story have been changed -- so I don't lose any more friends.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Suzanne December 30, 2008, 12:34 PM

Yes, divorce is extremely painful. But you never know what’s going on inside the marriage. This article seems to have been about an affair that broke up a marriage. But there are other reasons for divorce, and yes extended friends and family will still carve your life up the middle.

But if there is a lot of mental abuse, put downs, and demeaning going on, then sometimes divorce is the only escape, that is, short of either murder or suicide. When ‘till death do us part becomes a life sentence, a glance 30 years into the future horrifies you, and your partner is too intransigent to get help and change with you, chances are your children want the divorce too.

Really the primary cause of modern divorce among long term marriages is modern longevity.

We can’t condemn all divorces.

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