When I got divorced, I felt like there were two camps, and most people felt like they had to choose one. There are a few people who tried to stay neutral, but it was just awkward.
With the camps came newly formed rivalries, with the fallout being I suddenly lost some friendships. In other words, certain people who I naively thought were my friends didn’t like me anymore.
This is truly to be expected in a divorce. The people who no longer like you are typically the people who were and are close to your ex. It’s strange to think that those who used to be so warm and kind now see you as the enemy, the devil, the bitch, or the woman who ruined your ex’s life. It’s unnerving and it feels unfair.
There are also camps created in your new life after your divorce. The new guy you are dating’s ex wife and possibly the kids might be icy. Why? Because they are on the other team. What’s ironic is, these people might otherwise treat you with kindness and respect. You might even be best friends under different circumstances, but the fact is that you are now her ex’s new girl and for that reason, you are “the woman my ex is dating,” which she tells her friends while rolling her eyes and pretending to gag and possibly vomit.
Here is a list of 10 people who might not like you after your divorce:
1. Your Ex. This is the most obvious. Couples who like each other during a divorce or right after are pretty rare. After time goes by, divorced couples might become friends, but when the divorce is fresh, don’t expect your ex to be a big fan.
2. Your ex mother-in-law. You probably weren’t her favorite while you were married, so why would she like the woman who is divorcing her son? Even if he was the one who initiated the divorce, and even if he left you for someone else, the mom almost always sides with her son. Not that we can blame a mom, but it’s pretty sad to me how some mother-in-laws can dump their daughter-in-laws so quickly. It’s a horrible feeling to know the love was so conditional, and I feel for you if that is the case.
3. Any woman who ever had a crush on your ex. All of a sudden, her feelings come back and he is the cute guy who could never do any wrong. If someone is going through a divorce with him, she must be a total bitch. That would be you. It’s a little ridiculous. Don’t take it personally!
4. Any business in which your ex is a loyal client. I once went to the hair salon where my ex used to go and where he took our young kids. I brought my kids there for a haircut. The stylist/owner of the place looked at me like I was the devil. She couldn’t have been more rude. It was very obvious hated my guts and made it very obvious in front of my kids. I can’t even imagine what my ex must have told her for years while sitting in her chair!! Expect the same reception with anyone your ex does business with. Remember that they want to be loyal to their client.
5. Wives of your ex’s friends. This to me was unbelievable! A girl who had me in her wedding, a girl who we went out with (with her husband) for years, who were kind and warm and who I considered dear friends dumped me so fast after my divorce that it made my head spin. I have never talked to any of them since the day I became separated. Again, it made me wake up and realize how conditional these friendships are, and how valuable my own, genuine friends really are.
6. Your ex’s new wife. All she has heard about you are negative things. So, why would this woman like you? She doesn’t.
7. Your boyfriend’s ex-wife. For some reason, women go crazy when their ex meets someone — even if they are the one who wanted the divorce. They get very jealous and territorial, and some get very mean and vengeful, like they want to destroy the ex simply because of the ridiculous reason that they are angry that the ex seems happy.
8. Your boyfriend’s kids if they are brainwashed by your boyfriend’s ex. I feel so sad for these poor, sweet children who have enough on their plates with the divorce, but they also are taught to hate the ex’s new girlfriend/boyfriend by their mother, simply because of her vindictive mind. It’s such a shame, since oftentimes the new spouse can be a positive influence, a nice source of support and a great role model. Unfortunately, in some cases, because of the cruelty and selfishness of the mom, they never stood a chance with the kids.
9. Your ex’s best guy friend. This is the guy you never liked. The bad influence. The one who threw your ex’s bachelor party and tried to get him to cheat. The one who you know didn’t want your ex to settle down with you. Now that your marriage is over, he’s in his glory because he has his buddy back.
10. Your ex’s attorney. What do you expect? This person is being paid not to like you!
Here’s the thing. I see way too many women stress over the fact that certain people don’t talk to her anymore or who don’t like her. I, myself am guilty of worrying about it. But if you really think about it, you have to realize how expected it is.
Don’t even think twice! Don’t take their dislike of you personally. They are programed not to like you. They might feel that not liking you is showing loyalty to your ex, they might have their own anger issues, they might be afraid to be nice to you for fear their friend (your ex) will be angry, or they might just be assholes, in general.
It is wise to focus not on what you can’t control, but rather on YOUR friends, your loved ones, your attorney, your business associates, and your new guy. This is your new life, and that includes new beginnings with new people. But I do want to say, if one of these 10 people decides they still want to be your friend, even after the divorce, that is a special gift, and you should realize that the person and the friendship is very deep and meaningful. In other words, your divorce didn’t trump your friendship, which means it is (and always was) real.
Jackie Pilossoph is the creator of her website, Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of her novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationship column, Love Essentially, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. Pilossoph lives with her family in Chicago. Oh, and she’s divorced.