Mutual friends of mine went through a nasty divorce and I remained in touch with them both. I heard both sides of the story but not the third side, and also remained friends with their children. Like many other people in the world, I have suffered with heartbreaking estrangements, some of my own doing, others I continue to be confused about. Either way, rifts are common and very awkward especially when it comes to mutual friends.
It’s difficult being in the middle of an estrangement. For my personal breakups, people feel the need to update me on what the other side is up to although it’s the last thing I want to hear about. Also, if one side of a divorced couple constantly complains about the other side, that makes things difficult, too. The holidays illuminate these awkward relationships even more, and so does social media.
“Liking” photos or posts that your friends share can also be uncomfortable because your loyalty may be in question if the other side sees it. It’s odd enough to have friends on both sides of a very electrified fence, but is it possible to remain neutral?
I think yes, so long as the sides agree to keep you out of it. I find myself, so many times, pulling back from people because of a mutual connection that is severed, but I vow not to do that anymore. My reasons have always been similar to the following:
What if you get married and your sister is there?
I won’t be able to go to his graduation.
What if she has a baby? I won’t be able to go to the shower.
These are all thoughts that I had in my mind concerning many rocky relationships, whether they were mine or someone else’s, but they are not reasons enough to step back and miss out on having certain people in my life. It’s worth a few difficult moments to maintain friendships that mean something, to continue to invest true time and love into a relationship, and to keep trucking in this short life with people I love.
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