Divorced woman and children face many losses in a divorce. I can dwell on the losses all day long. But I think it’s also important to try to find the positives in any given situation. So, I’d like to write about one of the gains that can come from divorce.
One of the good things that can be learned by a woman after divorce, is how to have authentic relationships. In deciding to get emotionally healthy after divorce, she may also find that she has gained many authentic relationships.
Finding healthy relationships is one of the keys to healing, after divorce.
Authentic relationships have boundaries.
Healthy boundaries are important to every single relationship that you have. Family, friendships, dating relationships, at work, and at home between you and your children. It is something that I model in my home to break the cycle of unhealthy relationships without boundaries.
One day I explained it to my son like this.
I told my son if Sally (name changed – a friend who has no children at home) said to me, “Jen, I only want to hang out with you without your son” that would be her right to voice her limit on our friendship. Maybe it would be her boundary to only hang out with me and not my son. She has that right.
Unhealthy people would probably get angry and react to this limit that she has set.
I would choose to respect it. Because getting angry at her limits to have adult time with just me, would not be a healthy way to respond. I’m in a place that I would probably say, “I’m sorry, friend, but right now I cannot have a relationship within your limits because I have my own.”
That’s not a reaction to her feelings or boundaries. That’s the truth. My situation does not match hers so we currently don’t have the same limits on our lives. But she still has a right to her limits. And I have a right to mine. We can still be friends. Still, talk as time permits. Hang out whenever possible; all while respecting each other’s limits. 🙂
Being fully honest with each other, about our own feelings, wishes, and limits while dealing with the conflict instead of stuffing it, is the only way to have a mutually respected, healthy relationship.
I’ve gained many of these friendships after my divorce. They respect my limit and don’t try to manipulate me to change my mind. Nor do they start in with the guilt trip making me feel bad for my limits.
Now, I make no apologies, and feel no guilt for saying “No.”
Stop apologizing for having limits.
I had a friend once tell me, “Jen, you apologize too much, which puts the thought in their mind that it’s all your fault. Then they just start blaming you for everything because you took the blame.”
Whoa! That was an eye-opener.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – Proverbs 27:17 NLT
That was my time to change. To stop apologizing for my limits.
You can stop apologizing for having feelings. Stop apologizing or explaining your boundaries. Stop apologizing for your choices and how you currently do things (which are not sinful). Stop worrying about making everyone else happy. Because one-sided relationships only hurt the giver, never the taker.
We’re called to be people-lovers, not people-pleasers. Set your limits and the right people will come… and stay… in your life.
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. – Proverbs 27:9 NLT
There is a mutual respect that comes with authentic relationships. Where we can be our true selves, the way God created us to be.
Yes, we may lose lots of friends after divorce, and feel lonely at times, but we can gain healthier relationships with authentic people.
Surround yourself with friends who support the authentic you, while giving you constructive criticism and feedback on where you can improve. They will encourage you. They set limits and respect your boundaries. They’ll be loyal to you throughout life.
Then, you start to realize that you only want those authentic, healthy relationships in your life because they are what’s best for you… and your emotionally healthy future.
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24 NLT
Are you finding it easier to be authentic and attract authentic friends after divorce?
God bless your healing journey,