Friend Me

Some will stay. Others will go. And that’s okay.

divorce guide friends

Photo by Joyce Lee. Styling by Anna Lee Wallack/Anchor Artists. Left: Homespun knitwear shirt, J.Crew; jeans, model’s own. Right: Vince sweater, Bloomingdale’s; Goldsign for J.Crew pants, J.Crew; Chloé flats, Neiman Marcus Copley.

Saying Adios

Go ahead and purge your contact list.

“Here’s what I know: Your core group of friends when you were married will be your core friends when you get divorced. Sure, there are a ton of people that you knew through your wife, or couples you socialized with together. And maybe they won’t want anything to do with you. But, really, who cares? Divorce is gut-check time, and you need the people who won’t judge the crazy ways your grief bubbles up and the stupid stuff that sets you off.”—The Good Men Project’s Tom Matlack, whose first marriage ended 16 years ago

Training the Aides-de-Camp 

Real friends want to help, but they’ll need guidance.

“After my divorce, some friends wanted to shield me. Others wanted to give me constant updates: where they’d seen him last night, who he was with. I think they felt obligated to tell me, or shock me into knowing, so that I’d move on—though I had. When friends start tattletaling on your ex, gently let them know that you’re moving on and don’t want to hear it. Encourage them to listen without feeling the need to give advice. If they can’t do that, it’s on you to sit through their chatter and take what you need out of it. Eventually, they’ll figure out how to do the same.”—AE Events partner Christine Altieri, whose first marriage ended 18 years ago

Breaking Up with the Help Is Even Harder to Do

You and your spouse have called it quits. Now it’s time to split up with the staff you once shared.

Housecleaner These folks have their noses in every corner of your private life, which means your ex could be getting the scoop on your new life, new mates, and solo eating and spending habits (ecocleanboston.com).

Mechanic You love that you can trust him with your wheels, but a casual comment here or there can do serious damage if repeated out of context, says divorce lawyer Gerald Nissenbaum (cartalk.com/mechanics-files).

Accountant Was the bean counter more aligned with you or your ex? Nissenbaum warns that when it comes to taxes, sharing isn’t caring, so find your own accountant (cpadirectory.com).

Dog Walker Unfortunately, conflicting instructions from divorced doggie parents—to say nothing of the split-up stories—can alienate the pet sitter, says J.P.-based therapist Devorah Steinberg, adding unnecessary tension for you, your ex, and your pup (urbanhounds.com).

Bachelor Party 2.0

When the split is final, divorcees are feting those who stuck by them.

Through hell and back, richer and poorer, thick and thin…we’re talking friends here. So skip the pity party, says Boston event planner Marc Hall, whose clients are turning the end of the divorce into an excuse to honor their best men and women. Hall once planned a sit-down dinner for an amicably divorcing couple to thank their friends, complete with two separate buffets to represent their disparate tastes. He’s also put together a wild night of debauchery in which a divorcee reclaimed her identity by batting a piñata in the likeness of her ex. Male strippers performed, and the ex-bride tossed her wedding gown into a bonfire. The literal icing on the cake? Black roses, with a plastic groom lying face down in the frosting.

Meet and Greet

Seven great places to find new friends (and maybe even a date). 

Paint Nite Boston’s paint-while-drinking parties ($45, paintnite.com), held at rotating bars around town, invite singles to come drink and make like Pollock.

Single Volunteers Boston matches the unmarried with interest-based community-service projects (svboston.org), from working with animals to serving the homeless.

The Tuesday-evening beginner group meditation at Boston Zen Center ($10 suggested donation, Cambridge, bostonzen.org) is both restorative and social, with leader Mike Fieleke reporting at least two center-made couples.

Brookline Adult & Community Education’s Mid-Life Dating in the 21st Century workshop ($40, Brookline, brooklineadulted.org) helps acclimate divorcees, with an online-dating primer and tips on what to do at house parties.

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health’s Rejuvenate and Reclaim Life After 40 five-day workshop for men and women ($450 plus lodging, Stockbridge, kripalu.org) offers positive reinforcement in a coed dorm setting that may or may not encourage coed dormlike behavior.

Check out the rest of our divorce primer: Welcome to Splitsville.