When a couple decides that each member should go their separate ways, they generally must divide their property, assets and debts before they can move on. However, if the couple has been together for any length of time, more than property must be divided or somehow addressed in the split or divorce. In particular, mutual friends who may be invested in both members of the couple must be either divided or shared with grace if any healthy connections are going to remain intact post-split.
Some friends may choose to remain in contact with one member of a couple and to sever contact with the other. But what is to be done about mutual friends that wish to remain in the lives of both individuals? For healthy friendships to grow post-split, both members of the couple parting ways should understand that the situation may be awkward currently, be gracious about the fact that their friends want to be present for both individuals and do their best to understand if their friends do not navigate the split perfectly.
In an ideal world, if you and your partner are splitting, you will come to some sort of understanding about how you will navigate your mutual friendships in healthy and constructive ways. For example, you could insist that you will not be a source of tension at mutual social events or that you will alternate who gets to go to what major event. What remains key is that you come to an agreement that genuinely works for you and will not lead to bitterness in your friendships.
If you cannot come to an understanding with your former partner, figure out what your own boundaries are, express them to your friends in a calm way and move forward in whatever way is healthiest for you. If you remain healthy and considerate, your true friends will support you and help you to navigate this new social maze that you have wandered into.
Source: Huffington Post, “7 Tips on How to Share Friends After a Divorce,” Christine Gallagher, Sep. 5, 2013