Monday, May 16, 2011


There was a time in our lives where it seemed that all of our friends were getting married.  It seemed that every month or so, we were going to a wedding.  We were in several weddings a year.  We were new homeowners and I actually remember thinking that if this kept up, I was not sure how we would ever have the money for any home improvement projects.  Although we were going through money like water, it was a happy time.

The next thing I knew, all of our friends were having babies.  Our former meetings at the bar turned into barbecues with babies laying on blankets together, our conversations about vacation spots turned into conversations about pediatricians and letting your baby "cry it out" (I never did that) and the latest Little Gym classes.  Although we never got to finish a conversation because we were interrupted by wailing children, it was a happy time.

In the last year, three couples that we know and hung out with regularly have announced that they are separating or getting divorced.  My heart breaks for these families, for the children and the parents and the lifestyle that is lost.  In one of these cases, I have known the family since A started kindergarten and was a confidante -at times- of the mom and I knew there were issues.  In the other two cases, I guess maybe there were subtle warning signs, but we were surprised.  I don't know what happens behind closed doors, or in people's hearts.  It's devastating.

These are all families that we hung out with.  In the case of the family A has known since kindergarten, we were much closer a few years ago than we are now, but the kids are still close.  In the other two families, the children are friends with our children and we hung out and had dinner, barbecued, exchanged holiday gifts, spent holidays with their families.

We invite the children over often.  We want them to feel comfortable and have fun, we want to provide a place where they can hopefully forget what is tearing their family apart for a little while.

It is somewhat awkward.  Do we call the mom or the dad for permission?  If one or the other comes to pick the kids up and stays for a beer, does the other feel that we are taking sides?  What if they stay for a burger?  What do you do when one of them tells you their side of the story?  How do you NOT get mad at the other one?  How do you NOT take sides when you hear things?  What if the kids tell you things?  What do you say to the children?

I have to say, for their part, I think our girls have done beautifully.  We've told them not to bring up the topic of divorce and they've said, "We're kids, we're not going to talk about that."  Apparently, their friends tell them that their mommy's apartment or daddy's apartment is "so cool".  And, apparently, one girl asked A if Jason and I fight.  A answered, "Sometimes".  Which is true.  The girl told A that we would get divorced then. We assured A that there are no absolutes, but that we have no intention at all whatsoever of getting divorced.  We told her that all people who live together sometimes fight (like she and P sometimes fight) and that (as my mom always told me) loves and relationships take work, but sometimes people feel that they have to compromise too much of who they are or they are not getting what the put in and they decide that they can't do it anymore.  We assured A that Jason and I have so many things in common: photography, yoga, cooking...and those are ways we work on our relationship and reasons why we get so much out of it and ways that our relationship enhances who we are instead of making us compromise ourselves.

Have you had to deal with this kind of thing?  How did you handle it without taking sides and still being there for their children?  How did you talk to your children about divorce?
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