Saturday, 30 June 2012

the division of property

Surely one of the worst things about becoming uncoupled is having to go through the process of dividing up the ''stuff''. All the things you bought together, got given as join gifts, gave each other. Its horrible, even if the breakup is relatively amicable.

But I reckon there's another division - maybe not quite property - that's even more painful than that one. And that's the dividing of friendships. Because no matter how hard people try, it's almost impossible to stay friends with two people now separated.As a general rule, couple friends come about as a result of the women rather than the men. Possibly because women are better at developing friendships, but also because they tend to spend more time together - meeting through playcentre or school or committees of some kind. So of course the stronger relationship is nearly always between the women. In the case of the guy-driven friendship, the women are usually able to grow a relationship but my guess is that in these cases unless it's become ''stand alone'' those friends remain with the man, post couplehood.

It's a horrible situation for the friends - how do they balance being friends with two people (especially if those two aren't even on speaking terms) - who do they invite to parties, special events and so on? It is tricky for the ex-couple. Who will maintain the friendship? Who will the loyalties lie with?

I don't think its intentional on any level - no one wants to be forced to choose one friend over another, but its a natural outcome of a relationship breakup. His couch, her dinner set. His friends, her friends.I once had an incidence where some joint friends were at my place for a meal. My DZ was here and so there were effectively two couples and two lots of kids. Uninvited FDH arrived as we were sitting down to eat. Talk about awkward. The male visitor wasn't quite sure what to do. The woman did her best to be accomodating. This couple had actually stayed friends with both of us, but it was still difficult.

Its pretty hard for the person ''left behind'' too. If you've ever been the one who wasn't invited to the wedding (and heard your ex was) it's hard not to take it personally.

So how do you manage it? It was fairly simple for me in the end - I kept the female friends I had and grew the friendships with them in their couple state (not always easy especially when I am often still the only single at a gathering).

It took time, I have had a few false starts. And luckily for me, any joint friends are still joint friends - although it is me that has the most contact with them. But I also decided I needed to ''get out there'' and meet a new circle of friends. Where people didn't know FDH and so didn't need to feel divided. Where I got to be ME rather than one half of the the post-coupled US.

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