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Dealing With The Divorce Of Your Friends – Do You Take Sides?

divorce, how to handle children, blind loyalty, friends divorcing

What do you do when your friends are going to divorce? Beware of blind loyalty!

Your friends are divorcing. Do you pick sides? What happens to your friendship with each of the spouses? Should you be loyal to the spouse who is your friend? What if your children are friends with their children?

Anna and Raven of The Anna and Raven show turn to human behavior expert, Dr. Patrick Wanis for insights on how to handle the predicament of friends divorcing. In this enlightening interview, Dr. Wanis also raises a controversial point regarding how to determine where your loyalty lies when your close friends are divorcing. “I do not believe in blind loyalty”, says, Dr. Wanis.

Dr. Wanis also shares a powerful insight about what you can say to the children of the divorcing couple. Listen below to the interview and scroll further below to read the transcript.

Anna and Raven interview Dr. Patrick Wanis for his insights into dealing with the divorce of your friends. Here is the transcript.

Anna:Well, you get the news that your best friends are getting divorced, and now you’re in an awkward situation where, ‘Well, do I have to choose one of you? Am I expected to do that now?

Raven: What yet so difficult right, and sometimes they can make it easier on you, but let’s face it a lot of times they make it harder.

Anna: Dr. Patrick Wanis is a human behavior expert you can visit him online Dr. Wanis, when you are put in that situation, what should you do?

Dr. Wanis: The most important thing to do is to analyze the context. In other words, is it to their advantage to divorce?  Is it to the advantage of the children? For if the parents are really arguing a lot and creating a lot of tension, and if there’s any sort of verbal or emotional abuse in the household, then it’s better for them to divorce. So, you’ve got to look at the whole thing and say, “What’s in the best interests of everyone, the couple as well as the children?” That is step number one.

Anna: So, you have to choose based on who you think the bad guy is?

Raven: Well, maybe if it is a good idea that they’re getting divorced, you should give them both a pat on the back?

Dr. Wanis: Now, I’m not saying here that you decide who’s right or wrong. I’m saying if you believe that it’s in their best interests, then you’ll support them to actually go through with the divorce. If you truly believe that they can resolve this, and that it is in their best interests to resolve it, then you give them that sort of support. But you don’t take sides.

Anna: So, what do you do when it’s all said and done, like there is nothing else you can do as a supportive friend to get involved? You are kind of at that crossroads where they have separate lives: Is it ok to still be friends with both of them?

Dr. Wanis: You have to discuss it with both of them. You’ve got to be able to approach each of them and say, “I’m still going to be friends with John and with Mary”, and then get their feedback. Let them know that your intention isn’t to hurt them, but you still have a relationship. We have got to be careful of this concept of blind loyalty.

You’ve got to be loyal to what’s right and what’s wrong, not just loyal to the person. ‘Because well, we’ve been friends forever, and even though John cheated on his wife, and he took all her money from the account, I’m still going to be loyal to him.’ That’s not correct.

Raven: Right and that feels more obvious than others.

Dr. Wanis: Sometimes it is black and white, but usually it’s not.

Anna: That’s true because, I’m in a situation like that right now, where a friend of mine is divorcing, said, “Like I hate to do this, but you kind of have to choose if you are with me or with him.” And obviously, I’m with her because he is a cheater, but if he wasn’t, – and it was just like the relationship deteriorated out of nowhere, then I think it would be tougher to make that call.

Dr. Wanis: Yes. I think when you sit down and speak with the other person, whether it is the  husband or the wife, you will explain to them that whatever your relationship is with them, it’s not that you are picking sides, it’s not that you think they are right. It’s not you choosing one over the other, but you still have a relationship with them. What happens if you’re working with them? What happens if you have a business with them? You can’t always just cut them off.

Raven: And what I find doctor is that with children I mean that becomes so much more exponentially difficult right, I mean because now your kids’ lives are intertwined also.

Dr. Wanis: Yes. And I think the message that you could relate to each person is to say that, “Regardless of your divorce and regardless of the pain and the hurt that you’ve  experienced and the other person’s experienced, my love my admiration, my connection, my friendship with you will not change.” And it’s the same thing you have to say to your children. If you are divorcing, you’ve got to say to your children “Regardless of what happens between mommy and daddy, I still love you. My love, for you won’t change, nothing will change.”

Another important point to make here when dealing with the divorce of your friends is that children always tend to blame themselves whenever their parents divorce. If your children are interacting with their children and you have the opportunity, and it’s appropriate in the context, you could say to them, “Whatever happened between your mommy and daddy is not your fault. The problems that your mommy and daddy are having are not about you. It’s not your fault, and it’s not your job to try and rescue them.” And that makes a big difference, because children will lose their innocence and lose their childhood when they’re given these heavy responsibilities.

Anna: Dr. Patrick Wanis. Thank you!

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