Monday, May 30, 2011
Help! They've Quarantined Me Because Im a Single Mom!!
I usually can laugh at almost everything... including this instance- it didnt mean that it didnt bother me though. It DID bother me. Yet, it is a common occurrence that I have learned is a lot less painful to laugh at, than take it personally. I felt like for some, they viewed a single mom, a divorcee', as if it was contagious. My closest friends that I have had for years are mostly all happily paired off. I never really thought twice about the ease it was for us to hang out before I was divorced. However, after earning the identity "Ex-wife", it was more challenging to get the invites. Suddenly, I felt left out of events that occupied mostly coupled guests. It hurts. And even as I write this I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Not only does being a single mom mean you are suddenly partner-less, but you also have to feel like your diseased because your single-ness is contagious? So out of frustration I decided to explore some of the reasons why this may occur, and come up with some ideas to help remedy the pain.
According to a study done by researchers at Brown, Harvard, and University California San Diego, it was discovered that divorce can spread between siblings, friends, and co-workers. The results of a 32-year study named Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Unless Everyone Else Is Doing It found that a persons probability to divorce depends on his friends divorce status AND even extends to his friend's friend's divorce status! According to the study, "The full network shows that participants are 75% more likely to be divorced if a person (obviously other than the spouse) that they are directly connected to (at one-degree of separation) is divorced." The likeliness of divorce is lowered to 33% if there are two-degrees of separation; at three- degrees of separation the likeliness disappears completely.
On the flip-side of this finding, the study discovered that the likeliness of divorce was greatly diminished when the couple involved in the union had friends in common.
The US Census Bureau found in 2008 that 50% of marriages end in divorce the first 15 years. This probability is greatly increased with each consecutive re-marriage.
In a study done by Berkman in 1995 it was found, "For social support to be health promoting, it must provide both a sense of belonging and intimacy and must help people to be more competent and self-efficacious." What does this mean? In order to preserve friendships with married friends it is important to consistently encourage their success, individually and as a couple, rather than focus on their failure. (BTW: This also means not dominating your conversation with your own personal failures and negative drama!)
I have a friend who is married, but even before she was married, she ALWAYS talked so highly of her man. She constantly used words like "Dreamy" and would brag about the "Amazing" things he would do for her. She never indulged us girls in his faults. When I was with her, I only wanted to focus on the great aspects of my marriage, regardless of its reality. I loved talking to her, being around her; that positive energy radiated from her. I am sure he isnt perfect- but you would never know that from her! That is the kind of friend that us single girls need to be. One that affirms the reasons that our friends tied that knot, reminds them why he was "her one", and helps her dote on his positive side instead of allowing her to verbally validate the faults in their relationship without a positive counter.
If you find you need to talk to someone about the sometimes painful sting of being a single parent, find a single parent support group! Support groups can be anything from people that you meet with, or online chatters! Remember, birds of a feather flock together; surround yourself with the type of women you want to be. Avoid those that focus on their bitterness, anger, and resentment of the details of the divorce. Instead find women that are interested in play-dates, preschools, hobbies, careers, and enjoying the privilege of parenthood.
Here are a couple websites may assist you in a support group search:
I dont think I need to say this... but just in-case, keep the friendships along gender lines. If you are a single dad, dont go out and friend a married mom. Same goes for us women, as a single mom- I should not seek out a personal friendship exclusively with a married dad. Be it wrong or right... it keeps things out of the grey areas. Protect your friends marriage... it is fragile and needs to be handle with absolute reverence.
Like a good friend, rejoice in their successes without envy or jealousy! If you are the kind of friend that points them to the positive aspects of their marriage, the reasons they fell in love with their spouse, the ways that their partner helps to complete them in their weaknesses, you will be a rare asset to the success of their marriage. Their spouse will want you to be their partners friend, and encourage your time spent knowing your building up their marriage and the spouses character... rather than attempting to tear it down. This will become your new disease... and it can be an epidemic that your friends cant get enough of!
If you want to have true friends, you should be a true friend yourself. - Anonymous
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1490708 <--- Breaking up is Hard to Do, Unless Everyone is doing it Study