Dear Debby,

My friend recently went through a painful divorce. I am friends with both him and his wife but am closer friends with him. How do I navigate this situation? Do I need to pick sides?

Caught in a Tough Spot


Dear Caught in a Tough Spot,

In this situation, I usually try to stay neutral but it is sometimes impossible. It really will depend on how the two of them react. If you are closer to and sympathize with his situation, the wife may not be comfortable continuing her relationship with you. If they are both mature, kindhearted individuals that care for each other but just couldn't make the marriage work, maybe you could stay friends with both.

Unfortunately, many divorces result in very hard feelings that make it difficult for you to be in the middle and not step on any toes in the process. You stated "painful divorce" which leads me to believe that there are some deeply hurt feelings. She may need to lick her wounds with some close friends of her own before she is ready to return to the world of calm, mature, rational thought!

All you can do now is be a good friend to him, polite to her and, in time, when they have built separate lives for themselves, maybe you can enjoy a friendship with both again.

Good luck!