DEAR ABBY: Four months ago, I divorced my husband after I discovered he was having an affair. We had been married for many years. Since that time, my life has changed considerably, but there is one thing for which I was totally unprepared. I have been abandoned by my husband's family and our so-called friends.
I'm in a divorce-support group and have learned that abandonment is a common experience for divorced women. For some reason, this rarely happens to divorced men. Their social life flourishes.
Women in the process of divorce are often avoided for a variety of reasons: Friends may feel awkward because they don't know what to say; they may be embarrassed by the circumstances of the divorce, or may have known about the events which led to it and sided with the husband.
The point I want to make is this: If you know someone, especially a woman, who is going through a divorce, please don't avoid her. Even if you can't rush to her aid, a phone call, a note or a visit can make an enormous difference in her life. Sympathy can be conveyed without taking sides or becoming a party to mudslinging.
Please print my letter. If it helps even one person avoid some of the pain I have suffered, you will have performed a great service. -- RECENT DIVORCEE, NAUVOO, ALA.
DEAR DIVORCEE: With a large percentage of marriages ending in divorce in this country, men are also forced to make major social adjustments when a split occurs. Not all breakups are caused by infidelity.
Yours is a common problem; however, there are ways of turning the heartbreak from negative to positive. You now have the opportunity to make new friends and to begin building a new life for yourself. I wish you good luck and all the best.