It's late - midnight - and I've just come back from a lovely night out with three girlfriends. They are all very different from each other, yet they all gave me fantastic support during my break-up.
You need friends when you're splitting up from your partner. If you are lucky, they can all provide particular areas of support, which sort of mesh together to form a soft comfort blanket or bouncy safety net. My three friends from tonight, for example....
J. J is a quiet, sensitive soul - an academic. Her area of expertise is family relationships, so she has been wonderful in giving me advice on how break ups can affect children, how to avoid the pitfalls, what to do to make sure they don't get caught in the cross fire. Her advice is like molten gold. I followed it to the tee, and my boys are happier now than they were when my husband and I were together. They are blossoming. I love J.
R. R is a funny, outgoing, Cambridge-educated, articulate woman who is happily married but has previously 'lived a little' (if you know what I mean). She not only makes me howl with laughter, but also encourages me to be brave in the relationship department, says fabulous things to improve my battered self esteem, drip feeds me with local gossip - and then makes me howl with laughter again. I love R, too.
S. S and I are cycling buddies and she has had to listen to me drivel on and on about the state of my relationship for years. She is a fabulous listener and incredibly supportive. She too is articulate and is generous beyond belief, offering solace in her lovely home, school runs, even financial support. She is like a sponge, a soaker-upper of grief, a feeler of other people's pain and has a genuine need to help. I love S, too.
So there are my three friends. Do you have some similar friends you can lean on? Go out with? Just have fun with, and forget for a while? Talk to them - they will make you feel human again.