Can We Really Be Friends Post Divorce?

Nearly 2 weeks ago, my ex and I held our private spiritual divorce ceremony. It was an incredible experience for me and you can read more about it in previous blogs. After our ceremony, we agreed not to have any contact until church yesterday. To some that may seem like no big deal, but he and I are not angry with each other. We are friends. We care about each other’s lives. Still, we both thought it was important to have some time for “cleansing” after our ceremony. Taking that break truly was a break, and I was fairly anxious about seeing him yesterday.

When I walked into church, I immediately joined in a prayer circle of about 10 other people. He stood directly across from me. We made eye contact. It felt like I was looking at any of the other people in the group. Well, mostly. Well, a little. After the prayer and meditation, he came to find me and gave me a big hug. Ah, I remember that.

We sat beside each other during the service, though we started out with a decent gap between us. Then, I noticed he was moving in closer and closer. And then he set his hand down beside me. I felt like a teenager in a movie theater on my first date. Do I hold his hand? Do I ignore it? What will he think if I hold his hand? Will he think I’m cold if I don’t? I ultimately decided I could be true to me and also hold his hand, a companionable hold. We naturally broke away so he could take notes, and then he set his hand back down. When I didn’t grab it, he slid it under my leg. Old habits die hard. And it felt completely normal. Maybe this is the G rated version of “friends with benefits.”

We went to lunch after church. We’d intended to talk about the future state of our friendship. How do we want it to look? Instead, we just caught up. We talked about money, family, work, dreams. He gave me permission to publish my blog. Permission??? Yes, he’s woven throughout. It’s the respectful thing to do. We laughed and I remembered that we have always been good friends.

As we prepared to leave, I asked that we take another week without contact. He agreed, other than sending me a divorce document to start editing. Did I seriously just volunteer for that?

I think it shook him a little to see me doing so well. I think the ceremony had a more immediate impact on me than it did on him. It seemed like it was the first time he had a moment of “oh shit, this is real.” That hurts my heart a little. And I’m so grateful I’ve already had several of those moments and lived to tell the story.

And so I’m telling the story, so I can release the story. I will allow this story to hurt, but I will not let it scar me! I am Sarah Joy.

About the Author: Sarah Joy Cook is the founder of Project Restore Joy. She partners with people on their healing journeys, whether that be through reiki, yoga, nutrition, life coaching, or her blog. You can contact Sarah Joy at and read more about her divorce experience at