Friends without Benefits*

Care and Support During and After Bitter Divorces

Another amazingly honest book from one of my new favorite authors, Marci Bolden. In this book, she explores the pain and suffering caused by divorce. Dianna, married for over 20 years, finds her husband in flagrante delicto with a young woman. On the day of her divorce proceedings, Dianna finds a stranger on her doorstep with an interesting proposition. The man is her husband’s mistress’s husband! Paul asks Dianna to testify at his divorce proceedings, as his wife is asking for alimony on the grounds that she never had a physical relationship with Dianna’s husband. Though it is difficult for her to relive that moment of seeing her husband’s infidelity, Dianna does this, as she saw it as ironic that she got no alimony after 20 years of raising her family and running their home. She and Paul develop an unusual friendship in which they decide to be supportive of each other as each has great sympathy and empathy for what the other is going through. Although it could be awkward to create circumstances for these two strangers to become involved in each other’s lives, the author did a good job a showing an organic grown of their relationship, including awkwardness and apologies, as well as support. Some scenes are emotionally wrenching, like when she decides to be the one to tell Paul of their soon-to-be ex-spouses’ engagement. Their families don’t know quite what to make of this relationship, her younger son being angry and his family thinking she is his next relationship.

I’ve been divorced myself, so the way she depicted the roller coaster of emotions that causes rings true. I wish I had a Paul during the aftermath of mine; support can be hard to come by during that time, as families don’t want to see you wallow and friends often don’t know what to say. Paul’s and Dianna’s story feels realistic in its hesitancy, but it is lovely to see their sincere care for each other. It was another book that I didn’t want to put down, as I kept wanting to see what would happen next as they both tried to move forward and create new lives. Beautifully done!