What to do when your friends are also your ex’s friends?

May 11, 2004

Break up with the ex, not the friends

When you’ve been in a long term relationship, you and your ex are going to share friends. Unless the relationship has ended peacefully and without hurt or resentment from either of you, maintaining the same group of friends can be somewhere between a juggling act and an impossible task. Sure, there are couples who end their love affair, stay close friends and still turn up at all the same parties, just don’t expect it’s going to be that easy. Your friends will find it awkward unless you help them make the transition from knowing you as a couple to accepting your new status as single or as part of a new couple. How this plays out depends on the fallout from the break up. While it is possible and preferable to stay on friendly terms with ex-lovers, it is difficult to achieve this level of emotional balance.Your friends will take their lead from you. How you choose to handle the situation will have the greatest influence on how comfortable your friends feel maintaining a friendship with the two of you. Your friends don’t want to have to choose to be friends with you or your ex, but they will choose if you insist. While in the early days after the break up you may not want to be at the same social functions, work with friends to find a way you and your ex can both maintain the friendships.Some suggestions:
– Never tell friends that they must choose to be friends with you or your ex but not both.
– Play host for a while after the break up. Have lots of parties, drinks and get togethers that you organise.
– Don’t dump on your ex to friends you share. If you have to let off some steam, choose someone who doesn’t know your ex or isn’t a mutual friend.
– Try to maintain a level of friendship with your ex. Even if you are hurt and angry, other people don’t want to hear about it or see it played out in public. You are sure to run into each other sometime and it will be more comfortable for everyone if they see that you are able to be friendly. It’s also a great way to stop any gossip amongst friends.

By Michelle Lewis
Michelle has been one of Australia’s leading matchmakers and as a relationship expert is the founder of Date Doctors.
Her first book The Street Guide to Flirting is out now.

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