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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Friends of your exes

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Author Topic: Friends of your exes
Member # 13388

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A break-up can mean your relationship changing with not just him or her, but her/his circle of friends as well. A fringe benefit of a relationship can be making new friends through your beau. [Smile] Unfortunately, breaking up means having to sort things out for awhile.

- What have you done/would you do in such a situation?
- Would you cut off all contact them these people, or act like nothing happened?
- Would you want to take a break from seeing them for awhile, or would you want them to be a neutral shoulder to cry on?
- How would you feel about your own friends staying in touch with an ex of yours?
- How do you deal with sticky situations, i.e. you're a friend of both, they broke up recently, but you'd like to invite both to your upcoming birthday party?
- How is the situation different for mutual friends/best friends/acquaintances?
- How would things be different if the relationship ended because someone became abusive?
- How do avoid being a middle(wo)man?

What have been your experiences, either as a breakup-ee or a friend of one? Any advice for making it easier?

Posts: 3318 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 27966

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When I was in grade 10, I broke up with a guy in my choir. We had all the same friends, and I know they felt pretty torn to choose sides. Unfortunately, I didn't really act so wisely, and neither did he, so it erupted into a full-blown choir feud where the whole choir had picked sides, except for a few of our friends who were feeling really caught in the middle.

It was preeettty bad, the whole thing finally ended after a girl who had picked his side threatened me with a knife at school. She got kicked out of my school and my choir, and that's when we figured it was time to sit and talk and figure out how to stop all the foolishness.

Sooo... basically, mine's a tale of caution lol... I wish we had handled that differently, but at least in the end it all worked out okay- we became really good friends again after forcing ourselves to have that meeting, and there was no more trouble with our friends. Really, I think the whole fiasco hurt our friends more than it hurt US, so I think that's something people also need to keep in mind- that it may be tough for the friends, too.

[as a side note- I've kind of backed myself into this situation with my current partner- our friends have merged into a big group over the course of our 4-year relationship, and we always wonder what would happen if we broke up- my friends are dating his friends, everyone's really close, so it's not like we could just claim our old friends again and have it go back to how it used to be before we dated! It'll be interesting to see other posts on this thread!]

[ 01-21-2007, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: leabug ]


Posts: 2332 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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My general mode for this in terms of etiquette as well as wanting things to be as smooth as possible for all involved -- especially the friends, since it always sucks right after a couple breaks up to feel like you're having to choose a side or an allegiance, is as follows:

Friends you made who were your exes friend first, before you, basically get a free pass, no guilt, no questions asked, no conflict, to default to being only your exes friend. Same goes for your friends per your ex.

ALL joint friends are given a few months to not be present for either or both parties, per their own comfort level.

After that point, if friends you made through an ex (or vice-versa) haven't contacted you, you can contact them, but you feel the situation out, and make clear that you don't want anyone feeling stuck in the middle, that if they feel funny hanging out with you, you get it, and you also do NOT bring up the ex with them.

Those are the basics: I have more detailed rules. I've been around a long time. [Smile]

It should be said that in an abuse situation, it's a whole lot trickier, and I think you have to just roll with it a little bit more, because usually an abusive relationship will shake up friends as well.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 11352

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Well, I met my husband through my ex-boyfriend almost seven years ago. I've kept in touch with some of the guys, not all of them since the day we met (the guys are all in the same crew--all went to high school together). The drifting apart with the guys that i haven't stayed in touch with wasn't because of the ex I dated, it was because those guys and I all grew apart and didn't have a whole lot in common anymore.

The guys that I have remained touch decided to keep the friendship spark going with me despite that I've dated some of the crew. They like me for who I am and appreciate my friendship and are approving of the relationship that I have with my husband.

So situations hasn't been all that hecticly difficult. My ex and I still don't really speak now, but we are very civil should we come across each other at a party or somewhere else. The relationship had ended badly with the ex but it's been years since the break-up. The guys were kind of protective at first with me because they used to be asking me if I would like to be there for an event knowingly the ex would be there. I responded that I didn't care that the ex was going to be there and I had started dating my husband. The guys were still my friends, and I wanted to have fun and it has been all respected from then on.

Anyway, I wouldn't change a thing of how things have gone on, because it happened for a reason, and I accept that. I really don't have an advice for those that have friends through their partner because everybody experiences it all differently regardless if it's positive or not. People make personal choices and there's no right time for how it's done, because things happen for a reason. That's just my point of view though.


Posts: 369 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I tend to stay friends with my exes, so I've never had a huge problem with sorting out friends after a break-up. In fact, in high school, I was part of a fairly big group of friends where relationships formed and broke apart and it never really changed the constellation very much.

Over the course of my most recent relationship, I became really good friends with my exes best friend. We never really talked much on a regular basis, but we had tons of fun together when I was visiting my partner and I'd be really sad to see that friendship die. I don't want to put him in the middle of our mess, but I definitely think that I'll e-mail him and check in with him once things have calmed down a little.

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Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 32184

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For good or bad, I've had plenty of experience in this department. In fact, my most recent ex is one of my current roommates; additionally, he and I have shared the same same friends for several years, one of which is my other roommate. I suppose a little backstory is in order...

My ex (we'll call him J) and I dated for 9 or so months back when I was in high school and he had just started community college. We were 16 and 18, and it was a whirlwind ride - he was the first great love of my life, and vice versa. We broke up at the beginning of my senior year of high school, and it was absolutely devastating to me, but the thing that made it really awkward was that we were both in the same circle of friends which 1) was made up of (nearly) all guys who had (2) known one another since middle school. Additionally, (3) we were all in a regular D&D campaign that met twice a week at (4) J's house.

So talk about awkward... in the spirit of not isolating myself, I allowed myself to take a slight break from the guys and to hang out with some peripheral acquaintances for a bit. After a few weeks and a few tearful phone calls, I felt I had gotten over it sufficiently enough to face J and the gang again, and we all took baby steps. BUT, we kept up open lines of communication and weathered the storm, and there are few friends as good as those guys that a girl can have.

As it turned out, J and I were together off and on for several years (4 of the 5 years I spent in Undergrad, and for the first 2 months of graduate school). We even ended up moving in with one another and one of those guys from our circle of friends. We broke up for the final time (my decree) in early October of last year, and though it's been a little awkward since we see each other every day and he's aware I've started dating someone else, it's still been primarily fine. Maybe, due to the casualness of our relationship, we've been able to bounce back more readily - who knows. But I'll say this - I've always tried to remain friends with my exes, and although I've lost contact with a few of them, I've been generally successful. Few people know me as well as they do, and there's generally some great quality about them that attracted me in the first place that would make me still want to be friends with them - for example, a great sense of humor.

Of course, there *is* one exception, a rather mentally and verbally abusive fellow whom I have barely kept up with at all. In fact, I plan to keep it that way, and the friends that he and I share all know about what went on and support me in said decision.

Advice for making the transition from lover to friend easier, though (and the crux of this post, how to deal with mutual friends you share with your ex)? I can only give from my own experiences:

1) Give it time... things won't immediately bounce back to the way they used to be.
2) If you EVER want to go out with one of your exes friends, TALK to them about it and make sure you have an HONEST answer. My first college ex dated my best friend (hell, it's been years and they're still dating) and they kept it low keyfor a little while, so it was really weird and kind of painful when I found out. I also didn't make things better when I said I was fine with it when I totally wasn't - it took years to get fully over that one, even with impartial counseling help.
3) Never, EVER badmouth your ex in front of your friends. Not only is it rude, but it will almost certainly get back to them.

4) If there was abuse involved, I would just end it. I, personally, didn't even try to salvage the friendship I'd had with the guy because I felt the cycle had to be broken. Abuse is a breach of trust, and trust is the very foundation of a firm friendship.

Sorry for the length [Smile] I hope this helps!

[ 01-24-2007, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: Verbum ]

Posts: 33 | From: Gainesville, FL | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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