I am the friend who always runs back to her ex. I was in an on-and-off relationship for five years, and it drove my girlfriends nuts. No matter what they said to me, they just couldn't stop me from getting back together from my wildly mean boyfriend. When you have your own friend getting back with her ex constantly, instead of putting her own needs and happiness first, it can be difficult to know your place and figure out how to give advice. You don't want to tell your BFF what to do or put yourself in the middle of her relationship, but you also want what's best for someone you care about. It's hard to see your friend make the same mistake over and over again.
I have a friend who is constantly getting back together with her lame boyfriend, and it annoys the hell out of me. They are absolutely wrong together, and it seems like everyone but them can see this. I don't think they have a single thing in common and they absolutely hate each other, but clearly, something draws them together. And that something is likely a combination of sex, codependence, and jealousy.
Each time they break up, they'll run into one another drunkenly at a party months later, end up hooking up, and they immediately get back together. While I'd like to think they are over for good at the moment, I know in my heart this is not the case. And of course, it's hard to know what to say to help her end this cycle.
So here are some things you can tell your friends who keep going back to their exes — things that I wish my friends had reminded me. (They probably did, and I just wasn't listening.)
1. Remind Your Friend Of Their Self-Worth
Sometimes, we stay with people who are bad for us because we have low self-esteem. You don't think you can do better, or perhaps you even think you deserve pain. You settle for crumbs in relationships and think that's all you will ever get or all you're entitled to. That's not true.
Remind your friend of what they truly deserve in a relationship. One of my girlfriends keeps going back to her non-committal boyfriend — a guy who she constantly feels the need to stalk his social media accounts to see if he's flirting with other women. I asked her, "Do you think a relationship exists where you don't have to snoop, and a guy wants to fully commit to you? Because I think it does, and it's worth waiting for."
While we can't tell our friends what to do, we can make suggestions that are in their best interests and hope that they take them to heart.
2. Remind Your Friend Of Their Confidence
In bad relationships, we tend to lose our confidence, and it makes us scared to move on and start dating again. That's why we stay with our exes or keep getting back together with them. Who else might want us? I don't want to have to go back to dating!
When you're coupled up for a while, you can start to lose sight of who you truly are. I've been in relationships where I've definitely let myself go physically and emotionally, and would rather just stay with my partner than be single and put the effort into feeling good again. But if you're going to start dating someone new, it's important that you're a fully independent person, confident in your own identity, first.
So remind your friend of all the things that make them great, because maybe they've just lost their groove a little. Make them feel good outside and in. Not to get all Clueless on you, but this could be a great time for helping your friend with a makeover. Because when you feel your best, you make good decisions for yourself — like not getting back together with your ex who isn't good for you.
3. Remind Your Friend Of The Benefits Of Being Single
We might stay in bad relationships because we are afraid of being single, when, in reality, being single is the greatest. In some fantastic turn of events, all three of my best girlfriends and I are single right now, and we are having the time of our lives. This weekend, we are going to the Grand Canyon for no reason! We were just in the group chat yesterday, and someone was like, "Should we drive to the Grand Canyon tomorrow?" and everyone was like, "Yeah, sure, why not?" And we all can because we don't have significant others to check in with or to coordinate with.
So if your friend keeps going back to an ex over and over again, maybe remind them that the single life is frequently free of the bullsh*t they currently deal with.
4. Remind Your Friend You're There For Them
No matter what, remind your friend that you won't abandon them. When I kept getting back together with my ex (who I knew was a giant *sshole), I was incredibly embarrassed. I was worried my friends thought I was weak, annoying, or, at worst, were starting to hate me.
Sometimes, we make bad decisions until we learn an important life lesson. We can grow by making mistakes. So if your friend has to get a bad relationship out of her system until they can truly close the book, then let them. And remind them that you'll be by their side while they do it.
You can't control other people's actions or tell them what to do. But you can help guide someone to find their own strength and confidence so that they're able to make better decisions for themselves, like not getting back together with that sh*tty ex they keep running to.
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