When my college boyfriend and I broke up (multiple times), it was strange to navigate how to handle talking about the split with my friends. We came from the same friend group. I had one friend in particular who was definitely his friend who my ex introduced me to, and she and I became very close. When he and I broke up, I wondered, "Can you stay close to your ex’s friends?" Even though I became close with the friends who I initially met through him, those friends and I ended up being in the same sorority, so naturally they felt more "my" friends than "his." But, we still had tons of shared memories as a friend group, and I worried about how my breakup would affect my friendships.
Luckily for me, our last breakup was right after we graduated, so I wouldn't be forced to see him around school, or choose whether or not to attend social events where he may have been. And as for talking things through with our mutual friends — turns out a lot of them agreed with me on certain topics, so I felt comfortable discussing those things with them.
Conflict only flared up once, when one of our mutual friends went on a trip abroad with him. He ended up manipulating her to think I was only friends with her to get to him. She bought it, we fought, but she then realized how messed up he was being about our friendship.
Anyway, thankfully nothing has come up since, and I've maintained the friendships I shared with him. As for the experts? They suggest steering clear of mutual friends — at least initially — unless you know they'll be supportive of you.
"Spend time with people who can support you and not your ex," relationship expert Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes told Elite Daily. The issue with being friends with an ex's friends — at least immediately post-breakup — is they may take the middle ground. And after splitting from your partner, you probably want someone who will agree with you and allow you to sh*t-talk that person endlessly. You need to vent, and you don't want someone saying, "Well..."
Another expert says hanging out with mutual friends may make you think of your ex more than necessary, which could of course slow down the getting-over-it part of the breakup.
"Your cravings and obsessions with your ex will lessen if you are not surrounded by the memories of the 'good times' you had with your ex's network of friends," Fran Greene, LCSW and author of Dating Again With Courage And Confidence told Elite Daily. So while you may want to keep hanging out with your ex's friends, it's possible it could do more harm to you than it's worth.
Take who they are to you and how close you both are into account. Be willing to accept that your ex may remain closer with some friends who were "technically" their friends first. You may have to distance yourself from them for a little bit, at least while the breakup is still fresh. But time heals all wounds, and it's likely that if you become friendly with your ex again, or if there's no bad blood, you may be let back into their circle as well.
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