This Is Why Staying Friends With An Ex's Friends After A Breakup Is More Complicated Than You Think

by Cosmo Luce

When you're in a relationship, your partner's friends become your friends, too. If you break up with your partner, whether or not you stay friends with your ex's friends is really not a given. Keeping in contact with your ex's friends makes it more likely that you will continue to share the same social circles. And that might provide you with more obstacles in the path of your healing than anyone really needs.

You lose people when you are on the way to becoming the person you are supposed to be. That means that you lose lovers and you lose friends as well. Sometimes, you lose both at once. I've had to change friend groups with so many breakups that, eventually, I had to move away from the city where I had lived for nine years. It sounds dramatic, but it got to the point where I felt like I couldn't step out my door without running into someone I had a tumultuous past with. If you have to distance yourself from your ex's friends, it's because you are protecting yourself. There's no shame in that.

Here are some other reasons why staying friends with your ex's friends might not really work out well:

1. You Need To Focus On Yourself

When you go through a breakup, it's important to distance yourself as far from your ex as you can for about a month. According to relationship expert Jennifer B. Rhodes, that means that you will lose a group of friends. "Spend time with people who can support you and not your ex," she suggests. She says that spending time with your ex's friends won't help you heal and won't be a good look if you decide to get back with your ex at a later date.

There are plenty of other things you can do post-breakup to grow and find peace within yourself that don't involve your ex or their social group. "Go do some self-care, travel, start dancing, enroll for a class — do anything other than spending time with those friends," says Rhodes. When you better yourself, you'll not only feel more secure on your own, but you'll be seen as more desirable to those who want to spend time with you.

2. Reminders Of Your Ex Will Drag You Back

Your mutual friends are inevitably going to bring up your ex's name in conversation, and in the early days of a breakup, that will likely send you spinning into nostalgia. This, in turn, will make it harder for you to get over your ex, says Fran Greene, LCSW, author of Dating Again With Courage And Confidence. "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," Greene says. She adds that staying friends with your ex's friends also raises the chances that you will run into them again, perhaps with a new love interest. You don't need your fresh breakup wounds to be opened again so soon.

According to Greene, there is one exception to the rule: If a friend of your ex has always been a big fan of you, she says it's OK to reach out to them for moral support. "If you do that," she cautions, "make sure you don't fish around for juicy info or a way to get back at your ex." A clean break is the only way to heal from the pain.

3. Meeting New People Helps You Get Over Your Breakup

"Breakups are opportunities to force yourself to meet new people and make new friends," says Rhodes. Think about it this way: If relationships are containers, then when you broke up, the container you were occupying shattered. Why would you rely on the same leaky vessel to carry you? Rebuilding takes work, but once you've established a new circle of friends, you will probably find yourself in a better place than you were before.

When you have your own friends, you can reconnect with the individual that you are and reclaim your sense of self. New friends will help you gain access to a whole range of new experiences that will broaden your horizons and help you move on from the past. You can still appreciate the friendships you had when you and your ex were together, but don't stay wallowing in the mud when you could leap into the fresh water of a whole new start.

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