When it comes to ending a relationship, the breakup is supposed to be the hardest part… right?
Well, not necessarily. Depending on your situation, the post-breakup adjustments between you and your ex might actually be harder than the actual breakup.
(Riverdale via The CW)
For example, you’ve done the breakup speech, cried a bit, watched a few sad movies and accepted that it’s time to move on with your life, but your friends aren’t quite on board with leaving your ex in their rearview mirror. Even if you didn’t have a terrible breakup, having mutual friends with someone you’re no longer dating puts both of you in a difficult position.
If you’re dealing with a similar situation, keep scrolling for a few tips on what to do when your friend group is still friends with your ex.
Plan Your Breakup Accordingly
If you think that there’s any chance your friend group will continue their relationship with your ex, you need to plan for that possibility during the actual breakup. If your friends are going to stay close to your ex, it’s likely you’ll be seeing them around every now and then, so you need to keep things cordial. The best way to do this is to have the most drama-free breakup you can manage. Resist the urge to get angry, nitpick their every flaw or bad-mouth them to your friends. Instead, try to get out of there as fast as you can before you say something you might regret, and don’t talk to your ex until you feel like you can have a conversation without getting upset. If you don’t say anything harmful during the breakup, it increases the possibility that you’ll be able to have an amicable—if distant—relationship in the future.
(Stranger Things via Netflix)
While it might be frustrating that your friends aren’t declaring their undying loyalty to you, it’s important to stay calm and patient while you deal with the situation. At the end of the day, you can’t tell your friends who they should and shouldn’t hang out with, and any attempt to blow up at them or demand that they choose sides will probably backfire. The best way to show your friends that you truly care about them and aren’t trying to make them feel uncomfortable is to stay patient. Time will help work things out, and trying to force them into an immediate decision will likely result in unneeded tension that can be easily avoided.
Consider the Situation
When considering just how mad you should be about your friend group staying friends with your ex, it’s important to consider the situation that bred their friendship. If your friends were friends with your ex before you started dating, it’s really unfair to ask them to drop that friendship because you couldn’t make your relationship work. However, if they developed a friendship with your ex because of your relationship while you were dating, you can probably be a little more open about the fact that their continued friendship with your ex is making you uncomfortable. Another part of considering the overall situation you’re in involves putting yourself in your friend’s shoes for a moment. For whatever reason, they developed a close enough relationship with your ex that remaining friends is somewhat important to them. Your feelings might be hurt and you may never want to see your ex again, but you can’t rob your friends of a relationship that is important to them just because of your own emotions.
(Riverdale via The CW)
Talk to Your Friends
The only way to get out of a situation is to go through it, and making your way through this situation starts with talking to your friends about how you’re feeling. You can start by asking them (in a kind and non-confrontational way) why they still enjoy spending time with your ex. Their answer will give you insight into just how important this friendship is to them. Then, you can tell them that having your ex around is definitely uncomfortable for you, and try to explain where these uneasy feelings are coming from. Your friends might still want to remain friends with the person, but they’ll at least know that you feel awkward about it, which will help them keep their friendship separate from their friendship with you. There’s also the possibility that your friends really aren’t that close to your ex, and they just didn’t realize how hard their continued friendship was for you!
After you’ve talked to your friends about how you feel, you can use their knowledge to set boundaries that will help you deal with the situation. You can be honest about just how much time you want to spend with your ex, and your friends can plan accordingly. For example, if you never want to see that person at all, let your friends know not to invite you both to the same event. If you’re fine with seeing them, but you don’t necessarily want to spend all your time hanging out with them, tell your friends they can invite you both if it’s a group of five or more, giving both of you other people to talk to. Setting these boundaries will ensure that you know when your ex is and isn’t going to show up, and it helps to keep your relationship with your friends honest and open so there’s no unspoken tension weighing you down.
(Gossip Girl via The CW)
Be the Initiator
Perhaps the best way to deal with your friends staying friends with your ex is to be the initiator of your hangouts with friends. When you are the one planning things, you are fully in control of who can and can’t show up—aka no exes ruining your fun time with friends. Planning a movie night or an after-school hangout sesh is a great way to spend time with your pals without worrying about your ex showing up and ruining your good mood.
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