Cutting contact with an Ex from the same friendship group.
January 31, 2010 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Ex-Relationship Filter: What's the best way to cut contact with an Ex, when you have got friends in common.

Last year I dated a girl for a few months, both her and I were already firmly established within the same friendship group. This relationship did not work out for a number of reasons. These included her general behavior towards me (putting me down, lack of trust, respect and honesty).
Following our break-up her behavior towards me has made me feel bad. Trying to make me feel jealous, guilty, playing mind games, deliberately making booty calls in my presence etc.
These are not qualities I can tolerate in a friend. Therefore I decided to cut contact entirely.
She claims not understand what she has done that's so wrong, sees my decision as unfair and wants the mutual friends to 'stick up for her'. She has also tried to force the friends to choose between us. So far they have refused.
I have explain my position to the mutual friends, and categorically stated, I will
a) not pose them a me or her ultimatum,
b) not attend events if she is there,
c) still wish to see my mutual friends at other occasions,
d) leave them to make their own choice regarding the Ex.

So after all that, my question is:
Do you think I am justified to cut contact with my Ex? What further support can I offer my friends? What is the best way to ensure I keep contact with my friends (who are very important to me)?
Plus anything else that comes to the hive mind.

Thank you for reading this, much appreciated.
posted by 92_elements to Human Relations (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
a) not pose them a me or her ultimatum,
b) not attend events if she is there

These are directly contradictory. You're not stating the ultimatum OVERALL, but you are stating it for each group event. You don't get to have it both ways.
posted by brainmouse at 12:02 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

There is no rule that states that you have to be friends with someone you don't want to. You're completely justified in wanting to cut off contact and I think what you've already said to your friends is the right and mature way to handle this. If she is acting how you described and if your friends have any sense, they're still going to want to hang out with you.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 12:04 PM on January 31, 2010

I've done this exact thing (with a toxic friend, not an ex), and if you have as good of friends as I do, it'll work out just fine. You are justified and doing the right thing. As for the not attending events, go to important ones like birthdays and that sort of thing and just ignore her or don't stick around for too long. But yeah, don't make your friends feel uncomfortable.
posted by greta simone at 12:08 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "Guys, I'm sure you've picked up on all of the tension between me and Sally. I don't want to create unnecessary drama for any of us, but when I am around Sally it feels like she goes out of her way to make me feel bad about myself. I don't want to put you in the middle of this, or have a bad situation that makes our time together difficult rather than fun. At least in the short term, I'm hoping to avoid seeing Sally while these feelings smooth over and hopefully the situation resolves itself. Time heals all wounds, right? I might choose to bow out of events where I know I won't be able to avoid interacting with Sally. I'm not asking you to cut her out of your lives, I would never do that because I respect your friendships with her. That said, if you could support me by understanding how I feel and letting me avoid hanging out with her in a low key way, that would mean a lot to me."
posted by bunnycup at 12:13 PM on January 31, 2010 [18 favorites]

What bunnycup said. In addition, instead of b), asking them to let you know when they have invited her or expect her presence, and "I'll deal with from there - you don't have to", should go a long way toward relieving their concerns about needing to choose which one of you to invite. For your part, you woudn't need to say anything more, if sometime later, you feel more comfortable being present in the same place she is.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 12:40 PM on January 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I'm not sure what the rules are about commenting in one's own thread. So please let me know if this is 'not done'.

Thanks for your replies so far. Two points to clarify things:

Brainmouse: You're not stating the ultimatum OVERALL, but you are stating it for each group event

By an ultimatum I mean saying you have to choose one of us as a friend and not the other.
I think there is an important difference. For instance I have two friends who I wouldn't dream of inviting to the same thing, due to personality clash. But would be amazed if either told me to stop being friends with the other.

TruncatedTiller reply has alerted me that I should have been clearer as regarding point b, I have said to them that they should feel free to invite both of us. I probably wont attend, but this is my decision. As such I don't view it as them choosing one of the other.

Reading with interest.
posted by 92_elements at 12:54 PM on January 31, 2010

Best answer: 92_elements: “Do you think I am justified to cut contact with my Ex??”

Others will continue to say yes; I agree with them. You've done precisely the right thing - good for you.

“What further support can I offer my friends? What is the best way to ensure I keep contact with my friends (who are very important to me)?”

You don't really need to offer support to them. Probably the best thing you can do is be present among them: just present, not going anywhere, not complaining about her, not forming alliances or anything like that, just – present. By being in regular contact with them, you're sending a message: 'you're my friends, and I'm not cutting you off, so don't worry - I'm just doing what I have to do to move on.' If any of them feel the need to come to you and tell you what she's been saying to them, respond, and let them know how you feel - particularly that they are still your friends, but you can't really be around her any more. Any understanding friend should get that, and they sound rational enough to understand. Remember, when they ask you, it's not about her being crazy or weird or manipulative or trying to make you jealous; it's about you wanting to live your own life and move on. I think that's absolutely fair.

Also, I've found that Facebook is an excellent filtering mechanism for things like this. Of course, you need real-world contact, too; but any time you're interacting with your friends on Facebook, you can hang out without any concern that she'll show up and draw you out, since you can just block her stuff from showing up on your page anyhow.
posted by koeselitz at 12:58 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

On Facebook, if you block her then you won't be able to see her posting a comment on a mutual friend's status or vice versa. If only there were a way to block people in real life and have it work so nicely...
posted by autoclavicle at 1:31 PM on January 31, 2010

Best answer: Do you think I am justified to cut contact with my Ex?

No "rule" here. If it is painful, you are right to avoid it.

however, to avoid looking like an ass, present your situation in terms of how much it hurts you rather than "I won't show up." They'll understand.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2010

I would politely phrase your intent not to attend events with the ex - like: "Could you guys just give me a heads up if Sally is going to be at this party, so I can decide if I want to see her?" Obviously, the implication is that you don't want to see her, but this doesn't put your friends in a bind. It's then YOUR decision, as it should be.

Block her on FB (different from just deleting her as a friend).

Beyond that, just trust your friends to be, well, friends. Don't badmouth her. Don't ever, ever ask for gossip about her. If she comes up in conversation, just say that you don't want to talk about it and change the subject.

I live in a teeny tiny town with my ex, and while the terms of our divorce sound a tad bit "friendlier" (neither of us wants to be friends, but neither of us is - AFAIK - distrustful of the other) than your breakup, we're seeing a lot of the same people. While the break-up was new, I just didn't talk about him with mutual friends and a few years on, I still trust them to tell me if he's also going to a social event I've been invited to.

Basically, the way I see it, if you don't draw "sides" your friends won't feel like they have to choose one.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:10 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I'll do my best to implement the wise suggestions.
posted by 92_elements at 10:20 AM on February 1, 2010

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