Ex remained close with best friends. I can't deal with it now.
June 22, 2012 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Ex-gf continued to stay friends with my closest friends. I haven't come to terms with it.

About four months ago, I went through a nasty breakup and my less than a year long relationship (there was one 2-mo long breakup in that timeframe too) came to an end. Amidst that first breakup, my now ex moved and lodged herself two blocks away on the same street where I live (and in the same block as two of my best friends, a couple).

After our breakup, she moved on within two weeks and found someone new and I guess they're in a relationship now. As if that wasn't shocking, she continued to stay friends with the couple. The husband is someone I've known for a decade and his wife half a decade. She knew them for 6mos or less. And I believe they all know each other/hang out now. It makes me jealous.

All this I feel has subconsciously affected our friendship. I no longer feel the same for my friends. I find it tragic. My friends are now moving to a new city and I don't feel the sadness I would have if this hadn't occurred. It's just not the same and I can't come to terms with all this. I also feel sad that my friends never showed the empathy and concern when I was going through the breakup. I've briefly spoken to them but I just think they never understood the gravity of the breakup/relationship. Apparently, the ex still rants about me to them sometimes and I find it highly offensive. I believe they defend me but still.

What do you do when life throws these curve balls at you? Do you just let go of these negative forces and feel saddened (such is life) or do you confront them head on? I don't like the weakness this generates in me.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wait, what's your problem, exactly? Are you mad at her for trying to be friends with your friends? Are you mad at your friends for not being there for you? It's a little unclear what the "negative forces" are here.
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM on June 22, 2012

Where are you getting all your information on what your ex is doing with your friends? You should cut that data source out of your life, whether that means taking certain people off your Facebook newsfeed or telling whoever is giving you this info to cut it out. Hearing about what other people are doing or talking about when you aren't around is making you unhappy, plus it isn't really any of your business. Getting that negative energy out of your mind will help you feel better.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:07 PM on June 22, 2012 [4 favorites]

You don't own people, and can't control what they do. If they want to stay friends with someone who didn't work out with your romantically, that's their prerogative.

Everyone isn't always going to take your side in everything, even if they love you dearly. The hurt your ex caused you didn't cause the same hurt to them, and the whole concept of "taking sides," to me, can get pretty destructive.

You don't have to hang out with them when they're with her, and you can ask that they don't mention her to you when you talk to them. That's the most you can do, because you can't tell others who their friends should be.
posted by xingcat at 12:07 PM on June 22, 2012 [11 favorites]

It sounds odd to me that your friends would deliberately hurt you like that. Are you sure they know how upset you are? Did you confide in them about the breakup? Do they know that it's still painful for you? Because if you didn't, there's no reason they shouldn't be friendly with her. And that might be all it is -- she's a neighbor, she asks them to hang out, and they haven't been given a reason to decline.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:11 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

And I believe they all know each other/hang out now. ... Apparently, the ex still rants about me to them sometimes and I find it highly offensive. I believe they defend me but still.

How do you know these things? It sounds like this was a highly dramatic relationship (2-month breakup after short time together, then nasty breakup) and now there's still lots of drama (people talking about each other to third parties).

If you want to move on, you have to stop the drama. Stop talking about her. Stop finding out about her life. Stop judging her for moving on. Stop making your friends feel they have to choose sides. You can be hurt, it just doesn't do any good to expect others to feel what you feel.
posted by headnsouth at 12:11 PM on June 22, 2012

You've previously acknowledged that you like drama. I think this is just the new way you're feeding your desire for drama, rather than via your relationship with your then-girlfriend. It is neither "shocking" that your ex is dating someone else, nor is it "tragic" that your friends hung out with her.

I think you're perhaps being unfair to your friends. You tried talking to them, but did you really listen to their side? They weren't the ones involved in the breakup, after all.

Take a step back from this situation. You just need time. You can stay in touch with your friends, but maybe only after a little while, when you realize that the fact that they hung out with your ex has nothing to do with your friendship.

And in time, you'll feel better about your break-up. Your relationship is over, so you need to stop worrying about what your ex is doing. Stop talking to her and about her; it'll make your life so much better.
posted by runningwithscissors at 12:12 PM on June 22, 2012 [6 favorites]

To my mind, the question is "why was the break-up destructive?"

If it's just that you brought out the worst in each other (which happens to even the nicest people), then there's no reason to expect your friends to friend-dump her if they like her. If you fought a lot, were acrimonious, and did other unpleasant but not actually immoral things in the course of the break-up, I think it's unreasonable to expect your friends to pick a side. Maybe they like her! Maybe she's likeable! The sad fact is that otherwise kind and good people can have painful, ugly break-ups. That doesn't mean that they are bad people. You're not a terrible person, for example, even if your ex is angry with you and says mean things.

If your girlfriend cheated on you, stole from you, lied about you or did something really egregious on the egging-your-car-and-trashing-your-possessions line, then absolutely there is something wrong with your friends for continuing to see her, because she did something wrong to you.

I'd suggest that you tell your friends that you don't want to hear about your ex from them and then do your best to forget that they hang out with her.
posted by Frowner at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

Do you just let go of these negative forces and feel saddened (such is life)


Don't ask anyone for information about your ex or anything she's doing. If they tell you unprompted with any frequency, quit talking to them because they're a source of drama and not a friend.

Don't ask your friends to take sides. You have perspective they don't, but they have perspective you don't.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:14 PM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Both and my friends who chose to remain friends with her.

Well, to be blunt, you need to grow up.

Adults are allowed to be friends with anyone they please; the rules of "no friendships with exes" is a rule that goes away after high school. If their friendship is affected by your subconscious, that's on you, not them, especially if you haven't fully explained the gravity of your breakup to them.

Asking friends to take sides is a great way to stop having friends; my advice would be to accept that your relationship with your friends is independent of their relationship with your ex and you only really have the right to control your own relationships.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I went through a similar situation when I introduced my then-gf to my entire circle of friends, when she basically had very few of her own friends when we started going out. I ended up losing a solid third of my social circle to her after the breakup. It sucked, but thems the breaks. You'll find new friends, and a new girlfriend. Then you'll stop caring about it.

Btw, after a couple of years, I started hanging out with those friends again and am now on speaking terms with that particular ex. Just wait it out, keep busy, hit the gym, etc..
posted by empath at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Mutual friends are not table settings. You don't divvy them up after a breakup.
I do think, however, that your friends owe you the courtesy of telling her "knock that shit off" when she complains about you.
posted by moammargaret at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Did you discuss the breakup with them? Did they ask you how you felt? Did you tell them you don't want them to be friends with her? Have they told you they hang out with her? I don't know, I feel like you're living in your head too much and building up a lot of stuff in your imagination.

If one of my very best friends had stayed friends and hung out with a certain ex of mine, especially right away, I would have felt betrayed and it absolutely would have damaged our friendship -- but they would have known about it and I would have expected them to have my back. So I get where you might be coming from, although I can't actually tell what's going on with you.

More usefully, if something causes you pain, you need to cut it out of your life. Or at least I do. If they're rubbing your face in their friendship with her, ditch them. If Facebook is giving you ideas, log off or hide whomever you need to hide.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, is there something you would like to have happen here? You're upset that your friends continued to be friends with your ex; I'm sure you're not the only person who would feel that way (although "tragic" seems like a little much). Friendships change and evolve; your relationship with this couple has evolved in a direction you don't like. But there's very little you can do about any of that.

If you can't be OK with your friends being friends with your ex, I think your best bet is to mourn the loss of/change in your relationship with them and move on.
posted by mskyle at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2012

I've been in exactly the same situation.

If you resent your ex-girlfriend, then everything she touches, everyone she hangs out with, will be tainted. So she's tainted some of your best friends.

Unfortunately, that's on you. If you honor your deepest resentments then you will build your life around them instead of resolving them, you will get stuck in the past and paint yourself in a corner socially and spiritually.

The only way to get over it is to practice deep acceptance. I wouldn't even try to work this out with your friends. They don't have to be your best friends today. They do have a right to be friendly with everyone equally. They may have more in common with her. Your ex, as do you, have a right to move on, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. I have found that for men sometimes this process can be much more difficult. The good news is you don't have to have feelings you don't have. It's okay to be hurt and ask for space.

The relationships where no one around seems to care or think you were a good fit - but you felt it was really special - man those are so painful. I dated a girl I liked once for a short period time and a few months after we broke up she married someone else. Today, I honestly feel like I dodged a bullet. The process of detaching can really affect your character.

If this woman is being mean to you behind your back, you really have nothing to worry about. People that do that are not truly happy. You don't want to stoop to that level, it won't make you feel better.
posted by phaedon at 12:19 PM on June 22, 2012 [8 favorites]

Do you just let go of these negative forces and feel saddened (such is life)

Yes, precisely. Feeling sad, feeling hurt, getting your heart broken -- this doesn't make you a victim of anything; it makes you human.

There's a Buddhist saying: pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. To me, this means accepting that difficult events and emotions are a perfectly natural part of life -- and therefore they are challenges that I have to find a way to cope with, rather than personal attacks that I have to find a way to resist or obliterate. This makes for a much more peaceful, drama-free live, even in the midst of pain.
posted by scody at 12:30 PM on June 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

I find it tragic.

Dude, step away from the melodramatic language now. The sooner you stop framing your (trivial in the face of everything in the universe and the scope of your life) pain as some great tragedy, the better off you will be.

As long as your friends aren't completely ostracizing you, I don't think you have the right to be angry at them. If they're hanging out with her, and hanging out with you separately, then who is friends with whom is none of your business.

And if they are siding with her and not hanging out with you, that sucks, I'm sorry, life is unfair, chin up and move on. You'll be fine.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 12:47 PM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Reading your other questions, I think a couple other things are going on here. You don't communicate we'll, which means you likely haven't communicated any of this to your friends. And you broke up with her, which makes playing the victim ring hollow and certainly would lead me to believe, if I were your friend, that you wouldn't be torn up inside if I continued to be friendly to the chick that you dumped (a while ago! and weren't with for that long!).

Have you done therapy? I almost never suggest that, but it seems like you have a lot of stuff you need to work through and the internet isn't well equipped to help you.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:42 PM on June 22, 2012

I don't know, can I go against the grain here and say that this is not cool of your friends? You have a right to feel betrayed, in my opinion. Friends of over a decade are hanging out with an ex of yours whom they've known 6 months and who is actively shit-talking you? Not awesome. I'm not giving any solid suggestions here, I'm just saying please don't beat yourself up for being petty. This is disloyal behavior on their part, in my opinion.
posted by namesarehard at 2:51 PM on June 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

It makes me jealous.

It would make me jealous too! If the situation is actually as you describe, then yeah - that kind of sucks, and I understand your negative feeling. It would hurt me to imagine my good friends and my ex hanging out on the back porch drinking margaritas together.

But what you have to do (for your own health) is to let go of the negativity and move on. You can choose to be happy. Your feelings aren't crazy and invalid, but they aren't rational and choosing to dwell on them won't bring you happiness.

Also, a lot of what you're saying sounds like speculation on your part. And if it's not pure speculation then you need to get rid of whatever little birdie is whispering these things in your ear, pronoto.

Start reframing this situation in your head into something more positive and have some agency over your happiness.
posted by OsoMeaty at 3:07 PM on June 22, 2012

So, from the sound of it, you dumped your girlfriend and the breakup was nasty and instead of her being devastated, eating pints of ice cream and sobbing for months, she actually had the nerve to move on! And be happy! And in the midst of her breakup, chances are she reached out to her friends. I guess on top of that, in your script, she was supposed to be friendless and heartbroken as well while you moved on to some hottie (after all, you broke up with her, right?). Do you hate her that much that you begrudge her friends, a new relationship, any happiness at all, or are you just upset that she got over you so quickly while you apparently are still seething and using dramatic language - tragic, really?

I think you need to reframe this. You broke up with her, you got what you wanted, the end of the relationship. She's made the best of the situation and has obviously moved on, now it's your turn. Instead of trying to control your ex and your friends, use that energy to move on yourself.

So far as your friends go, I would be happy that they were kind enough to be there for someone that you'd obviously hurt and extend the hand of friendship so she wasn't dumped twice - first by you, then by them. It is possible for them to have a good relationship with you both, unless of course you ruin it by being petty. And who knows, in time you may actually end up being friends with your ex, depending on how you handle this. Stranger things have happened.
posted by Jubey at 4:58 PM on June 22, 2012 [5 favorites]

I have your back here. If the breakup hurt you, and if by her being friends with them, you get second-hand exposure to her rants about you, of course that sucks. You're getting exposed to something painful via her friendship with them. Decide whether you want to protect yourself via asking them not to tell you about her, via not exposing yourself to them, or via magically suddenly not having it hurt you to hear about her.
posted by salvia at 7:37 PM on June 22, 2012

I don't know. 10 years is a long time to be friends! I would feel slighted at best if I were you. Maybe it's that your friend's wife really likes your ex? They get along and enjoy hanging out? That may be a little more manageable, emotionally, I mean.

On rereading I see that this couple is moving away soon. Try to put this out of your mind as much as possible for now and spend time with your old friends before they leave. Once they leave town it will be, probably, pretty moot, which is both good and bad.

It would piss me off too. Hang in there!
posted by skbw at 10:51 AM on June 23, 2012

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