Who keeps your friends when the relationship is over?

The Separation Coach - Sarah Cole

When your relationship ends, you know you have to sort out the big things like kids, property, finances etc, but do you have to ‘divide’ your friends?

Going through a break up is one of the top 3 stressful things you can go through in a lifetime. It stands to reason that you turn to your friends to debrief about the whole thing! As a couple, his friends became your friends and vice versa. Then there are the ‘couple’ friends that you made together. How do you determine who you can speak to about your separation OR simply continue the friendship as its always been??

You will win some and lose some.

To begin with, there will be the no-brainers – your ex’s friends and your own friends. He’ll stick with his, you’ll stick with yours and you will refrain from crossing the line and ‘stealing’ them out of spite or as a ploy to get back in the good books with your ex…Doing this is a sure way to lose some friends and can actually place more strain on the relationship with your ex then it will ever work in your favour. If you are in a co-parenting situation, you don’t want that.

Some of the friends you were close with while in your relationship to will find it hard to deal with how much your separation changes you. They may have never experienced it and won’t know how to be the friend you need. They may not necessarily have ‘chosen’ the ‘side’ of your ex, but quite simply find it hard to relate to. Therefore, you may find that the friendship naturally fades a little. That’s not to say it will be forever, but it may not be as significant as it once was at this time in your life.

There will be those who downright disagree with what you or your ex have done or the reasons you have chosen to end the relationship and they may fade off into the sunset without a goodbye.

The change in dynamics of these friendships will hurt, but the ones who are ‘not taking sides’ and ‘friends with both of you’, will probably be the ones you will struggle with the most.

The ‘couple’ friends

You may gravitate toward these people because they ‘know you both so well’ and be expecting some compassion, understanding and place to vent. These friends may be trying really hard to remain friends with you both – which the ‘grown up’ side of you will be all for! But the hurt, angry and vulnerable side of you, will want them to be ‘on your side’. To validate how you feel and tell you that your ex is not worthy of you! You may feel a little frustrated at their ‘fence sitting’ and not being able to really vent your frustrations or be completely honest about what has happened for fear of appearing as though you are trying to turn them against your ex.

If you really want to keep these friends, it is probably best to limit talk about your ex to answering their questions with a diplomatic response until the dust settles.

YOUR Friends!

These are the people you either brought into the relationship or you made during but your other half had very minimal to do with. Believe it or not, this one can be tricky! Especially if your ex is feeling jilted and wants to ‘prove’ their point by saying your friends agree with them, or even worse, like him/her better than you! Because of your own vulnerability, you may be inclined to believe this or at the very least, allow the seed of doubt to be planted – especially if they are ‘liking’ (albeit irrelevant) social media posts or asking how your ex is going. Your friend’s intentions are MOST likely to remain amicable with your ex for your sake rather than be best buds with them. However, just to ease your own anxiety and to help your friends understand your own feelings, it is best to come out and ask them what they think – to let them know you need their support and what your preferred responses by them, to your ex, would be. Ultimately, if these are your peeps, they will appreciate knowing how you are feeling and what you would like them to do in this situation.

Your Ex’s Friends

It is possible you developed your own friendship with your ex’s friends during your relationship. So how do you maintain this without looking like you are ‘stealing’ your ex’s friends or trying to turn them against your ex? My own personal rule if he/she came with these friends, he/she gets to make the initial contact with them. If your ‘ex’s’ friends are instigating contact with you, be respectful to the fact that these are his/her people to vent to. Keep your vulnerabilities and any nastiness for your own personal friends.