Team You vs. Team Ex: Who Gets the Friends?


By Kristin Manganello, Copy Cutie

It’s one of the oldest stories in the book — Boy meets Girl, Boy and Girl fall in love, Boy and Girl fall out of love, Boy and Girl break up.

Sometimes, breakups are as ugly as divorces. Even though there aren’t houses or children to fight over, a war can still erupt. Just like kids whose parents are splitting up, your friends might find themselves caught in the middle of your battle — and it’s not as easy as slipping on a Team Edward or Team Jacob t-shirt.

Breakups cause a variety of conflicting emotions for everyone involved. When caught up in the reaction storm, it’s easy to start seeing your friends as assets. And when you do that, you tend to forget that people aren’t objects that come along with deeds of ownership. Your friends are the ones who must choose how they're going to handle their feelings about your breakup — not you.

It won’t be easy if your friends decide to stay connected with your ex. You may feel betrayed and alienated, wondering how your BFFs still care about someone who hurt you. But while the pain is real and vivid for you, the fact is, your friends won’t have those same, intense feelings. Your ex didn’t hurt them. Keep in mind that being friendly with your ex doesn't mean that your pals care about you less; it just means that they also care about the other person in your breakup equation.

What if most of your current friends are ones you made through your ex during your relationship? Don’t despair. If you care about these people (and vice versa) and everyone makes a concerted effort to be mature during this sensitive time, there’s no reason for you not to remain friends with them. However, don’t assume that their companionship is a given, even if you’ve developed what seems like legitimately strong connections. It can be extremely disappointing to believe that you have a person’s support, only to be left by him or her, too. Whatever the case, accept the situation for what it is and don’t let your pain dictate how you handle it.

You’re probably thinking that it’s easier said than done. And you’re absolutely right: emotions are complicated. No matter how hard you try to apply logic to them, they find ways to entangle you. In the aftermath of a breakup, it feels like the world is ending — but it’s not. You have more friends than enemies, even when it doesn’t seem that way. Remember that whatever pain you feel will eventually dissipate, and that everything will work itself out. Your current friendships will continue to grow or you’ll naturally make new friends. Either way, move forward so you can find another Boy or Girl to complete your happily ever after.

The good, the bad, or the ugly — we love hearing about your experiences, so share them in the comments section below!