Is it really worth it?
Most couples break up. That's a simple, irrefutable truth. And that's okay. I use the baseball analogy when it comes to finding long-term love. You're going to strike out with alarming regularity, but once you finally hit that homerun, those past failures are rendered irrelevant. But alas, relationships do end and there are consequences to those break ups.
Quite often there's the division of "stuff." He's got a drawer or closet space at her place, she's got her toiletries in his bathroom and a key to his apartment. In many cases there's property and sometimes pets and/or children involved. But what often is overlooked are the personal relationships cultivated via your relationship with your partner that are suddenly thrown into limbo.
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Who gets the friends?
It's a weird position in which to be. You really like your partner's friends. Maybe even developed some fairly deep connections with a few of them. But once there's a break up, for better or worse, sides must be chosen. Worse yet, many times the decision to maintain a friendship is made for us when our former partner's pal decides that a continued connection with you is inappropriate.
With no research to back it up, the impression I get through my own experiences is that guys seem to detach and move on from "relationship friends" with a bit more of a philosophical attitude towards the situation.
The relationship is over so the friendships associated with that relationship are over.
So what's the etiquette here? If you're the friend on the periphery and your pal's relationship comes to an end, how do you work your way through this quandary? I have a few questions you should probably ask yourself…
1. How would you feel if one of your friends continued a friendship with your ex? - Very simple question that tends to be the best metric in making the choice to hold on to a friendship with your friend's former partner; do unto others….
2. Why was there a break up? – Did the couple simply grow apart or was there something more sinister in play? Infidelity or perhaps abuse of some sort?
3. How would my friend feel about our personal relationship if I continued a friendship with his/her ex? – Some folks don't care one way or another with whom their ex remains friends, whereas others see any continued connection at all as a major loyalty violation.
4. Why do I need to continue this friendship? – What's the point? What's so great about this person that you simply must hold on to the connection? Maybe it's a great job contact? Perhaps this person is somehow connected you in a different way? Maybe you're the person who set the couple up? Or maybe you've got other motives… and you know what I'm talking about.
5. What kind of relationship are you trying to maintain? – Maybe you're just trying to remain civil and polite as opposed to becoming besties and hitting Happy Hour together. To your friend, a civil relationship may be acceptable while something of more depth may prove problematic.
6. Are you prepared to lose a longtime friend? – By maintaining a connection with your "relationship friend", are you ready to accept that your original, long time buddy, may be less than thrilled with the continued association? Are you willing to exchange one friendship for another?
It goes without saying that each and every situation is unique, but hopefully you've answered the questions above as honestly as possible in your own mind and are willing to accept the consequences of your final decision. What other rules or points should people consider in this situation? Or should this even be a consideration? What do you think? Share your thoughts!
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Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, veteran media professional and author of "Your Straight Male Friend..Every Woman Should Have One", Marcus has honed his talent and keen ability to convey to women, the inner workings of the male mind via regular forays into the "friend zone." He launched his crusade to bridge the Mars/Venus communication gap as Your Straight Male Friend after realizing that women weren't getting the real story about what motivates men in the game of love, sex, dating & relationships. Now spreading the gospel, "A straight male friend...every woman should have one!"