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.
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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….
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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.