Is It Healthy to Stay Friends With Your Ex’s Friends?

We asked 8 real, live, sex-having women to weigh in

By Shari Gab

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27 September 2017

Breakin’ up ain’t easy.

As if dividing the vinyl collection, furniture and streaming passwords weren’t enough of a bummer, there’s the division of friends.

Who goes where? And where do we fit into the equation?

To figure that out, we asked 8 real, live, sex-having women to weigh in on whether it’s healthy — or even possible — to remain friends with your ex's friends after the split.

Here’s what they had to say.  

Reena, 32, Distribution Director
Just say ‘No’ to Tinder
“I tend to think that this depends on how the relationship ended. If the friends in question are made uncomfortable by the situation or if there was a genuine friendship that you didn't want to abandon because of a breakup, it seems silly to do so. I have personally fostered a close relationship with one of my ex's friends. It was nice to have someone to talk through the breakup with who knew us together and apart.”

Julia, 31, RN
Got this great guy
“Unless you're packing up and moving out of state (or the country) — apparently my way of handling all my splits — you can't expect that you both should or will part with all of your friends too. I had to put some time between them for a while though. Seeing them would remind me of my ex, and sometimes give me the urge to dig for intel. Still homies with many, but the closeness of the relationships waned a bit after the breakups.

And depending on how long you were together, it’s hard to comb through the friend pool to say this one’s mine or yours. As a courtesy, I think close friends go back to their rightful person. I'd be pissed if an ex was hitting up a bestie to hang or catch up. That sh*t’s not cool. When they start inviting your crew to something fun. Like, oh hell no, I WILL out fun you asshole.”

Nicole, 45, Dermatologist
Dating a few people. Into it.  
“If you have kids and they play together — it gets sticky. You have to remain cordial for the sake of little ones for certain. Other than that, we should all be going our own separate ways. And if you’re curious about who goes with who when the sh*t hits the fan, get ready. It’s not always who they came in with, but let the chips fall where they may. Leave ‘em there and get on with it.”

Martie, 33, Writer
Best dude ever … most days
“Look — on the one hand, I think this is completely dependent on the relationship and the friendships. I recognize that there are tons of hypothetical circumstances where it would be inappropriate to stay in touch with anyone related to an ex and vice versa. Ultimately though, in the absence of some great betrayal or injury on either side, isn't life just too goddamn short to police who's friends with who? And by the same token, isn't life too goddamn long and too full of evolution and growth and unexpected twists and turns to determine in a single emotional moment how you're going to feel about your ex and your friends and your ex's friends from breakup until forever? I don't think most past relationships need to lend that particular brand of restrictive definition to our lives. Which is not to say it's always comforting to know that a friendship that started because of you continues on in your absence — it's not, and I think it's totally valid to express that and ask for some consideration in that way. But it's your job in the wake of a breakup to get okay and to move on in a healthy way and I don't really see how you do that if you're permanently organizing the people in your life around the politics of your past relationship.”

Kaela, 40, Real Estate Investor
He’s cool
“No. It’s not okay. I don’t want to see my ex anymore. That means that I want them out of my life. That means that my friends should not be hanging out with them. That also means I don’t need to hang out with his friends. I don’t get how this is hard for people to understand.”

Otto, 36, Magazine Editor
He’s the still point of my spinnin’ Earth
“Divide ‘em up. Go your separate ways. I recently had a girlfriend move in with one of my ex’s and live with him for a year without telling me. That’s some shady sh*t. It doesn’t take a brainiac to figure out that it’s uncouth. And don’t give me that rise above it, maturity BS. It’s a matter of etiquette, not age.”

Caroline, 30, Culture critic
Widowed (in my mind)
“I find that things usually sort themselves out. If the split was amicable, then perhaps very little has to change. If the split is messy at all, that can seep into everything. I've experienced both. I'd like to think it comes down to maturity, but I have gotten hurt feelings when family and friends continue to like my ex's stuff on social media (because that's what this really is about, right?). In navigating relationships and friendships, as in all things, just do your best not to be a piece of sh*t.”

Kate, 40, Sales
Coupled up somethin’ fierce
“This depends on the breakup.  If the breakup was mutual and you just grew apart, I don't think there is any reason for people who have been in each other's lives for a long time not to stay friends. Most often long-term relationships form lasting friendships with their now ex-partners friends or family and breaking that union should not result in divorcing the entire friend group.  Some adjustments to social events may need to be made and priority should be given to the partner who was the original friend. In the circumstance where one person hurt the other resulting in the breaking up of the relationship (i.e. long-term cheating or abusive behavior) by no means do I think true friends would want to be friends with that person, nor should they. In this case, I would not think it is okay to stay friends with my friends. And the same goes for each party.”

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