Getting the cold shoulder from your ex's pals after you breakup? Real guys tell us why!
- Justin DeMarco, BettyConfidential.com
Break-ups are messy, especially when the friendship fallout happens and sides are chosen. Although you may have hung out with your ex-boyfriend's friends while you were dating him, chances are, if you two split, he is taking his entourage with him.
One of my best male friends from college dated this awesome girl freshman year to the end of junior year. When their relationship ended, I stopped talking to my buddy's ex-girlfriend. I'd say "Hi" to her if I saw her on the street senior year or at a party, but it was always a hug and a "See Ya Later" once she was no longer his girl.
I figured I knew him first and he needed to know I supported him and his decision. She became a good friend of mine during those three years they were dating, but it felt wrong to keep talking to her or seeing her. It came down to a respect issue for me and I decided to protect my friendship with him.
Then the two rekindled their feelings a month before graduation and everything went back to normal in terms of our friendship. The three of us acted like no time was lost at all. If anything, my relationship with her grew stronger post-college since she lived in New York City too and he lived out of town. The three of us were back. Reunited. That was until they broke up again. When the second breakup happened, she and I just stopped talking. I stopped calling her and she stopped calling me. It was tough.
With my own ex-girlfriend it was an easy call for my guy friends. They hated her. I knew it and she knew it, even though I still tried to convince my ex that my friends liked her. So, when the two of us ended things my friends were happy they didn't have to see her anymore and I'm sure she was happy she didn't have to see them (and probably me) anymore, either. It all worked out.
But what if you really liked a friend of your ex-boyfriend's, is there any chance your friendship still stands a chance after a breakup with his friend?
"Typically, it's s a package deal and the breakup is not just the couple, but the shared friends as well. Real buddies have each other's backs in any circumstance and the idea of staying close with his ex, especially without him knowing, is out of the question," Booth, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, says. "Even if my buddy seems cool with my having a friendship with an ex, chances are he's not. The reason I say that is because a lot of times guys will take the 'high road' just because they don't want to appear insecure in front of their guy friends. But real buddies understand that about each other and there's an unspoken respect thing that puts the brakes on any post-breakup friendship."
So, what are guys supposed to do when they actually enjoyed the company of their buddy's ex-girlfriend?
If it weren't for the movie, When Harry Met Sally, I'd say they should just hang out. Instead Billy Crystal's character, Harry Burns, had to share his theory with Meg Ryan's character, Sally Albright, that guys can't be friends with attractive girls because they want to have sex with them, but girls can still be friends with guys.
That seems to be the main issue for guys when it comes to talking to a friend's ex. The logic is, if my ex-girlfriend is hot, and of course she is because I dated her, my friends would want to date her or hook up with her too.
"Guys stop talking to their buddy's exes for one of two reasons," Ian, a 22-year-old New York City EMT, says. "One is that they respect their friend's feelings and want to make it is easier on him. And two is because your buddy will probably be worried that since she is now single, his friends will end up trying to get with her and that would just make a mess of things."
That is unless the guy friend hires a dating coach to clean everything up.
Dr. Ofer Batt, a dating coach in Los Angeles for hollywoodwingmen.com and author of the soon to be published book, How to Succeed with Women without Being Weird: A Practical Guide to Dating, says it's okay to still hang out with your buddy's ex, as long as you're honest with him about your intentions.
"With regards to talking to and dating a buddy's ex-girlfriend, I advise my clients to simply ask their buddy if it's okay to stay friends with or to date his ex," Dr. Ofer Batt says. "The best approach is to talk to your friend and say you respect his friendship. Then tell him that you're interested in talking to or dating his ex, but out of respect you wanted to ask if it was okay with him before you move forward. Usually, he will be so impressed that you asked for his approval that he will say yes. Sometimes he will say no, and it's best to respect his wishes. I would advise against telling your buddy's ex too much about him. You are a mutual friend, not a spy between them."
And that's another reason guys are wary about talking to a friend's ex. He doesn't want to come off as a snitch or be put in a situation where he says something completely inappropriate or has to sit through a conversation with an ex ripping on his friend.
"I don't talk to any of my buddies ex-girlfriends after they breakup," Alex Monroe, founder and editor-in-chief of GetYourBizSavvy.com, says. "I just get a weird vibe talking to them. I guess it depends on the break up, but once it's over, talking to them is not the same."
For Greg, a 29-year-old IT Analyst for a New York Investment bank, it comes down to whom he knew first. "If one of my guy friends dated someone and I knew her only through him and they broke up, I wouldn't stop talking to the girl outright, but I wouldn't go out of my way to call of hang out with her either," Greg, a 29-year-old IT Analyst for a New York Investment bank, says. "I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'bros before hoes' thing, but I would never want to not be able to hang out with one of my best friends or make it uncomfortable for them if I had made plans with an ex of his."
Greg made sure to point out that if the situation was turned around and a female friend of his broke up with a guy he became friends with, he'd stop talking to that guy since he knew him through her.
I just hope no more of my guy friends break up with their girlfriends. I don't want to be stuck in this lose-lose situation again.
Tell us: Have any friends of guys you dated completely cut you out once your relationship with his friend was over?
Justin DeMarco is a New York City-based writer. He co-wrote Hockey: The Musical with Rick Wilson, which premiered at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2008.To read more from BettyConfidential: