9 tips for mixing socially with your ex


coping with shared friends

Breaking up with someone is hard at the best of times but it can be much more difficult if your social life is shared with your ex. This may be because you met them through your friends or because over the time you have been together you have developed shared interests and social activities which neither of you will want to give up now you are apart.

It can be difficult to strike a balance between moving on, being sensitive to your ex’s feelings and looking after yourself so that you don’t end up feeling that you have lost much more than just the relationship. Here are some things to bear in mind when you are considering socialising in places, or at events, where your ex is likely to be.

1. Allow a breathing space – even if the decision to break up was mutual and amicable it can be difficult to make the transition from lovers to friends. Trying to make this happen too soon can cause confusion on both sides so it is best to let some time pass in order for things to heal – 21 days is how long experts say it takes to develop new behaviours.

2. Accepting invitations – if you and your ex have the same friends then the chances are that you may both get invited to occasions that your friends are hosting. The most important thing to remember is to be honest in your response – if it is too soon for you then don’t go, if it is a true friend they will understand.

3. Ulterior motives – before you enter any social situation where your ex is likely to be, you need to be honest with yourself about what your intentions are. If you are going with the hope of getting back with them; making them uncomfortable or to show them that you are fine without them, then it may be that you are not ready. Although it is natural to have these feelings don’t use your friends as pawns in your ailing relationship.

4. Avoid Dutch courage – there is no getting away from the fact that it can be awkward and uncomfortable seeing an ex again after a break-up. It may bring up lots of uncomfortable emotions but whatever you do avoid drinking excessively to try and numb your feelings. The chances are that you will end up feeling embarrassed and humiliated which will make it even harder next time. If you need to drink to handle your feelings take yourself home and get some healthy support.

5. Safety in numbers – it will be much easier to engage with an ex if there are lots of other people around than at an intimate gathering like a dinner party where you might be sat beside them and forced to engage in conversation.

6. Moving on – once someone is an ex you need to be prepared for the fact that they could show up to social events with a new partner –are you ready to witness that? If you have met someone new it is important to give your new relationship time to develop before you take them into your social circle, that way it won’t look like you are just trying to fill your ex’s shoes or make them jealous.

7. Stay civil – no matter how angry or hurt you still are with your ex, when you are in a social situation be polite and civil to them. Not only will this allow you to relax and enjoy yourself, but you will also go home able to hold your head up high and know that you acted in a dignified way regardless of how they were towards you.

8. Avoid using your friends as go-betweens – The worst mistake people make when they share the same friends with their ex is using those people as mediators in the dispute between them. This will make your friends feel awkward and uncomfortable as their loyalties will be split. Asking them for information about who your ex is seeing or getting them to relay information will prevent you from moving on and could also do damage to your friendship.

9. Forgive the past – holding onto hurt from a previous relationship will prevent you from moving on with your life. Bitterness is unattractive and even though your anger may be entirely justified it is imperative that you find a way to let go and forgive the past. This is not the same as condoning someone’s bad behaviour. The act of forgiveness is a gift to yourself so that you can open your heart to love again.


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