Divorce

Are Your Exes Friends and Family Exes Too?

How to Maintain the other “Ex’” Relationships.

The two of you broke up. Now you are sitting on Facebook wondering if all those wonderful people you met through your ex, and his or her family members that have become dear to your heart need to be deleted from your friends list. After all, their loyalties will certainly be with your ex. Really, are your ex’s friends and family exes now too? But oh, how you will miss them.

The truth is that in the course of a relationship you accumulate many people in your life because of your significant other. In fact, polls show that one of the reasons many people stay together or wait so long to get a divorce is because of the residual relationships they are afraid of losing. His sister may feel like your own sister. Or maybe your mother in law or mother in law to be became the mother you always wished you had. After a break-up, it can be downright difficult to navigate these relationships and even decide whether it is acceptable or not. And, sometimes it can be painful to do so. At some point your ex’s best friend who is also your best friend is going to mention the new relationship your ex is in or the fact that he or she is engaged. Yikes.

So, what are the rules when it comes to exes?

The rules are – there aren’t any. Helpful, right?

The truth is that you have to decide whether or not you want these relationships to remain in your life. And if you do want them to remain in your life, you have to decide whether it is because you want to keep tabs on your ex and torture him or her or if these people really mean something to you. If the first is true, your best decision will be to save face and allow these people to remember you as someone with integrity and walk away from the ex and the friendships for a fresh start.

And for a lot of folks, ‘these people’” are children. Then what? If you and your ex spent many years together and you had a hand in raising his or her daughter, is it fair to just abruptly end that relationship as well? When it comes to the children, the decision has to be left to the parent and you have to respect it even if it hurts. Initially, trying to stay connected with any children that were involved in the relationship can be difficult. However, over time, the child may see you out and your ex may realize that it is okay to do so. But if not, you shouldn’t over step your boundaries. Make your feelings known, and then resign to the little fact of parental consent.

As for the other adult friends and family the area can be grey, at best. During the initial break up phase, it can be difficult to hold these relationships because of the natural tendencies and temptations to talk about your ex. However, if you can truly find other things to discuss and have a natural connection that exists outside of your past relationship, then go for it. Finding good people in this world that you love and respect (and that reciprocate) is not something that should be taken lightly. The best advice is to give yourself a little bit of time before having dinner with your ex mother in law to be, but to not cut the cord from the relationship altogether. Unless of course that is what she wants to do.

Which brings up another point. How do you handle the fact that you felt like you had such good friends and extended family only to find that they have pretty much blacklisted you from their life the minute the break-up was announced? Talk about painful. You will miss the family outings and the get togethers with friends that you had become accustomed to. Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about it. Sure, you can talk to them and tell them that you miss the friendships, but for many people they won’t be willing to bridge the relationship, believing that blood is thicker than water. This is especially true if the relationship ended on bad terms, that are seemingly your fault. In this case, it is normal to find that your ex extended family and friends will certainly NOT be on your side. Which to be honest, isn’t a healthy predicament for you to be in at this point in your life. The best advice is to hang with the people that support you and hope for the best that the others will come around when the pain of the break up subsides.

Every relationship that you have as a result of a relationship is subject to change after a breakup. And the result is hardly predictable. Many people have gone on to have fantastic bonds with their exes friends and family, while others have been forced to suffer through a break up that feels isolating and cold from extended family members. For obvious reasons, it is definitely not the best idea to stay in an unhealthy relationship simply because you are afraid of losing the others.

Remember that break ups are about starting new. Paving your way through life without the people you are accustomed to is never easy, especially if you are in pain. However, in order for you to recover and to move forward, it is often essential.

You might find that as time moves on the old relationships can mend on their own.

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