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How to deal with losing friends after a break-up

lonely, handsBreak ups suck. There are no two ways about it. While there are many things that you have to work through in dealing with a breakup, losing friends can be one of the most disheartening. While you can feel sadness in losing your partner, losing friends can feel like a double blow.

Effectively dealing with losing friends can be just as important as how you deal with the break up itself.

Their friends, your friends, our friends, who’s friends?

When you meet someone, initially, you have your friends, and they have their friends. These are usually two completely different sets of people unless you’ve met through your friend group. Over time, you introduce each other to your friends, opening up and sharing your life (and friends!) with them.

Your partner becomes ingrained in your set of friends, and you become ingrained in their set. Sometimes, you’ll come and mix them all together. You’ll meet people together and they’ll become your friends as a couple.

Your partner’s friends become your friends, too, and then your friends become their friends… it’s a big, happy friends mashup, and can extend your social circle a lot.

The breakup

But somewhere down the track, the pair of you realise your lives are not going to work together forever, as you’d planned. Whether the split was amicable or fiery, you now have this tangle of friendships that you’re both linked to as a couple.

In the end, it’s natural that some friends that you share will gravitate towards one of you more than the other. It’s not a flaw on your part: some of your ex’s friends will feel a great sense of loyalty to your ex-partner, and some of your old friends, or new friends you made in the relationship, will feel they connect more with your ex-partner than you.

It can hurt losing friends. What’s important is that you understand their motivations, and make sure that you ease the situation as much as possible. Here’s how to help:

  • Don’t make friends pick sides, even if you’re angry at your ex
  • Understand that those closest to your partner will need space
  • Rely on your own closest friends – and family – when going through a breakup
  • Have positive interactions with mutual friends, rather than rehashing your breakup
  • Start a new hobby and build some new friendships as a single person
  • Consult a counsellor if you are having difficulties

Breakups can be tough – and not only in the ways in which we imagine they are. Unfortunately, losing friends can be an integral part of a breakup – but dealing with this in an adult and understanding manner is essential.