The Casualties of Heartbreak: Dealing with Lost Friendships



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By Risa



One of the most difficult aspects of a serious relationship ending is the feeling of grief. Not only are you losing someone you considered a friend, you are also seeing the end of the other important relationships that supported you and your ex. These relationships may include your ex’s friends and family members, people you’ve developed close personal connections to.

While everybody deals with this change differently, you should take some time to yourself before deciding how to approach the situation. Think about your relationships with the people you met through your ex and what value they add to your life. Is it possible to continue these relationships? If not, how can you considerately break-off communication?

Talk to other friends who have also gone through the process. Their experiences may help shed light on how to handle your own circumstances. No matter what, remember that your feelings come first. Do not continue a relationship if it can possibly lead to confusion or pain. Many of the people surrounding your relationship with your ex have made your life happier and fuller, and you should embrace those positive feelings. However, try not to let your grief cloud your decision-making when it comes to accepting that these people may no longer be a part of your life.

Some of these relationships may be more cut and dry than others. It makes sense to stop talking to your ex’s mom or to forgo getting drinks with your ex’s best friend. But what about mutual friends, the ones you met and got to know together? Who gets “custody” of them?

Continuing mutual friendships should be a no-brainer, but it’s not always painless. It’s easy for casual hang outs to turn into ex-bashing or to involve your friends in the break-up drama. Try to set some ground rules for yourself or even take a break from seeing mutual friends. Be sensitive to their feelings and explain how you’re feeling. If they’re true friends they’ll be understanding and considerate of the circumstances. More importantly, they’ll be the kind of support you need to get you through this tough time. After all, that’s what friends are for, and you should never have to lose that kind of love and understanding because of a bad breakup.

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Risa

Risa is a writer and amateur trumpeter. She wrote a satirical play about the repercussions of functional illiteracy on farm life called "Hay Fever" in sixth grade, which, incidentally, is also the last time she picked up a trumpet. This past summer, she and her dog Ein took a cross country road trip from Los Angeles to Philadelphia; they both concluded she needs a bigger car and better music.