Friendships aren’t supposed to be complicated, which adds to the appeal of having friends in the first place. Being able to confide in somebody who is close to you while knowing they’ll be supportive regardless of the situation is truly a blessing.
But what happens when complications do creep in? For example, how do you react when your friend starts to date your ex? What do you tell your friend if she asks permission first? Or even worse, what if they start dating before you’ve even broken up?
Look at the Bigger Picture
Unfortunately there isn’t a single answer that is going to work for everyone, especially when it comes to emotional situations. But you can start by looking at the bigger picture and ask yourself what’s more important – you’re friend’s happiness or a relationship that didn’t work out in the first place? Even though you’re not involved with your ex anymore there might still be an emotional connection between you and this is where you need to distance yourself. By looking at the bigger picture you’re also remembering the reasons why you and your ex didn’t stay together. Yes, it’s easier said than done, because nobody has complete control over their emotions, but only you can determine whether your friend deserves a shot at love while keeping your friendship alive.
How to Handle the Situation
Assuming you’ve given your friend the green light, but you’re struggling to come to terms with the situation, then it’s time to work on your emotions and talk to your friend. It’s very rare that breakups end with clarity on both sides so it’s only natural to harbor some feelings. However, these aren’t necessarily feelings of love. Do your best to recognize those left-over feelings and see them for what they are. Maybe you feel disappointed, hurt, or even a little vindictive. In fact, the last thing you might want is to see your ex smiling again. These are emotions that can be overcome and you shouldn’t punish your friend for them.
After you’ve established what type of feelings you have, talk to your friend. Take the honest and open approach by sharing your possible discomfort if you see them together, but also let your friend know it’s an issue you will continue to work on. Apart from letting your friend know where you’re coming from, he or she will probably avoid doing romantic things when they are around you. A good friend is going to consider your feelings and they’ll understand if you can’t give your full support right away.
You can also try to distance yourself for a little while as you make peace with their relationship. By giving them some space you are allowing yourself time to bury the past and focus on the fact that you weren’t happy with your ex in the end. Always come back to the reasons why you broke up and forget about what could’ve been.
How to Handle Cheating
In the worst case scenario, where your friend starts dating your ex before you’ve even broken up, things are going to get a lot more complicated. The first thing you want to do is get as mad as hell and let those emotions come out. Don’t bottle them up and act like everything is okay, because it isn’t. Then take some time to reflect on what you want. More specifically, question whether the friendship is worth saving. Even though this doesn’t sound like a situation where you can save your friendship, anything is possible. But once again, only you can judge whether your friend deserves forgiveness. At the end of the day your friend is human and they are going to make mistakes. Getting another boyfriend won’t be nearly as hard as finding another good friend.
Some Final Thoughts
Despite the abundance of relationship advice you’ll find by simply searching for it online, you are the one that knows your friend the best. Your situation is unique based on the history you have and what you’ve been through together. Practice some empathy and try to see it from your friend’s perspective as well as your own. So, the best advice is to simply talk it out and see where it goes.