Friend Drama(tics) – Dating Gone Bad

You can’t poach a friend’s ex if you want to stay friends…

A few months ago a friend of mine started dating a guy I like. I was in the middle of what turned out to be a stalking situation and I was working through the self-doubt caused by a previous bad relationship, and wasn’t in a place to be open to dating at the time. She also didn’t know I liked him and I wasn’t about to lost a friend over a guy I may or may not have wanted to date, so I kept my thoughts to myself and was supportive and excited for her.

They and to large extent their families put a lot of pressure on them and on the relationship from the start, which I found unnecessary and bizarre. There was also a surprising (to me) lack of maturity and perspective on both their parts, and she broke up with him a few days ago. I was fairly surprised because I thought they were a good fit, but then again I thought from the start that they had set the relationship up to fail. Too many people involved, too serious too soon and too many bizarre expectations. Once again I kept my thoughts to myself, made it clear I am not choosing sides and was supportive and encouraging.

We are all in the same social circle, and things will be somewhat awkward for a while. Also now that she doesn’t have him to keep her busy I have returned to my position as her entertainment of choice, which I don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to be at the moment. I like her a lot, and she is a good friend, but this whole episode has left a bit of a sour taste for me, and since my view of this is neither wanted nor necessary, I don’t have a clear way to alter the situation to fit what I believe to be a healthier take on things. I just get to listen and be present and highlight the positives. And you can’t poach a friend’s ex if you want to stay friends, so I’ll keep those thoughts to myself as well.

I’d prefer this to be a “not my circus, not my monkeys” situation and just stay out of it. I think there’s a solid argument for that approach. After all, their business, not mine, right? But is that the right approach when friends are hurting, when relationships break and when a little perspective could help heal and move forward into something potentially better?

Can I fix people? Nope. Hell I can’t even fix myself. And good intentions don’t count for anything in my book. Do I think they should get back together? Probably not. Will then next month annoy me tremendously as I watch them sort out their post-breakup feelings? Absolutely. But the thing that matters is that they’re my friends, they’re hurting, and thoughtful acts of kindness and compassion mixed with a little bit of ass kicking could alter the course of how this breakup affects us individually and collectively. Not my circus, but they are my monkeys, and my monkeys need a hug.

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