“I’m Hurt that My Friends Are Still Hanging Out With My Ex”

Six months ago I broke up with my boyfriend of four and a half years after it became clear to me he had emotionally checked out of our relationship months earlier and had no desire to try to improve things. It’s been a long road but I’ve been trying to put it behind me, avoiding drunk dials, deleting him from socials and basically trying to move on without him. The problem is, now he has gone out of his way to become friends with everyone I’ve ever introduced him to and I have to hear about him every two weeks. I’m not generally a jealous person but I don’t understand how/why he’s all of sudden hanging out with people he never contacted on his own during the four years we were together. I’ve counted at least 11 people (that I know of) who are now hanging out with him when they never did without me before.

I told my friends how I feel and they seem to sympathize but the situation isn’t getting better. I’m really ashamed to admit it, but this is driving me bonkers and I don’t know how to make it stop! Should I confront him? Cut out the friends who are clearly playing both sides and/or favoring him over me? Run away to a new city and a new life? Fight for my territory? Grit my teeth and try to ignore it until it doesn’t bother me anymore? (And if it’s the last option, please provide pointers on how to keep my crazy under control.) — Feeling Single White Femaled by her Ex

If you dated your ex for four and a half years, it’s safe to say that your friends, the ones who hung out with the two of you as a couple of a regular basis, probably developed a relationship with him. If they all liked each other, then there were likely some genuine friendships made over the course of those several years. Just because “your” friends didn’t hang out with him one-on-one when you were a couple doesn’t make their friendship with him any less genuine. If you were their friend first and foremost, and probably the social planner too, then it makes sense that you’d be the go-between. Even if your ex genuinely liked your friends, there wouldn’t have been reason to contact them on his own if you were the one making the plans for all of you to get together. But now you don’t fill that role anymore. And is he supposed to just drop all of these people he’s spent the last four and half years getting to know and built friendships with just because you broke up and they were your friends first?

Look, you’ve already told your friends how you feel about them remaining friendly with your ex, and through their actions they basically told you it’s not your place to tell them who they can or can’t be friends with. I happen to agree with them. Unless their friendship with your ex is directly compromising your friendship with them or making your life or breakup much more traumatic than it has to be, you should probably drop it.

If it helps, try temporarily deleting your social media accounts so you aren’t tempted to check up on the communications between your friends and your ex. Tell your friends you don’t want updates on him anymore. And if you really feel that there are people in your life who are “choosing” your ex over you, it might be time to re-evaluate those relationships and cut back on your investment in those people. The truest friends — the ones who know how much you’re hurting right now — not only won’t favor your ex, but they’ll be sensitive about your feelings and will be selective about their contact with your ex and sensitive about the information they share with you about him. Those who aren’t might need to be dropped.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. AnitaBath says:

    While I agree with Wendy’s advice, I don’t think the guy’s intentions are really all that innocent. It does sound a little excessive, and I kind of got the vibe he maybe has ulterior motives. I could see wanting to keep in contact with a few people he connected with through his girlfriend, but eleven is a pretty large number, and it sounded like he never showed much interest in them before. It’s hard to tell what kind of relationship he had with them before, and he could very well be trying to squeeze in between the friends and his ex.

    Wendy: typo in the first word of the second paragraph 🙂

    1. I agree with you. I think he’s being a litter vindictive & I think if they are truly her friends they should catch on to that…idk…

      1. Wow. Typo… little**

      2. Ha! I just made the exact opposite typo, trying to type litter and making it little. We should swap 🙂

      3. Hahaha that’s funny…we def should! 🙂

      4. I agree he has a “few” motives he has known her for more than 4 years and most likely know where to hit her where it hurts.

        I have experienced the same thing for more than 2 years and many of the friends have shown how much they actually stay in contact with my ex’s lol

        They are no longer friends !! but they don’t know it.

      5. He’s prolly trying to be closer to you by being close to your friends, or he has ulterior motives. When you break up with someone, their friends are for them. Not you. Friends are a support system and whoever had the friends first comes first. 7.5 Billion people on the planet. If I break up with someone and expect their friends to hangout with me, then I am asking too much of the friendship. Breakups are tough. So anyone experiencing one is gonna be on edge. During this time your friends need to make it easier for you to trust them. If they play games or hang with your ex when you supposedly matter more, we’ll then that’s a red flag.
        This happened to me. I didn’t feel loved in a relationship so I ended it. A week or two later my best friend calls me telling me that my ex invited him to hang with friends at a bowling alley. I told him I was bothered by it and he kept giving me excuses for why I was wrong. He left me high and dry. A real friend takes your feelings into consideration. Not just with words, but also in actions.

      6. I am in total agreement !

    2. I have to agree. I understand that friendships are made during lengthy relationships; however, following a break up it’s understandable that a majority of those relationships are going to be lost. For example, my best friend has been around longer than my husband has, so obviously we’re all friendly. I know my hubby and her occasionally text back and forth, just like I do with her hubby. If we were to divorce though, I would expect their friendship to, for the most part, end. They may be friendly, but she’s my best friend. I would feel the same way with his friends as well. I thought this was the way things went for most couples during break ups, but I must be wrong.

    3. What I’m wondering is why her friends give her frequent updates on him when they know she broke up with him. I can understand mentioning it so they don’t give off the impression they’re being covert–but it’s kind of instinctive to me to not frequently mention someone’s ex to them when they’re clearly getting over a breakup.

      1. Evil Charity says:

        I’ve been in a similar situation before and I had to practically BEG my friend, for the love of GOD to stop telling me about all of the crap my ex was up to. Some people just can’t not share information no matter how unwelcome it is.

      2. TheOtherMe says:

        Maracuya, that is so right. I made a point of never mentioning ( or bad-mouthing ) my ex to whichever friends that still had a contact with him. I also made it clear that I wanted absolutely no information about me passed onto him.

        Guess what happened ? I got an email invitation to one of “my” friend’s art exhibit and my ex’s email was also CC’d.( I had no clue they even had any contact, it was a girl I went to college with ) I unfortunately had to distance myself from her because I felt that she should have know better than to divulge my new email to my ex.

      3. You should tell your friend she can hide who all the recipients are by mailing it to herself and sticking them in the BCC line 😛 Did she do it unknowingly and was/is technology illiterate?

      4. TheOtherMe says:

        She was very tech-savy … I haven’t really kept in touch after that 🙁

      5. 🙁

      6. AnitaBath says:

        Granted this was high school, but when one of my ex’s and I broke up, he became really buddy buddy with some of my child hood friends. Like they were friendly before, but it was as if the break up made him try that much harder. I kind of saw it as him trying to be spiteful, and for some reason one of my friends felt the need to bring him up and mention him ALL THE TIME. I think maybe she did it because it’s kind of that “taboo” subject that people always seem to gravitate to, and she felt by mentioning it it wasn’t like she was trying to hide it or something.

      7. Some people can’t wait to tell you every time they see your ex, or if your ex says something about you, etc. On the one hand, it might be innocent- just a matter of them trying to tell you something g they think pertains to you. On the other hand, they might be getting their jollies getting a rise out of you. I think it’s important to assess that to know who your friends really are.

    4. IdaTarbell says:

      Agree as well. I know when my ex and I broke up, I made a point to be super sweet and friendly to nearly all of his friends/my aquaintances. I did it because 1) I wanted them to have a good opinion of me, and 2) it satisfied me to think that they still saw me as that awesome girl who would hang out with them. It was purely vindictive and I know it was wrong.

      I think the girl should ask her friends, if they won’t stop hanging with her ex, to at least refrain from mentioning him in the future.

      1. also typo last line. “share with your about him.”

      2. Belladonna says:

        Some situations it is perfectly ok to ask your friends to choose. I have a protection order against my ex due to domestic violence (he ended up in jail for stalking me … ). I had some friends who I questioned their loyalty to me and subsequently lost (one was a relative). If they wanted to be friends with someone who hurt me physically, then they were not a friend to me.

    5. I somewhat agree with Wendy. I’m in a similar situation where my ex went out of his way to be friends with people that he didn’t really talk to or of whom I was friends with before. It seems like some of these people have taken sides, even deleted me off their Facebook account. I had to distance myself from these people which sucks for me. I told my close friends what happened with some of these people that I knew before, so my close friends kinda understand the situation. My close friends are somewhat respectful and keep a little distance with the ex: they feel he has an ulterior motive. Never the less, it has narrowed my group of friends into an even smaller group. I feel like the ex really needs to get out and at least meet some new people without the common friendship.

  2. sarolabelle says:

    “And if you really feel that there are people in your life who are “choosing” you over your ex” I think Wendy means “your ex over you” But I’m sure LW gets the point.

    Good advice Wendy. And I just have to say, as someone who was the ex, I wasn’t about to let the friends I had go away along with the relationship. That’s not one relationship I’m losing, but 10 friends too. I made every effort to still be friends with those people and in some cases I still am after two years.

    1. Yes, that’s what I meant; thanks.

  3. ReginaRey says:

    Totally agree with Wendy’s second paragraph – I’ve gone through breakups before, and had friends remain friendly with my ex. But the TRUE friends, the ones who understood how much I was hurting, would never have shown him favor or “chosen him” over me. If that’s how you’re feeling, that they’re forsaking YOU for HIM, then maybe you need to be reevaluating your friendships, and considering how “true” some of them are.

    But honestly, this worries me the most: “Run away to a new city and a new life?” NO. No no no! Breakups happen. Much WORSE things happen besides break ups in our lives. Running away is not going to solve anything. What WILL solve your problem is to do what Wendy said – delete your Facebook account so you won’t be tempted to check it, reevaluate the friendships that you have, and move on with your life! Friends aren’t “territory.” I could understand you being possesive right after a hard breakup, but it’s been six months. It’s time for you to stop obsessing over who your ex is still hanging out with, and start expanding your social circle so you’ll feel a bit less “territorial.”

    Log off the computer, and start doing new things *in person*…do new activities that interest you, sign up for a few cool groups, try to go out with new people and make new friends. Not only will you perhaps find some friends who you’ll feel are “truer” to you (and thusly stop worrying about who is and isn’t hanging with your ex), but you’ll be much more likely to meet a new guy this way…and the best way to stop caring about an ex is to find someone who makes you forget they ever existed.

      1. I don’t know, moving to a new city worked GREAT for me. I broke up w/ my ex-fiance of 8 years after he essentially made out with some random girl in front of all his family member at Thanksgiving (this was a second time/last straw and there were other contributing factors). I tried to stay in the city for about 6 months until I realized all the awesome events I would go to I would have to see him there – we had a very close knit combined friend group. So, I moved to another city several states away where I used to live during college, and got an awesome new job! Never have to worry about running into him at the same places, or being reminded of places we used to frequent wherever I went… Only problem is I practically lost all of the friends I had when I was with him. Even some best girl-friends (supposedly) have chosen to keep his friendship (if you can call it that, he hated most of my girl friends but now is all buddy buddy with them and they seem okay with that) over being a decent friend to me. Friends aren’t property, but a good friend should respect your wishes and not cause you any more pain if they can help it. In any case, moving on is tough, I don’t see changing environments as “running away” at all, I viewed it as starting fresh! I have a great new boyfriend and am building new friendships with my friends here instead! 🙂

    1. I agree with 2nd paragraph as well. After 17 years together I left my ex. My married best friend chose sides. She chose his side and she was my friend before we were together. Her husband is extremely ill and encourages them to see each other. I left because he always treated her better than me. And her husband treats her horribly.. I suppose that my ex finally fell in love for the first time in his life. I am no longer friends with her. I see him once on a while and when I do all he does is talk about her. Makes me sick yo my stomach as I did everything for him and he goes out of his way to do the things I did for him for her.

  4. i definitely agree with most of what wendy said. but i do think that it’s possible that he’s a little bitter, and reaching out to your friends on purpose. didn’t he have his own group of friends before you were together? he doesn’t NEED to hang with yours, especially ALL of them.
    you said you broke up with him because he had emotionally checked out. maybe that’s not even true, maybe he was going through something that had absolutely nothing to do with you (work, life, etc) and you took offense to it and broke up with him hastily.
    regardless. you can’t change what he or your friends do. so there’s no point in thinking about it or trying to.
    you broke up with HIM, so move on.

  5. My suggestion…Start making new friends…Remain friendly with them & don’t drive them away but start actively pursuing other friendships… & also, let them know that you don’t want to hear about your ex at ALL. Make that very clear. If they start talking to you about him, stop them & remind them you don’t care to know.
    I usually agree with Wendy but I’m 50/50 on her advice. It’s true you can’t tell other people what to do, but if your friends really care about you & you were their friend first, their loyalty should lie with YOU!
    When me & my boyfriend broke up about a year & a half ago for a few months, my friends still saw him (they wouldn’t invite him, but they’d go to outings where he was) & they never told me. I asked them not to tell me about him & they respected it. On the other hand, HIS friends were calling me everyday to ask me if I wanted to hang out, where I was heading to that night, etc…BEHIND HIS BACK! After we got back together, & he found out, he was very upset, but is still friends with them (not sure why).
    All in all, I’ve never taken friends so seriously. I am there for my friends if they ever need me & love them to death, but I understand that a lot of times they are only there for a period of time. & that’s ok. Make new friends! Start a new life & put all this drama behind! You’re going to feel & be SOOOO much better!!

  6. elisabeth says:

    Food for thought – eventually, the hurt will subside and you might want to be friends with this guy again. You didn’t date him for four years because he was a loser, right? You have a social safety net waiting there for when you heal, be grateful for it! You may want it back.

    That said, I totally get the upset that comes with frequent updates about your ex. =/ Wendy’s advice is good, try telling your friends that you don’t mind if they hang out with Mr. Ex, but that you don’t need the daily reminders that you aren’t together anymore while you work on healing yourself. If they’re good friends, they should be able to understand and respect that.

  7. I think the most practical thing you can do is to just tell your friends that you don’t want to hear about your ex from them. It’s perfectly reasonable and if they’re true friends they shouldn’t have any problem honoring your request.

    1. Definitely agree. It isn’t appropriate to tell friends who they can and cannot see, but it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I am not in a place to hear about that right now.” It helps establish new emotional boundaries that she desperately needs after the breakup of such a long relationship. I think she is on the right track–deleting him from Facebook and the like. If she can make her peace with this, she’ll be okay.

    2. Agreed! Its perfectly reasonable to ask them to not talk about the ex. If they can’t stop mentioning him to you after you ask them not to, they aren’t really your friends.

  8. LW, I don’t think you can tell your friends to take sides between you and your ex. By this, they would be involved in your break-up, and that wouldn’t be fair to them. The breakup was only between you and him. How would you feel if your (11) friends would tell you – “I think you should get back with him”? ….. Exactly, none of their business.

    However, you are well within your right to ask your friends not to mention your ex in your presence, because the wound is still fresh. Anyone who doesn’t comply with this normal request shouldn’t be your friends anyway. (What is it exactly they talk about? That he got new shoes, or that he has a date every night? I don’t see how you would be much bothered about the first one…)

    Maybe (MAYBE) he’s trying to keep tabs on you. You know, sometimes the breakup is not so bad if you know that the person who dumped you is miserable as well. If this is what he’s doing, tell your friends you’ve met this awesome guy, who does all the things your ex never did. Be very specific with the details. He’ll get some of the details, eventually, and soon after you’ll see whether he still wants to hang out with your friends.

    In the end, I’ll give you some advice I saw on Wendy’s website, but I don’t remember which story – you’ve wasted 5 years on this guy. Don’t waste another minute! It’s sooo not worth it.

    And something else from Elle’s spring of wisdom (sarcasm here – the spring is mostly dry) – you are the only one responsible for your happiness. What are you doing about that? Today? (I finally got it after I wallowed for a year after my divorce – hope it can save you a few months of wallowing 🙂 )

    1. Skyblossom says:

      So glad you mentioned that you are the only one responsible for your happiness. So true and sometimes so difficult to learn.

  9. brendapie says:

    I’ve been in this situation and there wasn’t anything I could but express my discomfort over hearing about my ex and leave it at that. Those friends formed closer bonds with my ex and despite my efforts to maintain our friendships, we have become mere acquaintances. I was angry at first – I felt like they chose my ex over me and that he stole my friends. My old bitter self felt that since I brought everyone together they should leave with me when the relationship ended but things don’t work that way.

    Ultimately I just had to move on and yes it stings when I see updates or photos on Facebook that include him. Knowing he’s invited to my old best friend’s wedding but not me, that stings too. I’ve done what I can to eliminate them from my life without cutting off all contact so yes, once in awhile I do hear about him. But with time and some maturity on my part, I’ve realized that all those things don’t matter so much and I have wonderful memories created with those friends so I’ll take what I’ve learned from those relationships and move forward.

    I do think focusing on new activities and forming new friendships is important. I’ve have since made some wonderful friendships that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I know it hurts but there isn’t anything more you can do.

    I do think that six months after a breakup, for him to ‘suddenly’ hang out with your friends is a bit fishy but is it possible they were hanging out with him before and you were not made aware?

    1. Snarkastic says:

      You sound healthy, but I don’t see why it’s a bad thing to be upset that your friends dumped you for some dude you used to date. That blows, to put it very mildly and I don’t think it is WRONG to be pissed as hell.

      Also, I feel like this could be a plot to a Ben Stiller movie (with him playing you).

  10. I agree with Wendy but I will say this… If you decide to grit your teeth and try to ignore it, you have every right to tell your friends that they need to keep the stories and details about your ex to themselves. You’re trying to move on, so they should respect that and not talk about him when they’re around you.

    They should also be willing to keep their mouths shut about you when they hang out with your ex. After all, if they’re good friends, they’ll want you to feel comfortable confiding in/talking to them.

  11. Skyblossom says:

    You can’t pick the friends of your friends.

    If he was a genuinly nice guy, and I doubt you’d date him for over four years if he wasn’t, then your friends would naturally become his friends during that length of time and they probably enjoyed the time they spent together. Your friends now find themselves in the uncomfortable position of trying to juggle both friendships, trying to support both of you while hurting neither of you. That’s what real friends would do.

    Enjoy the time you spend with your friends and don’t worry about who they are with when they aren’t with you. I think it says alot about the quality of your friends that they don’t dump friends easily. Know that if they won’t dump him just because you demand it they won’t dump you just because someone else demands it.

    The one thing you can control in this situation is the type of friend you are. Be a great friend and know that you will be surrounded by great friends.

  12. Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com says:

    Wendy is right and the 2nd paragraph is the part LW needs to study. I’m really sympathetic here. It’s hard enough to summon up the self-discipline it takes to MOA. Million times harder when the ex won’t go away.

    On top of all the great advice already given, if you have the money, a vacation (the longer and further away –the better) could do you WONDERS. It will give you miles and miles of perspective on your life and what you want next. Surely it’s not the ex 🙂

  13. Just a little extra thought here. Eleven people. 11. Okay I understand LW is hurt and trying to move on. But you care that much about all 11 of them? I easily have been in long term relationships where there is ample merging of life and activities that 11 people that were ‘mine’ to start became ours and might become his. My close friends who I couldn’t do without would not end up on that list.

    How close are you with those 11 people? Be honest. It seems like a large number to be this dependent on those friendships. At this point I think you need to examine how close you are and how much contact you want to have. Not cut them out, just use selection and discretion about who you see, hang out with, spend emotional energy on.

    And last thing – never hurts to take up something new and make a few more friends who never even knew Mr. Ex existed.

    1. sarolabelle says:

      people have more “friends” nowadays with facebook.

      1. sarolabelle, I wonder why you got that purple thumb. I wish people would say why they disagree. (If someone purple-fingers this post without saying why, you’ll be ruining my evening)

      2. I agree Sarolabelle and that is my point. “Friends” can feel more important especially thanks to social media or proximity (i.e. people you work with, have classes with) If I felt encroached upon I would need to be very honest about how close I really needed to be with those 11 people. It is pretty easy to be too busy/whatever to hang out for a while – hide posts rather than unfriending – not going to that game or that bar. Gives LW time to heal, doesn’t burn bridges or make her seem petty…

    2. SpaceySteph says:

      Hah, its so true. I have had acquaintances break up and I still remained friendly with both of them.
      However, my best friend since kindergarten and her ex and I were like the three musketeers for a good portion of college. He lived with us one summer, the three of us went on trips together, hung out together… I never really felt like the third wheel, and I never had a boyfriend to bring along. But the moment they split up I was instantly on her side. I didn’t try to contact him. When he tried to contact me, I told him that I liked him as a person but right now I felt it would be inappropriate for us to spend any time together, talk alot, etc. because she was my best friend first and foremost and I had to be there for her.

      Plenty of friends or “friends” will try to stay friends with both, or take his side over yours, but your BEST friends should always be there for you, of their own choosing (not because you asked them to). And if they aren’t, then sadly you do need to evaluate those friendships.

      1. SpacySteph, you sound like a really darn good friend.

  14. I have a friend who went through a painful divorce and one of her best friends wound up dating her ex and marrying him. Sometimes people aren’t who you thought they were.

    You’ve got to do what feels right for you and if that means re-evaluating your friendships, then so be it.

  15. I agree that LW is in a good place to ask her friends to decline from mentioning him. However, trying to tell them who they can and cannot see, and indicating a territorial dispute over “your” friends seems really childish.

    Your friends should support you the best they can. But that doesn’t mean they need to stop being friends with him. Even if the Ex is being vindictive, its still the choice of the friends to keep in contact with him.

    If they don’t respect your wishes for them to cut back on the discussion, then they probably aren’t very good friends in the first place.

  16. For the first time, I disagree with Wendy.

    I think it’s reasonable to expect that when your relationship ends, that your friends would also end their relationships with that person, unless you give them the green light.

    I don’t mean that the LW’s friends should be mean and/or rude to him, but should at least politely decline invites to hang out with him.

    If the LW’s friends were her friends first, and the only reason he knows them is through being in a relationship with her, then they remain her friends, and that’s where their alliances should be.

    If I were the LW, this would drive me insane.

    1. I would agree with you if the relationship ended badly but it seemed like it just ran its course, which is still sad. I think her close friends will be there for her and her secondary friends and acquaintances shouldn’t have to ask her permission to hang out with him.

      1. She stated he “emotionally checked out & didn’t want to fix things for a while”…That doesn’t sound amicable…That sounds like he wasn’t treating her like she should have the last few months of their relationship…

      2. I guess my definition of ‘bad’ is very narrow. Abuse, cheating, intense asshattery, cat-stealing. I don’t think most breakups end with everyone happy. It wasn’t a mutual decision, but lots of relationships end when someone emotionally checking out and then breakup is drawn out. He evidently wasn’t willing to work on their relationship, but didn’t want it to end either or didn’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ so she had to stand up for herself and what she needed. It’s sad but all too common.

      3. I know what you mean. I guess emotionally checking out can go a million different ways. I usually feel all those bad things you mentioned fall under that category, but who knows… I still don’t think her friends are being too great to her. Its ok to hang out with the guy occassionally, but not every weekend rather than her…I just think they’re being really sucky friends, granted they were her friends before she started dating him.

    2. sarolabelle says:

      That’s easy to do and say if the relationship isn’t long. But 4.5 years – who knows or even remembers who was friends with who first?

      1. When I broke up with my ex of 5 years, I knew exactly who his friends were, and who mine were. I guess since mine I have had for over 10-15 years.

        And when I say “friends” I mean close friends, not casual acquaintences.

    3. caitie_didn't says:

      I kind of disagree with Wendy on this one too. I absolutely agree that you can’t dictate who your friends hang out with, but I think you are well within your rights to say “I don’t want to hear about ex right now”, and you have a right to be a little teed off by your friends being all buddy-buddy with him.

      I’m sort of in this situation now- my ex keeps appearing on my friends facebook walls (we are not friends on facebook which is nice because I can’t stalk him). More concerning though is the fact that he now regularly hangs out with my former roommate!! They are from the same hometown but I introduced them (once) when we were still together. It’s not like they hung out or were friends prior to or after the introduction, and my she knows how badly he treated me at the end of the relationship. So I’m a little bit hurt by her willingness to hang out with him, but I’m more pissed at him for trying to keep himself in my life when I’ve done such a good job at moving on.

      1. Block him on FB – then you won’t have to see updates from him at all, and he won’t be able to see any updates about you. I eventually had to do this with one ex due to a similar situation – he was trying to keep tabs on me through my friends, who in a lot of cases just weren’t tough enough to tell him to f off or to defriend him.

  17. Skyblossom says:


    I’d love to have the option of clicking a thumbs up under your advice. You’re usually right on target and I agree with what you’re saying but don’t want to say ditto over and over again.

    1. sarolabelle says:

      you can click the “like” on Facebook.

  18. Anastasiachs says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments, the ex still being friends with that many people he didn’t really seem interested in before the relationship is a little strange. My exboyfriend and I were together for almost 4 years. He knew my best friend before we were even dating, and they ended up hanging out together, because of me quite a bit during our four year relationship. But, if they were still hanging out, I’d think that was a little strange, considering he never went out of his way to do so during the relationship.
    That being said, this phrase “he has gone out of his way to become friends with everyone I’ve ever introduced him to” leads me to believe the same thing as everyone else, the guy has something up his sleeve. The other thing that bothers me is that the LW made a point to say “I have to hear about him every two weeks”. Obviously, this is hard on LW, and her friends definitely know this, but they still bring it up, which makes me think they don’t really care about her feelings, so it’s hurting her two-fold.

    1. caitie_didn't says:

      Like I said, I really don’t think the ex’s behaviour is entirely altruistic in this circumstance. If he was good friends with these people it would be different, but if he’s only now going out of his way to hang out with him, I think it’s because he wants to make sure he’s still there on the outskirts of the LW’s life.

      Plus the fact that her friends keep mentioning him- either they’re totally oblivious, or not very good friends.

      1. caitie_didn't says:


        *Like I said in my previous comment.

  19. I was in a very similar situation. I dated someone for 4 years, and he ended up moving to my hometown. We were engaged, had the whole wedding planned, etc. During the last year when he had moved to my home (from another state) he became friends with my friends and cousins. Things did not work out, the wedding was called off and we eventually broke up. This was about a year and a half ago. I returned to my PhD program in another state, and he also moved away. The annoying thing: My cousins have remained buddies with him, one of whom drove over 2000 miles to visit him this summer. I was on the way, but did not merit a visit. She mentioned to me on the phone she was going on vacation, but failed to mention it was to his new place. I found out on Facebook (naturally!).

    This situation irritated me beyond belief, but I have tried to let it go. I cannot control their behavior. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt my feelings. It does. And at first I thought I was being a baby, but ALL of my friends at home (who liked him, too) thought I was nuts for not saying something to her and him, as well.

    In short, I know how the LW feels.

  20. I see Wendy’s point. While a shorter relationship might make it completely ridiculous to friends to keep hanging out with the ex, a four and a half year one changes things.

    However, if, as the LW says, he is going out of his way to hang out with people he never used to, it’s a little weird and looks like a ploy of some sort. I’m friendly with my friends’ boyfriends and fiances, but if they broke up, I’d see it as too bad that the friendship with the ex was ending but then move on. It sucks that her friends are ignoring her even after she tells them it’s bothering her.

  21. justpeachy says:

    My story is a little different. My ex was a controlling jerk and through our relationship, I lost most of my friends because it’s hard to have friends and a controlling boyfriend at the same time. So I bonded with his friends and wen I relationship started to fall apart, they saw how crappy he was treating me and were very supportive. After I broke up with him, I told him that I would only remain friends with his friends if he was ok with it. He said he was, but I think he thought they wouldn’t want to be friends with me anymore and he would have nothing to worry about. Weeks later, he screamed at me in parking lot about how I couldn’t be friends with them anymore.

    Three years later, after ending that five year relationship, I am still friends with some of these guys. And he is too. I guess my point is this: six months is nothing after a four and half year relationship. This guy is still a wreck after being dumped by you. He’s being clingy to anything he can to either try to have contact with you or to annoy you. If you value your friendships with your friends and don’t want him around, you’ll probably have to be A LOT more proactive if you want to attempt to cut him out. Throw parties, have lunches, go to movies, but prove to your friends that you value their relationships, spend time with them when you know he won’t be around, and just wait it out. Either he’ll pull back as he heels or he’ll be around for a while and you’ll just have to learn how to see him socially. It sucks but you can’t force your friends to choose.

  22. I can see why the LW is frustrated, but 4 1/2 years is a really long time. If i was hanging out with someone for 4 1/2 years, I would become pretty good friends with them I think. Sticky situation :/ Is it mostly your guy friends? Or your girlfriends too? Or does everyone just hangout together in group situations?

    I would be annoyed if he was going to lunch/going out with your female friends, and I think it’d be appropriate to flat out ask them to stop hanging out with him/talking to him. But I agree with wendy that if they aren’t respecting that after you’ve mentioned it bothers you, then they aren’t good friends. Or at least they’ve become better friends with him, and if they had to choose… well, they’d choose him.

    If it’s your guy friends or the group situation, I think you’re SOL!

  23. evanscr05 says:

    The thing that stuck out at me is that he never showed much of an interest in these people during the relationship, so yeah, it’s definitely odd that he’s spending time with so many of them now. The only advice I have is just to tell your friends that, while you would prefer them not to have any contact with your ex, you can’t tell them who they can and can’t be friends with, and you’d appreciate it if they’d at least respect your wishes not to hear about him. If they are truly your friends, that will not be an issue. If they continue to talk about him, start distancing yourself from those people. It’s hard enough to get over someone, but to have to hear about them all the time would make it nearly impossible.

  24. I dated someone for two years, and when we broke up, all our friends that I met through him (after we’d move to a new city, no less, that he’d lived in prior to us moving there) dropped me.
    For the sake of your ex (and because it’s really none of your business who your friends hang with anyways, I’d just let it go, it sucks being that person who has no friends anymore.

  25. bitter gay mark says:

    Gee, wow. Some people sure just LOVE to play the victim card, don’t they? ” Wahhhhhhh! I dumped this guy and some of my friends who got to know him over the four and half years we were dating now have the audacity to still see him socially! Wah! How dare they?! Don’t they know that the entire world revolves around me! How can I bear to hear a word about him every two weeks! That’s twice a month! How the the world be so cruel and so heartless…” Big boo fucking hoo hoo. Grow up already. Seriously. When did you start dating this guy? At the age eleven, perhaps? Because, frankly, you sound like don’t even possess the emotional maturity of your average sixteen year old.

  26. Chantelle says:

    When I ended my 5.5 yrs relationship I knew the friends situation would be sticky. I had gotten close with people I met through him and vice versa.

    I spoke with our mutual friends and let them know that we were no longer dating. I said I had no intention of making them decide who they should continue the friendship with. The only thing I asked was to give me a heads up if they decide to invite him along to something I’d be attending as well. I thought it was fair that I know so I could decide if I felt comfortable seeing him.

    I even encouraged my ex to continue talking to and hanging out with my co-worker and one of my closest friends. I was the social one in our relationship, and I didn’t want him to feel like he lost more than just me when we were over.

    Things weren’t perfect though, he got in contact with some people that I don’t consider friends and they actually started to say some hurtful things about me that I got wind of through an unlikely source. I’ll admit I was hurt and questioned his intentions, I said he had every right to speak with them and vent but to try and respect my privacy as I didn’t like hearing untrue things about me traveling through the grapevine.

    Over a year later and I’m still extremely close with most of our mutual friends. I actually became closer with one because I was more free to attend more of the invitations she extended.

    See things from your ex’s perspective and be the bigger person. Let the pieces fall where they may without trying to control everything. You don’t control your friends or your ex.

  27. cheatedon says:

    I’m in this exact same situation, but the thing is; my ex and I broke up after I found out that he had been serially cheating on me over the last few months of our relationship. My friends KNOW this, and yet some of them continue to hang out with my ex. I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone who they should be friends with, but surely some lines have to be drawn and some sides have to be taken by these so called friends that I have?

  28. I half agree. Like somebody else said you don’t have 11 best friends, no-one does. If your acquaintances and him become friends you just have to deal with that even though it’s a little weird.

    Where I disagree is it’s not out of line to ask your closest friends to not bring him back into your life. I had this happen to me a while back where one of my good friends would not stop inviting my ex-girlfriend out with our group wherever we went. I flat stopped hanging out with him over it. If he can’t respect that I don’t want to see my ex immediately after a breakup then he’s not that good a friend, especially if your ex and friend weren’t very good friends with each other when you were together. It’s your friend doing something they know is going to greatly upset you for very little gain, somebody who’s your good friend wouldn’t do that.

  29. I went through a similar situation last year. My ex was cheating and we broke up. I don’t bad-mouth him to anyone because I want to just move on. I’ve been able to process my feelings and recognize that I felt betrayed…not angry. I was hurt and I am healing. He has tried to engage me as a confidant and establish a “friendship” but due to the circumstances of the breakup I am better with keeping my distance from him. I’m not angry at him but I appreciate loyalty and commitment even more now. I recognize that he can not provide that for me. I feel like he wants absolution by trying to be close to me…and my friends. I do look at the loyalty issue and feel like my friends would “side” with me if they knew all of the details.
    During our 4+ year relationship he had little interest in my friends and had even made statements about my friends being “my friends.” As I look back at it, I can see he had control issues. He really didn’t like me having connections that he was not a part of. For that reason, I included him to make him feel more secure. He had mentioned before that he was bothered by an ex that went out of his way to hang out with one of his long time friends after they broke up. He was territorial with “his” friends, and I have not gone out of my way to engage them.
    He has gone out of his way (and comfort zone) to engage and befriend all of the people that I had introduced him to, hosting elaborate parties and inviting them to special events. I have been able to build new relationships and establish a great support system that does not include him. I’m still connected with our “mutual friends” but I’ve actually developed more healthy connections.

  30. I am the friend that hanged out with the ex recently but thing is that both ex’s have found their partner in life to marry. Am I in the wrong for hanging out with the ex? My fiancée ex best friend cannot accept the fact we are hanging out with his ex. Current girlfriend of the ex best friend thinks I betrayed her but she never talked to me but shut me and my fiancée out of our their lives .

  31. I completely disagree. When you’ve know friends for 20 plus years and they choose to hang with an “EX” its a definite no no and wrong. Your friends should be supporting you through tough times and not an ex who they just met while with you and under ficticious friendships by socializing on social media. You need to cut off ALL parties who talk to your ex as this will haunt you for the rest of your life. Do you want an ex knowing ALL your personal business? Who your dating, where you are going, etc? Your true friends are supposed to be loyal to you. Not your ex. Cut them all off and start fresh because if the tables were reversed, they would not like it if you called on their friends.

  32. I had a somewhat similar experience where me and my best friend lost our other best friend of over 12 years..very sad but also very ridiculous. I won’t give many details but there was an awful lot of secrets, lies and gossiping.
    My advice is if a friend cannot give you the respect and understanding during a very uncomfortable and sensitive time then consider surrounding yourself with others you can trust..

  33. Let’s look at this from the other side. Often we take on the ex’s friends during the relationship because we are accommodating our partner. We hang with them, because our partner is comfortable there, or its just a fun group of people. Then we grow to love them too. Or maybe your partner has a friend group that gets together regularly and you don’t, due to work, kids, or losing other friends through a different break up. After several years of seeing people 2-3x per week those people aren’t just HIS friends anymore- they are now YOUR friends too. In my case, my partner was hot and cold and broke up with me several times over the course of a decade. We were very much embedded in “his” social scene. Each time he left I lost him, AND all of those friends. I once bumped into our closest friend on transit (during the relationship the three of us were always together- we would even travel together)- I went home and cried. The last time my ex took me back, my first order of business was to tell that friend that if my partner breaks up with me again, I refuse to fall out of contact. I will not let someone repeatedly blow up the life and friendships I have built because they have not resolved their own childhood traumas. I put up with enough abuse in the relationship, bent over backwards trying to show him love, tried constantly to reassure him as he fought his inner demons. Last time he managed to stay with me for 5 years. During the pandemic we saw that one friend all the time (he was in our “bubble”). Well surprise!!!: my partner broke up with me again a month ago. I reached out to our friend and told him that his friendship is important to me (and to my family) and I would like to still have him in my life/family. I was clear I would never come between their friendship or lean on him about my breakup (I have girlfriends for that). He wants to stay friends too. The two of us have gotten together almost weekly since. We go watch a game, play pool, go see a show.. In fact, now we have no rules- we can have a friendship on our own terms, because while in the relationship, I really couldn’t do much with him without the ex. I’m so tired of men blowing up my life because they can’t properly commit to a relationship. How many times do you have to start over? This was his choice. If he doesn’t like me hanging with “his” friend, HE can start over. He is the one who was so unhappy with the life we had built together. Please don’t let people control you, especially after they refuse to be with you. LIVE YOUR LIFE. At least I got something good and lasting out of that difficult relationship.

  34. In addition, the reason your friends are hanging out with him without you, is because YOU DUMPED HIM. You aren’t invited when he is invited. That is for you, for him, and everybody else. That is everyone respecting boundaries. You can say he checked out of the relationship long before you broke up, but that is YOUR perspective. Maybe you had some part in the demise of the relationship. Maybe he thought he was working on the relationship. Maybe he doesn’t agree with your take on any of it. You did break up with him. The fact that your friends still see him is proof that he presents some value to them. They like him. They have consistently shown that they want to spend time with them. Maybe this is actually not about you. Just because you didn’t value him, doesn’t mean your friends don’t.

  35. Christina says:

    He’s definitely doing this with vindictive and malicious intent to emotionally terrorize you.

    You need to demand your friends step up. You need to call out his creepy behavior for exactly what it is. You need to ask your friends not to interact with him, and ask them to block him.

    Anyone who refuses to do this, isn’t your friend.

    Literally say it to your friends. He’s been cyber stalking me, trying to get access to me, and because I shut it down, he’s now going to everyone I know and every person I ever introduced him to, and trying to infiltrate there to get access by proxy. Please delete and block all contact with him. Ty.

    People who actually care about you should rush to your aid with support and if they don’t, block and delete them.

  36. It’s time to set some boundaries. They can be friends with him if they wish, but be careful of those who keep bringing him up. Maybe tell them,
    “It’s hard to get past this when I keep hearing about everything you all are doing together. Can we not discuss him for a while? I would also like if it you and I could make plans! I miss doing X and Y with you.” And repeat.

    Reach out to friends one on one and tell them you need some time not discussing him, then change the subject to things YOU want to do with them. Ultimately you win the long game by taking the higher road, and refocusing your friendships in a positive way. They can decide to hang out with Ex or not, but they also shouldn’t be telling you all about it. People who can’t do this or who drop you aren’t really your friends. Hopefully you have a bff or therapist who is 100% on your side who you can vent too, but for those in the middle just focus on what you do enjoy about them and ignore your Ex. Also, take a class, go yo the gym, all the breakup classics. Eventually you’ll find that he’s just a footnote and you’ll be too busy with your own awesome stuff to care about him.

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