One of the biggest tell-tail signs that you’re in a bad relationship is when you start losing your friends, and particularly friends you value. Generally by the time this starts happening, you’ve been with the person for long enough that you have developed serious feelings for them, and sometimes these friends come second to your heart.
I have been in this situation. I’ve watched many close friendships fade over the years because of my stubborn choice in partner. And only for a month or two after the friendship ending for the relationship to break up … and it feels, like agony! It feels like losing two really big parts of yourself only to gain nothing. It’s even happened to my close girlfriends who are people I aspire to be like, who sit across from me in cafes and tell me they have lived through the pain of losing friends for a relationship that hasn’t worked out anyway.
But what if your partner isn’t bad for you at all? What if the things you were telling your friends was just to clear your mind from it, get their opinions in that moment and to help you strengthen your relationship with more ideas?
Everyone has their own methods and solutions for resolving this predicament.
“If they’re good friends, they would stand by no matter what.” “If you valued the friendship, you’d prioritise your friendships.” You kind of hear it all, people are very opinionated about where they stand … but it’s never fifty/fifty. It seems difficult in these situations that you can have it all. But you can!
So the question isn’t, ‘How do you juggle your friendships with a toxic relationship’ because the relationship may not be toxic – you may just be venting to your friends some pain stemming from the relationship, but for the most part it is good. It’s difficult from a friend’s point of view not to judge, particularly when they care for you. Let’s face it, that’s what good friends do!
So how do you keep your friends?
1. Talk about your relationship with balance
If you truly care for your partner, talk about them to your friends with love. Tell stories in the most factual but balanced way you can. Try to see both sides. Where something happens that you really can’t process, understand your friends may also struggle to process it and either speak about it with your partner or seek outside support.
2. Praise your relationship
If you’re ever going to practise gratitude in your life, my greatest suggestion (unless you’re in an abusive relationship, in which case, seek help and please don’t take on this advice) is to practise gratitude in your relationship. Often people pick apart the person they love and everything they do for them: it’s not Hollywood, just be happy! Same with your friendships. I try to make everyone of significance to me know how important they are to me as often as I can. You never know when something may happen to you and you may not be able to tell them how they’ve positively impacted you anymore.
3. Catch up with your friends
It’s easy to get caught up with your close friend, working a lot and your partner who you want to spend every moment with, but it’s important to remember the little guys! You know who I’m talking about, these are the friends who have been there unconditionally for you and supported you and are available to catch up and come to your birthday parties … but they’re not your BEST friend. You need to make time for these people and still demonstrate their importance in your life or you will lose them.
4. Act with love
Keep your head on your shoulders and always act with love: towards your friends and partner. Where a problem arises, act with compassion – always try to see things from the other person’s perspective and try to demonstrate understanding. You will still do what you do, but it’s ok to communicate that you hear people. If you value your friends AND your love, you need to act with the same love and compassion toward both.
5. NEVER choose
Even if a friend throws down their sword and demands you make a choice, I still think you’re safer remaining on the fence. If you make a choice, they’ll forever remember it. Whereas, it’s often these friends that demand a decision who turn around and apologise … if they never do, then let them go. It’s easier to accept someone back in your life and have them WANT to come back at times when you haven’t antagonized the situation.
6. Continue to focus on the positive
Remember, people like positive people, and they like people who focus on the positives. So no matter what’s going on between your partner and your friends, try to rise above it and continue to be positive and to choose to see things positively! When sharing something bad that’s come up in the relationship, or something that has hurt you, express that this doesn’t occur all the time and that you just want their opinion to help you decide your next steps. Make the distinction very clearly that you’re not looking for a solution, you’re looking for an opinion which will help you find the solution.
My partner and I are in the process of breaking up. Even though I know he’s not the one for me (I think I always knew that), I have never felt so sad in my entire life. It’s not that we’ve been together very long either. We don’t have kids and we’re not married – but I still can’t let go! When I’m finally ready to let go, he’ll do something that changes the way I feel, or if he breaks away, then I’m the one that will do anything to keep us together. At first I convinced myself that this was because we have this “special bond” – but it’s not! I’m ashamed to admit it but I think one of my biggest issues is dealing with the silence once he goes. The thing is he calls me at least 20 times a day – just to check in. When we first met, I wasn’t working and he would call about five times a day – which I found annoying, distracting and overbearing. Months down the track he now calls up to 20 times a day, just checking and I’ve adjusted. To be honest, I can’t go a day without it. I know this isn’t normal and I know other men won’t do this for me which is another reason I don’t want to let him go.
Thank you for contacting me for advice.
You are not alone in trying to overcome this terrifying feeling of abandonment that appears when a serious relationship is breaking up. It is scary when we know our routine won’t be the same because the person we love is breaking away from us. This is also a very important thing to accept: in breaking up with a partner, things are going to change … that’s a good thing!
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Please help. I recently met this guy on an internet dating site – and when we were just talking I didn’t think much of him but I started to like him very quickly after we met.
The other night I went to his place for a movie night with my girlfriend, while he went out. He came home early and met her. I was aware that they are both really alike and they both have a lot in common, but they hit it off a little too well. At first I thought maybe I should step back and just be happy for them, try to be selfless … but I really wanted to be in this relationship.
I felt as though they were almost flirting in front of me – then he would be one place and she would call and she was in the same place, or he’d talk about his dreams for the future, and hers were the same. It was really weird! Then they became friends on Facebook and now (after going through all her pictures), he’s talking about having a threesome… it’s really out of control – and far against what I’m looking for in a relationship but I want to give it a chance this time!
I’m so tired of being with the wrong person and having bad break ups – I just want this to be different. How can I make it so that meeting never happened?
Happy New Year and thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry to hear your experience, but it’s probably the perfect time of year to detox. First, I want to thank you for volunteering to by my first Q&A Detox Tuesday client. For those reading this, Q&A Detox Tuesday is where clients are invited to write in with a short question and I will answer it for you.
Unfortunately, Dianna, it’s not uncommon for men (and even some women) to have sexual fantasies involving more than one partner – and that can be particularly painful when it’s against your values. On top of that, you mentioned that you really like this man, which makes it even more painful for you to stand back and see him considering other women, particularly this early on in the relationship where you’re trying to build trust. Your feelings of concern and distress are perfectly valid for what you are experiencing.