wikiHow to End a Relationship Without Losing Mutual Friends

You and your ex have made a lot of friends together since you started out as a couple. Now, sadly, you're breaking up. How do you disengage from your ex without saying goodbye to all those friends, too?


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    Avoid talking about the breakup. There are two sides to every story. Save your side for telling to your family and those friends you knew prior to starting the relationship.
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    Don't ever trash talk your ex. Just because you're not talking about the breakup doesn't mean you can gossip about your ex behind his/her back, your talk being unrelated to the end of the relationship. When you trash your ex to people who are his or her friends as much as yours, you're putting those friends between a rock and a hard place. They want to be loyal to both of you.
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    Be careful of what you reveal. Since these are mutual friends, remember that anything you say to them may get repeated to your ex. This can really botch up any headway you've made in terms of establishing a less contentious relationship with the ex.
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    Stay in touch. It's hard sometimes, because those friends are so powerfully connected to the old relationship in your mind and heart. If you want to keep these friends, realize they may not know how to approach you, so give them a call or send an email to them to let them know you want to continue your friendship. As mentioned, be careful that you don't reveal things you wouldn't want your ex to be privy to, but do tell them enough about how you're doing that they feel like they're still a part of your life.
    • You can say things like, "I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. Yes, it's tough starting over, but hopefully the worst is behind me now, and I'm ready to move on."
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    If you are already seeing someone new, keep the new lover away from the mutual friends. There may be resentment or a pre-disposition not to like the new love, simply because s/he isn't your old love. This is because your friends might feel like they're betraying their friend (your ex) by liking the person who took his or her place. For awhile, keep your new love interest to yourself. Wait until the dust settles and you all feel like you're on more solid ground before bringing someone new to gatherings.
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    Speaking of gatherings, don't assume you are the only one being invited. Some of your friends will not want to deal with the "who do I invite?" feeling that forces them to choose between the two of you. They will simply invite you both and let you settle how you handle it, thinking that as you're both adults, you will be okay. In a large group, this may be all right. At a small dinner party? Awk-warrrrrd. Avoid the situation when invited to a small gathering by asking straight out, "Is ________(your ex) coming?" There is a strong likelihood it will be answered truthfully. Don't pitch a fit that makes your host feel guilty, simply give your regrets right then, "Oh, okay. I probably won't come, then, because that's a pretty small gathering. No worries, we'll just make it a time when there will be more people and distractions." Smile and be gracious, and thank your host for thinking of you.
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    Take the high road in all things. In a misguided attempt to assure you that they are on "your side," your friends may even take a shot or two at your ex. Don't join in or take pleasure at jokes made at his or her expense. Remember - they're probably making the same kinds of jokes about you to him/her.
    • Instead, just take it in stride and say something to the effect of, "You know, I did get angry during the breakup, but now I just feel sorry and sad. We had a lot of good times together, and even though it's time to move on, I don't regret the time we spent together. I would never have met you guys if not for __________(your ex's name here)." And then don't say any more. They'll all nod and admire your class.
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    Let time take care of the rest. Remember the saying "time heals all wounds". A breakup is like a broken arm. It hurts like hell, and there's nothing you can do about it once it's been set and cast, except give it time. You just have to endure the pain and deal with the changes it causes in your life. As time passes and you still refuse to badmouth your ex or take part in shooting matches with him or her as the target, your friends will realize you've moved on.


  • After a time, you will re-establish your friendships under new terms. They'll begin to see you as yourself, individual. Only then should you introduce any new romantic interest.
  • Your friends need time, too. They have only ever known you as half of a couple they loved, and now they also need to adjust to new circumstances. They may make awkward or even angry remarks, because they don't know who to blame or what to do. Just be gentle with them and understand they're at a loss as to how to handle this, too.
  • As you attend parties, or go out with your mutual friends, be honest with them in asking whether or not your ex will be going, too. Let them know that you will need some time and space before you're comfortable attending anything but really large gatherings where you may have to interact with your ex.


  • Some "friends" may not turn out to be your friends at all. Beware of spies conducting covert surveillance for your ex. This is particularly of concern where a divorce settlement is at stake. It's also where you'll be relieved and glad that you haven't introduced the new love yet.
  • Avoid letting on that you're doing too well too soon. Remember that your friends are also sympathetic to your ex. If they feel it was as easy for you to discard him or her as it is to take out the trash (even if it is), they will view you as cold and uncaring. Resist bragging about that foxy new guy/girl in your life, and instead focus on them.
  • Any potshots you take at your ex will severely undercut your ability to continue these friendships.

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