Reply To: Dealing with mutual friends



Hi There,

Well, I think you have asked a difficult question that many of us have probably had to face. I’d be interested to hear Donnas view on the matter.
For what it’s worth my first instinct was thinking “NO CONTACT!” Meaning that by being intouch with this mutual friend, you are still effectively in contact with your ex.
If you see your mutual friend they may unintentionally update you on what your ex is up to, and who with. While you are still hurting and recovering those details may damage and hurt your further.

Then there is the second question at the back of my mind, is this a real friend? I don’t know the nature of the friendship that you have with this person or how special the friendship is to you. However, I would really question the sincerity and integrity of any friend who stuck by someone who hurt, damaged and abused you. Why would a real true friend do that? I get that they may be in a really awkward position and sometimes in life it’s best to be diplomatic and neutral and let other people sort themselves out. However, sometimes in life we need to get out of our comfort zone and say, “you know what, that wasn’t right and I don’t like how you treated her.” A good friend says it as it is right? So if these mutual friends are true friends to your ex maybe they should call him up on his behaviour.
If these mutual friends are true friends to you then maybe they should lean more to your side and let you know that they aren’t impressed with his behaviour and offer support and love. Which is what you need right now.

How badly would it affect your life if you cut all ties with them altogether?

My experience was that the sociopath I was with for three years made me completely dependent on him as I developed an incurable auto-immune disease which meant I was in and out of hospital for the last 18 months of our relationship. He completely isolated me from my friends (and he didn’t have to try too hard as chronic illness does that to you anyway). Then when I was at my sickest, he left me. By that time my only social group were his friends and family. We all got on really, really well but as he is the typical charming manipulater he ran the smear campaign against me. He made out that he had to leave me as he had tried to look after me and help me in every way but apparently I was horrid to him and pushed him away….yada yada….all lies. I adored him and did everything I could to make him happy despite my illness. The reason he left was because my sick pay ran out and he just happened to inherit £100,000….which he forgot to tell me about.

I was so upset that he slated me to his friends and family as they never got in touch to hear my side of the story. I desperately wanted them to know what he was like. But months later, after the split the thought occurred to me that perhaps they weren’t real friends. Not one of them got in touch to offer support. I expect that’s because of all the lies he probably told about me but nothing was stopping them from picking up the phone to hearing my side of the story.

Sorry, I’ve gone off on a tangent.
I guess when it comes to your situation you need to ask yourself if remaining friendswith these mutual friends is going to damage you. Are you going to resent them deep down for condoning his behaviour? Would it be better to cut them out and go no contact and move on with your life?
Looking back now, if I had stayed in contact with my exs friends I would still be devastated to learn that he had moved on. I’m still in love with him and the future I thought we had.

I had to get out of my comfort zone two years ago. I have a very good male friend who has been like a big brother to me for years. He has always looked out for me and we have a very healthy plutonic relationship. However, several years ago he had a really lovely girlfriend. She adored him and he was really into her, to start with. Anyway, he cheated on her. She never found out but eventually the relationship broke down and they split. I wasn’t friends with this girl BUT I was friendly and I liked her and I felt really uncomfortable that I knew that she had been cheated on.
Then fast forward a few years and this guy has another really nice, bubbly, intelligent girlfriend who he buys a house with, tells her they are going to have kids and get married. She was over the moon. He was really into her. I really had a lot in common with this girl and although I was too unwell to socialise I spent time with her and got to become friends.
Anyway, the predictable happened. My male friend cheated on the girlfriend. She found out. She was devastated. It almost broke her. Her whole world imploded. And I was angry.
I comforted her as best I could. I had only known her 18months so she wasn’t my best friend but I still cared for her and her feelings. My real problem was how I felt about my male friend. I decided that I couldn’t be silent. A good friend should be there through the good times and bad times and be there to tell you when you are being a total idiot.
I went to see him and told him how much I valued our friendship. I told him how much I valued his support through my illness. I told him how much I cherished the times we had growing up. But then I told him how I thought that his behaviour to both his previous girlfriends had been totally unacceptable, it had been degrading and that I had a real problem with it. I actually said, “you’re an amazing friend but God help anyone who gets into a relationship with you.”

I knew at that point that it would either make or break our friendship. We talked for a while. I was still pretty angry at him.

We still have a good friendship. He apologised to his ex, which gave her some closure but she is still understandably upset. They seem to have both moved on and I hear from her occasionally. The most surprising outcome to me was that my male friend admitted to me that he cheats because he has such crippling low self-esteem. He is now on anti-anxiety meds and is in counselling. I’m still his friend. I was brave (or crazy) to be really honest with him. However, I dread the day he gets into another long term relationship as I just don’t know what will happen.

Sorry for the long post, I guess I’ve tried to look at all angles.

If I were you, and I’m not, I would go NO CONTACT with the mutual friend. My reason for this is that it was my first instinct when I read your post and my first instinct when I met my ex spath was that something wasn’t right and that I should avoid him. Everyday since he left me I wish to God that I had listened to my first instinct and run a mile away from him.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.

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