Helping two friends when their engagement ends puts you in a delicate position. Being friends with both people often means struggling not to take sides. How you help and who you help depends on the level of friendship you have with each person. Determining where your primary loyalties lie without necessarily taking sides is important.
The Value of Friendship
Supporting both friends equally can be almost impossible, so evaluating your relationship with each person is important. According to Stacie Ikka, relationship expert and founder of the dating consultancy Sitting In A Tree, one factor that determines the value you place on each relationship is whether you became friends with each person after they became a couple or whether you had an existing relationship with your friend before she got engaged. Consider how you would feel if your relationship with your friend ended over how you interact with her ex-fiancé.
A Question of Loyalty
Once you've determined where your primary loyalties lie, talk to your friend about how she feels about you communicating with her ex-fiance. She may be comfortable with you having some contact with him, but letting her know you respect her wishes in either case is the right thing to do. Communicating with her ex-fiance without her knowledge could quickly end your friendship if she finds out. But do not fall into the trap of becoming her source of information about her ex, as this could ultimately damage your relationship.
Helping From a Distance
Another way to help your friend when an engagement ends is to distance yourself from conversations about the breakup at every opportunity. Meet for lunch, go shopping and do other things to let her know there is life after tragedy. Agreeing ahead of time to keep conversations about her ex to a minimum helps you maintain your relationship with him without sounding like you are betraying her. Ikka reminds you to support your friend and provide a listening ear as much as possible even when you are still friends with her ex.
If you have equal relationships with both your friend and her ex-fiancé, staying neutral after their breakup is the safest path. Set boundaries with each person and let them know what you will and will not talk about where the other person is concerned. Help each of them understand that you are not comfortable talking about their past relationship, and for the sake of your friendship you feel the topic should be off limits. Not taking sides helps you encourage both of your friends while keeping your own sanity.
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