• Keeping Friends

Drawing lines in the sand after a friendship breakup

Published: August 3, 2011 | Last Updated: March 17, 2015 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
People often take sides after a friendship breakup.


Hi Irene,

I had a very painful falling out with a really close friend several months ago. Being somewhat older than me, this woman was like a mother and I really looked up to her. When she decided to write me off, I felt terribly hurt and betrayed. I am working on the old wounds this friendship triggered for me in therapy, and am trying to reconcile what was my part in order to not make the same mistakes again.

My struggle is that my boyfriend, who met this ex-friend through me, still wants to be friends with her. We all used to hike and do other activities together and his take is that the break-up was not between him and her, but her and me, and why should he be punished for our mistakes? I find his lack of understanding of the situation and loyalty to me disturbing. Am I off base here?

Signed, Cyndy


Hi Cyndy,

Given that you feel so hurt and betrayed by your friend, it’s legitimate for you to feel uncomfortable if she and your BF maintain a relationship without you. I’m struck by your boyfriend’s insensitivity to your feelings.

Although the three of you did things together in the past, the threesome arrangement no longer exists. By virtue of the breakup, everyone has been placed in the position of reassessing loyalties and lines of communication. While your BF may not harbor any animosity towards your once-friend, his priority should be to support you during this difficult time.

Since you are trying to better sort out and understand what happened and why in therapy, it seems reasonable to ask your BF to put his friendship with her on hold. I would encourage you to speak to him further and find out why he is stuck on maintaining this relationship with your once-friend.

Hope this helps.



You may also be interested in reading this prior post on The Friendship Blog about allegiances after a friendship breakup:

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Comments (7)

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  1. ginger says:

    I understand more now after reading your reply…thanks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi ginger…this is lacole…I agree to a certain extent, but I also think it depends on the circumstances..maybe I have elaborated…..I met my friend 7 years ago, not only did we become good friends, but the husbands and families did as well. My husband is still friends with her husband, and our kids interact with hers abit. My husband has to see her at functions, etc. They arent friends were they hang out and do things together, but he still maintains a friendly, cordial relationship. He will call her on occasion as they work on a few events together….Her and I did not have this awful drag out fall out..it was really more a slow erosion over time…lack of communciation as you stated in another post…anyway, still makes it hard for me sometimes. I try not to ask too many questions…ignorance is bliss..so to speak.

  3. Samantha says:

    sorry my comment got posted so many times. all my sons football practice,typing on the phone, guess I got confused!

  4. annoymous says:

    Irene- About 3 months ago, I made a new girlfriend. She is a very fun personality type. We have enjoyed shopping and hanging out. The longer we are friends there more alcohol is playing a large part in our time spent together. That in itself is not the problem.
    Last weekend we go to dinner, she drives. During dinner she goes on to drink 5 shots, over about 3 hours. Ever since riding home with her I have been unsettled. I had too much to drink myself to stick to the good sense to call my husband.
    The following day, I try to talk with her, she just says she was fine to drive. It felt if I had pushed the issue she would have gotten upset.
    Being this friendship is in the early stage, I feel it would still be easy to downgrade. Do you feel that is justified? It doesn’t feel we have to foundation to discuss with issue and that it may be indicative of deeper differences. Also at my age 36, I am not so interested in a friendship that revolves around alcohol. She tells lots stories about her other friends with all involving lots of alcohol.
    I would appreciate your thoughts. Thank you. I was unable to submit a question ( or maybe it worked!) So I hope you read this!

  5. ginger says:

    Hi ladies: Call me naive (I don’t have a husband or boyfriend at the moment) but I would expect my husband or boyfriend to give up his friendship with my ex-friend in both of the situations you mentioned. Is that unreasonable??

  6. lacole says:

    cyndy…I know how you feel. I recently ended a 7 year friendship with my ex-best friend. Although her and I are no longer speaking and interacting, my husband remains friends with her. It is difficult and I feel unsupported and somewhat betrayed by him. I am trying to be mature and know that the fall out was between her and I and he should remain friends with her if he chooses. It is a struggle for me and Im trying to hang in there and deal with it.

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