Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Custody Battle

A lot of my friends from university seem to have migrated to London, obviously lured by the thrill of overpriced pints, expensive rent and redundancy pay offs. Most were friends, male and female, who I met through ski & snowboard club, which was also how I met my ex. However, over the years they became good friends of us both. Some would have got to know me as part of a couple, others knew me before; but although there would be 'boys nights out' which I wouldn't be invited along to, most of the time they were people me and the ex would go out with as a group.

It was one of these blokes, Ben, that I found myself in a Soho pub with last night. I'd arranged to meet my Partner in Breakup for a drink after work, and as she's currently freelancing at the place where our mutual friend works, he came along too. As he's someone that I knew before the ex but don't often see that often now we're not together, I was really happy to see him.

Half way through our first pint, the Ex's name came up in conversation.

"Talking of The Ex," said Ben "How are things between you two, do you still talk?"
"We're amicable" I replied.
"Ah, that's good."
"We don't really talk, but there's the odd text and email now and again. We don't see each other though. It's a shame because now we've split up, I hardly get to see you lot. I think people are warey of inviting me out in case it's awkward"
"Yeah" he said, "That's why I asked..."

The conversation moved on, but it stuck in my head and got me thinking. A bubble of annoyance was rising up inside me. Not directed at Ben, just at the situation. I thought about how much I miss seeing all those boys, and when my Partner in Breakup mentioned she'd had a text from one of them last weekend inviting her to an event they were all going to, I realised I'd been left out.

It's starting to grate on me. It's like a divorce where he's wangled custody of the friends; a few of them were his to begin with but others, like Ben, (if I can go all 2 year old for a second) were mine first. Whenever I do see them, they express guilt that they don't see me more often: but I know they're in a difficult position. Although I do get the odd text, mostly they choose the ex over me, he's a bloke, and they're a group of blokes. If we're both there, it might cause a problem. Which, as much as I hate to say, it probably would - for me.

I can deal with losing the Ex. I can't deal with losing the friends too.

Why does he get to keep them?

18 comments:

Robbie said...

Did he bagsy (dibs) them first?

It's their loss if they do carry on. I mean it's not often you get a GIRL that drinks PINTS! That female friend should always be closely guarded within any circle of friends in my opinion.

Perhaps you should say something to them? Or perhaps set up a night out inviting all them so they know that you are still about?

nuttycow said...

I so so so know this!

Luckily for me (heh heh) the Ex has moved away. That means I get to keep *all* our friends.

Anyway you, when are you going to join me and Blonde for a drink?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Robbie - Well, I had a pint of their cheapest lager having discovered there was no rose wine. Actually quite enjoyed it. But yes, I've been considering setting up a night (and am in the process of gathering a troop together), but would feel awful inviting everyone apart from him. It would be like there was an elephant in the room. Or an elephant that was meant to be in the room, but wasn't.

Nuttycow - Oh see, you're lucky. Everyone's invaded my London patch even though I was here first. He moved into MY CITY! Now he's taken over! Why can't he move back home now he's not with me? Huh? Huh? As for drinkies, let me know next time you're heading out for a beverage and I'll see what I can do...

pinkjellybaby said...

I'd go for contacting one of them when you think it's a possibility of them going out and ask what they're doing. Then suck it up and go out, maybe he's there and maybe he's not but just getting your face back out there and 'pretending' (if you have to) that you're ok that he's there..you'll find your invites increasing.
Even if you pop along on your way somewhere else (so you don't have to spend too long in his company)they'll invite you next time xx

pinkjellybaby said...

Oh and if you do organise a night out, invite him. If he's got a single decent bone in his body, he probably won't come along but at least you can say you tried and it won't look bad on you!

Emsbabee said...

Hmm, I see all the good advice has already been taken.

Maybe they just all assume you're far too fabulously busy with your new single lifestyle? Therefore, they'd better rally round and support ol' numb nuts, who clearly can't look after his own social life? Just a thought...

Ellie said...

You know, I'm afraid what I'm about to say might seem harsh on your friends; but, it seems to me, you need some new ones. It's not just your ex who gets to choose who gets to keep the friends. The friends get to choose too. Especially those friends who were yours first ... you shouldn't have to ask anyone ... they should have the loyalty to you. It seems to me that they weren't ever really, true friends. Friendly acquaintances, yes. People for whom you were/are generally fond (as they were / are for you, I'm sure). True friendship requires an effort ... and you can't have too many true friends; it just doesn't happen. I don't know why, but you struck a chord ... made me all mad on your behalf.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

He gets to keep them because he was more aggressive and proactive about doing so. Is there any truth to that?

I think Ellie is being a bit harsh. They may want to approach you but are a bit uncomfortable doing so. It's all very complicated. Just be glad you don't have kids.

Semaphore said...

Ugh, what a horrid situation. I don't really have any advice to give - except perhaps that the only way to prove that it won't be awkward is to try - but I do have sympathy, because I was told over the weekend by one of my best friends, who's also one of my boyfriend's best friends, that we're never allowed to break up. Ever. Which is ... sweet? :\ I'll just have to be sure to be proactive, I guess... Meh.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

PJB - In theory that would work, but I also know that if I had to pretend to be ok then that wouldn't make for a good night out! It's swings and roundabouts I suppose. I want the impossible: them without him!

Emsbabee - Now that's a good way of thinking. Yes, that's definitely it. They think I'm already busy. To be fair, I usually am. They're right :D

Ellie - No that's not harsh, you're right. There is an element of them choosing him over me whether that's out of loyalty or just enjoying his company more. Your comment actually made me look at the situation differently: I do need to get new friends, but in a way, they're my uni friends and I can't do uni again. Again you're right though, they're not people I'd think of as 'best', but they are people I'd be sad never to see again. Whether that's reciprocated, I have no idea.

Unbearable - I suppose so, but I think they've always seen us as a couple and would have issued any past invites to one in the hope of the message getting to the other. He sees them as his friends, even though they have also been mine. So yes, an aggression on his part to keep his friends, his, has always been there.

Semaphore- Haha, no pressure there then! Yes, I should try and I know the moment's coming where we will inevitably be in the same room at the same time, I think I'm just rather scared about that happening and how I'll react.

Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

I'd say the best thing would be for you to go out on a night out where he's there, and make a point of being civil and chatty to him. As soon as the others see that there's no awkwardness there, they can start inviting you both again.

Unless there will be awkwardness...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Rage against - Yeah, that is definitely something that I'll have to do. I know it is. I think I'm just worried I'll act like an idiot, you know, revert to that old cliche of chatting to other blokes in front of him and not be myself. Or be hurt - what if he turned up with someone else?

em said...

i totally know this feeling.
my ex got to keep a few of our friends when we split, & for a while i tried to stay in touch,but now it's limited to a few fb messages here and there.
But even when we did go out,i'd feel guilty if i spoke to guys in front of them, so i think it might be for the best.
friendship politics suck, and surely it's there loss!

blueskies2day said...

Poor you. I guess your mutual friends probably don't know what to do, so they've done nothing instead.

I think I would probably meet up one-to-one with a few of them, have a catch-up and casually mention that you'd like to be included. It might be good to say that you know it must be a bit awkward, but that if in doubt, invite both of you instead of leaving one out. After a while, perhaps the message would spread.

Some friends of mine just got divorced, and I noticed that one of them had been... sidelined by most of their friends. No one took sides, but the girl-half of the couple I guess was more proactive in keeping in touch. I guess it happens quite a lot unless you remain really close (which I know is v v difficult), which is a shame.

Brennig said...

Most of my friends live in various foreign countries now anyway. I'm not sure what that says about me living here and them not but *shrug*...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

em - Yeah that's the same situation as me. I'd read so much into things if I was drunk and on a night out with him.

blueskies - I think I'm going to arrange to see Ben next week. Mark my territory so to speak! Divorce is a whole other complicated story, I don't envy divorcees one bit. Must be so hard to keep friends after a marriage breakdown.

Brennig - Well...Just try not to take it personally, eh? ;)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I've found that never having to speak to an ex's tedious friends again (even if they'd become mutual friends) was one of the high points of both my break-ups.

- Homer

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Funny you should say that, I think that's presicely what he thinks of my friends!

 

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