Let your friends ground you in reality
September 07, 2017
When my college girlfriend left me for another guy while we were on a break, I had isolated myself somewhat from my friends.
Looking back I think I sensed she didn't mix well with my friends, so I was either with her or with my friends - never both at the same time. During the relationship, the balance shifted more and more towards spending time with her at the expense of spending time with my friends.
This is a common pattern leading up to a breakup by the way: Living in a bubble with your girlfriend isolated from your friends (and family).
When she suggested a 'break' and subsequently slept with another guy, I had nowhere to turn to but my friends.
Awesome as they are, they welcomed me with open arms and listened to my story.
I remember two distinct moments when this played out.
The first was when I told my buddy Tommy she had slept with another guy, but... we were on a break, so technically it wasn't foul play.
(I was defending her actions, desperately finding a way to forgive her so as not to lose her.)
"That's still a pretty shitty thing to do though", Tommy said.
"What is?" I replied, for a moment not understanding what he was referring to.
"What she did... Sleeping with someone that quickly (1 week) after the 'break' - that's a shitty thing to do"
I looked him in the eyes. I could see that the words he had chosen seemed obvious to him, yet to me they were not. It sounded foreign.
But they sank in.
This was the first time that it started to dawn on me that she had done something shitty to me.
My projection of her slowly started to change.
I was still madly in love with her, but this was no longer something trivial she had done. No, this was a shitty thing she did.
And it took my buddy Tommy telling me in my face to burst the bubble I was living in.
This is one of the benefits of talking to friends.
They're not looking at the situation with all the emotional baggage that you are.
If you're lucky, they know you and they can tell if you're not thinking straight. They'll pop your bubble, and that's a GIFT.
One more example.
About a month ago after the breakup I was talking to my buddy Marty. The breakup came up in conversation - as it does - and he surprised me by what he said.
"You know man, I didn't really like her that much."
"What?" I replied. I was very surprised to hear that. Especially since I consider Marty one of my best friends.
"Yeah. Your ex. I didn't like her that much. And I think if you ask your other friends, I think they'd tell you the same."
I was speechless. My friends hadn't liked my ex? How could I have been blind to this all along?
Sure enough when I did get round to asking my friends, none of them had liked my ex. Some had seriously questioned what I saw in her.
By isolating myself with her from my friends and I had shielded myself from this reality.
This is one of the most valuable lessons I learnt after this breakup.
Your friends can keep you grounded in reality and act as a benevolent "filter" for your choice in mate.
So in conclusion.
Make sure you share your breakup story with family, friends, colleagues - whoever you have close to you. They can help you ground yourself in reality. Listen to what your friends say about your partner. They're often able to see things that are difficult for you to see. If none of your friends like her, that's a sign!