Posted by: thefitacademic | March 18, 2011

The Big Break-Up Debate

So I want to respect people’s privacy and not be airing other peoples’ business.

At the same time, I want to get YOUR opinions on a matter that many of us face at some point in time.

So forgive me as I am being purposely ambiguous with the details. The details don’t matter anyways. Just think about the main idea.



Love is a beautiful thing. But love can be tricky. It’s not always fun and games.


I had/have these 2 friends. I met them as soon as I moved to Tucson. They were a new couple at the time and were mad-crazy about each other.

But, as happens with time, the relationship had some issues. People aren’t perfect, ya know?


No – no one cheated. No – there was no physical or emotional abuse. There wasn’t any 1 specific thing that happened. There was an accumulation of lots of little things. Happens this way all the time. Unfortunately, the relationship was not strong enough to weather the rough patch. Eventually, after almost 2 years, the couple split.


It was hard for both of them. Both felt saddened and hurt. They had a hard time seeing things from the other’s perspective. As an objective observer, I knew that both people had legitimate grievances with the other. No one was completely faultless. But no one was a complete “bad guy” either. When it comes right down to it, they just weren’t right for each other. That’s all. It was a little heart-breaking for each of them.


The thing is, 1 of them is a co-worker and colleague. We don’t work together on a daily basis, but we see each other frequently. It was kind of assumed that this would be the “half” of the couple that I would stay friends with (let’s call this person “Pat”). I’ve seen Pat hurt. I’ve seen Pat cry. I’ve tried to help Pat recover & move on.

Meanwhile, the other person (we’ll call this person “Jaime” – like how I’m using gender-ambiguous names?) I thought I may never see or hear from again. Immediately after the break-up I sent Jaime a text saying that I hoped they were doing okay. That was it. No more, no less.

Well – it’s been a few weeks now. Things are still fresh and the wounds are still healing. And out of nowhere, Jaime sends me a text today to hang out. The thing is – I know that Jaime doesn’t have a lot of friends here. Jaime was new to the city & quickly fell into the fold of Pat’s friends when they started dating &, consequently, never made a separate group of friends.

Well – I feel kind of the same way. I’m relatively new to the city. I don’t know a lot of people either. It can be lonely. I don’t have a lot of friends here. Not only do I empathize with Jamie’s position…..I feel like I could use the friend, too.

So that brings us to the big debate:  Is it okay for me to be friends with Jamie, or should I stay away? Like I said, I work with Pat and I kind of feel like hanging out with Jamie may be the equivalent of “cheating” on Pat. At the very least, I know Pat would feel a little betrayed. Do I need to maintain “loyalty” to Pat? Or is it okay to be friends with Jamie, since I’m an adult after-all, and I can pick my own friends,! I’m torn on what to do. I don’t want to make things awkward at work, but maybe I can keep the two friendships separate?

Have you ever been in this situation before? What did you do? Did it work out?

Does this all seem a little too reminiscent of of high school to you?

Have you, personally, ever experienced a break-up that has caused you to loose friends?



  1. This is a tough situation. Could you ask Pat if it’s OK or would that be awkward and too soon?

  2. There is not ONE single reason you shouldn’t be a good friend to Jaime right now. It really really frustrates me when people have to choose *sides* after a break-up. ESPECIALLY when the break was because they just weren’t right for eachother and not because someone had been a COMPLETE ass (cheater, beater, loser, etc) Recently ryan’s cousin (so not even technically family yet) broke up with his girlfriend of 3 years. They have a child together and since I was introduced to the fam I’ve been sort of pushed to befriend her. Well…after the break up cuzzo thought I needed to stop talking to his ex. Sorry..homie don’t play those games. I don’t DEFRIEND people due to relationship statuses. As long as you are open to being a friend to both without things getting messy I just don’t see a reason to cut that person out…especially now that they are in a time of need. 🙂 Just my two cents.

  3. Wow, this actually seems rather relevant to my life right now. I really think you should probably get Pat’s opinion first. I mean, in all honesty, there isn’t a single reason why you shouldn’t be and if they are a great person then how could you not.

  4. Well, there are a couple of things that could affect my answer here. I know that you are purposely leaving out the detail of whether Pat is the guy or girl, but I honestly think that makes a huge difference. If Pat is the girl, then I can pretty much guarantee that she will not be ok with you hanging out with her ex. If Pat is the guy, it’s hard to say. You should definately mention it to Pat either way and get their opinion.

    I find myself in these kinds of situations all. the. time. Except I am usually really good friends with both people, which makes it really hard to decide what the right thing to do is.

  5. Im with Krista–If Pat’s a girl, its probably a no-go. But If Pats a guy, it may be ok…I would definitely talk to Pat about it before doing anything though. Ugh thats a tough situation! Hope it works out for ya.

  6. Good question… Im one of those people that thinks it shouldnt matter..

  7. I think it’s high school if you have to pick sides… There is no reason that you can’t be friends with both Jamie and Pat.

  8. I absolutely think that you should reach out to him/her. If you’re worried, go to Pat and talk to him/her know that you’re going to hang out with Jamie, but that you won’t be talking about Pat and it’s not a reflection of your relationship.

    That said, if you’re going to be friends with both of them…then I’m not sure that it’s appropriate to be their venting board.

  9. It might suck, but you probably will end up picking sides unintentionally just because you have more contact with one than the other. Being in the middle sucks!

  10. yes yes and yes! unfortunately this may happen more than once in life and you will probably have to pick sides and somebody will be mad at you 😦

  11. I’ve actually been in a really similar situation except the couple that broke up was my brother and a girl who I became extremely close friends with. My brother wanted me to have nothing to do with her but I chose to stay friends. Just because THEY are no longer dating/friends doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your life too. It’s not fair to you.

  12. My gut reaction is that you should be able to be friends with whomever you want, and that both sides of the couple shold be able to understand this, as neither did anything completely “wrong” to the other. But maybe I’m naive?

  13. Something like this happened to me too, and I was very good friends with both parties. I’d say it’s okay to hang out with jaime. You’re being a good person, and if Pat has a problem with it, I would simply tell them what you said to us. Jaime is new to the city, and so are you, and you didn’t do it to hurt Pat. Unfortunately, break-ups like this happen all the time. And it’s not just the two people who are affected. I think it’s good for you to want to be friends with both, and I think you can make it happen!

  14. I agree that you should be able to hang out with both sides. If either one gets upset about it, it’s probably more about the break-up than it is about you.

  15. […] for all the comments about what to do about my friends, “Jamie” & “Pat”. It’s such a sticky situation. I think I’ve decided to ask Jamie to meet me for a yoga class. […]

  16. You have every right to be friends with “Jamie.” What you do on your time and with whom is your business.

  17. Ouch, that’s a really tough situation. If it were me, I think I’d aim for transparency. Let both know that they are both friends and I may be hanging out with both of them separately. No “cheating” involved.

  18. […] older I get the harder it seems to be to meet people! I think I’m going to call my old friend “Jamie” up to start going to yoga together, and maybe I’ll join a running meet-up group. Does anyone […]

  19. […] The Big Break-Up Debate, March, […]

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