I have a unique perspective on this topic.
I dated this guy, we’ll call him… Butthead, for what I’m sure will be obvious reasons in a moment. We were seeing each other for a little more than 5 months and we were inseparable for the entire time we were together.
During this time, he introduced me to all of his roommates (there were 6 of them in a 5 bedroom house) and friends. It would be an understatement to say that we all clicked and became quite close during that time. In fact, I helped a couple of them through major breakups before he and I split or I had ever heard of ExRecovery. And come to find out, I was already good friends with a lot of them before he and I had ever met.
After he and I went our separate ways, and I experienced my first ever “Clean Break” breakup, I decided that just because he and I hadn’t worked out didn’t mean that I had to lose all of my friendships. It became apparent that he had other opinions on this matter.
It all came down to the fabled “Bro Code.”
I get it.
No one really knows how any of this stuff works. Heck, even those of us that have put extensive research into human behavior and relationship psychology have to understand that not all rules apply to all people.
Crap.You say that to anyone experiences an emotional situation and they automatically assume they are the exception to the rule.
You say that to anyone experiences an emotional situation and they automatically assume they are the exception to the rule.
“We’re different!” We belong together!”
I’ve found that expectations and hope are what make breakups so difficult. Not saying that you need to abandon all hope. Just pair it with a healthy supplement of reality.
Anyways. After our split, one of his friends posted to Facebook, asking if anyone had a pool that he and his daughter could use. I live in an apartment and never get time to use the pool, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give them access sometimes. So, I commented on his post that I did.
And that’s when the storm hit.
Mind you, this friend was just that… a friend. For 5 months I was at Butthead’s house every day almost, I kept an eye on the kids when the guys had something they needed to do. We did community style dinners. We played video games together and got extremely competitive.
Moments after he responded to say thanks, Butthead decided that he HAD to step in and make a comment.
The conversation looked like this:
Friend: “Hey does anyone have a pool me and the munchkin can borrow?”
Me: “You guys are welcome to come use mine anytime. You should get (Other Friend) to bring his girl out too, so they can play.”
Friend: “That’s a great idea! We’ll take you up on that. Thanks!”
Me: “Cool! just let me know when :)”
BH: “So this is how it is.”
Me: (legitimately confused) “How what is?”
BH: “You two getting cozy”
Me: “Um, reread the conversation. I think you are confused.”
BH: “Whatever. I’m done talking about it.”
Yes, it was just like that. I remember it verbatim because I had to read it so many times to try and make sense of what had just happened.
Friend-guy promptly shoots me a message.
“Are we not supposed to be friends?”
To be honest I was glad that I wasn’t the only one confused. Apparently, Butthead did want to talk about it, just not with me. He had messaged friend-guy and proceeded to ream him with accusations of breaking the bro code. No matter what we told him, he was convinced we were sleeping together. He basically dissolved their friendship over it. They had been friends for close to 10 years.
So, you see? The mere thought that his friend was seeing his ex was driving him bananas. And I will point out three important bits of information.
- He broke up with me, clean break, friendly interaction to avoid backlash.
- We had been seperated for a few weeks at this point.
- He was already seeing someone new.
You see why my friend and I were confused why our continued friendship bothered him so much?
So, if you ask me, I think Bro Code and Girl Code make sense in theory only. I think they began as a simple set of rules of common decency. Like if you know your friend’s girl is cheating, you should tell them. That’s common decency.
The reason I say that it makes sense in theory only is that it’s become something else. It’s being used as a way to control the people around us, some twisted form of “calling dibs.”
So, you see, I have a different perspective than most.
But, that doesn’t mean I don’t understand your frustration. Meaning that I know that it feels like a betrayal on your friend’s part and an insult on her’s. If anything, it just gives me a way to understand their motivations.
Why You Feel the Way You Do About Your Ex Girlfriend
Let’s be truthful. You feel downright betrayed by the two of them.
But why is that?
We all have different selves, we allow certain people closer than others.
Most people in your situation find themselves facing the fear of having someone share our secret selves with someone else. Especially if they get chummy with someone we’ve managed to keep close but not too close.
You see, in Butthead’s case, we would lay in bed at night and discuss his fears, his hopes, and his true opinions of his friends’ actions.
His automatic go-to after we split was to go on the offensive. Which is understandable, he thought I would take the breakup poorly.
Either way, there is one thing he failed to realize…
He had as little control over what I did after we split as he did when we were together.
That didn’t keep him from reacting inappropriately though. He cut off a 10-year friendship over something he just imagined was going on.
The facts of the matter are these:
- You can’t control what other people do, even if you used to date them, even if they’re your best friend.
- Citing Bro Code is a tool of manipulation it shouldn’t be used if you want to preserve your relationships.
- If you live in a small town or share a close circle with your ex, it makes sense that she would end up dating one of your friends, especially if she was especially hurt. You tend to stick close to what you are familiar with when you are afraid of getting hurt.
Dealing with Feelings of Betrayal Triggered by Your Ex
Your first reaction will be to overreact and get confrontational.
However, both of these reactions will draw a line, with you on one side and them on the other.
Now, I’m not saying become their biggest cheerleader or anything. But you should try and handle it with grace. Chances are the relationship won’t last and the one thing that she will remember is the way you acted. And it will affect the chances of you two reconciling.
Now, with the way people act these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if your ex was seeing him just to get a rise out of you or even to punish you if she was particularly hurt by the breakup.
If this is the case, it is likely that she will be flaunting the relationship all over the place, making a point to post pictures all over social media and “happen” to go on dates that leave them running into you.
Let’s put this in more certain terms.
If you act crazy jealous and make ultimatums, she’ll be convinced that you are the wrong guy to be with.
MEANING: You’re less likely to get her back.
If you act like you’re super happy for them, every single person you know will think you are certifiable or more likely lying.
MEANING: You might end up gaining everyone’s pity, but you are unlikely to get your ex back.
So, where do you think I’m going with this?
If you guessed No Contact…
No Contact Is a What To Get Started
So, let’s talk about it for a minute.
I could lie to you and tell you that it’s an easy task to take on. Instead, I’ll tell you the truth. It’s gonna suck… a lot.
So, I’m going to go ahead and give you this link to an article/video explaining No Contact.
What it will tell you is that you will need to take some time away from your ex. That means no drunk dialing, no turning up, and definitely no making a scene.
Generally, the rule for how long it should last is based on a study that resulted in the realization that it takes 66 days to make or break a habit.
Yet, you see most other programs similar to our insisting that you take 60-90 days of No Contact.
To be honest, not only would that be unbearable, but it would literally walk your ex to the door that opens to getting over you.
So, here at ExRecovery we suggest they last for shorter intervals of time that reflect your personal situation.
Those intervals are 21-days, 30-days, and 45-days.
For this situation, 45 days is the length of time that is most likely to make an impact. It sets you up enough time to get a grasp on your emotions and establish a sense of maturity.
While you are in No Contact, you need to change the way you look at your ex. You see, when you get through No Contact, you will reconnect with your ex in a neutral manner. When you do re-establish contact you have to do so without being agressive.
Note that I just said the same thing in three different ways.
When I was in college I had to take a U.S. Government course. Now, I have always been terrible at keeping historical details straight in my memory. But I had this teacher, Dr. Mast. He used to be a preacher, so he was long winded. But he had this habit that came in handy for us. If something was going to be on the test, he would repeat it three times in that loud, hellfire and damnation sort of way. I can still hear him preaching “Public Policy! Public Policy! Public Policy!” from behind his desk.
So, when I tell you that you have to treat re-connecting with your ex as a sensitive matter, I mean it.
When you reach out to her, you must do so as a friend. You must treat her with respect. That means respecting her decisions as well.
You see? At this moment that seems impossible. However, if you take the time during No Contact to work on the three following things, you might actually win her back from this friend she’s taken up with.
- Learn How to Keep Your Emotions in Check
- Work on Becoming Interesting, Mysterious, and Better
- Accomplish Something in Your Own Life
One: Gain Control of Your Emotions Aimed At Your Ex Girlfriend
As humans, we are slaves to our emotions. James Gorce, a Standford Psychologist, proposed a 4-tier model of what comes into play when our emotions are provoked. He calls it a “modal model.”
That question mark though…
It begs the question, how do you modify the model to keep your emotions from governing your response.
Well, here’s your answer…
It IS possible to teach yourself how to overcome that instinct by putting a modified behavior into play.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to impose an If/Then strategy.
Basically, you create a set of rules in your mind. When one thing happens, your mind automatically springs into action.
Your mind probably already has one of these installed.
“If my alarm goes off when I am still tired, Then I will hit snooze until I feel like getting up.”
or, for the more disciplined,
“If my alarm goes off and I am still tired, then I will stand up and turn it off and turn on a light.”
I’m sure you have heard of people who stop unwanted habits by wearing a rubber band around their wrist and snapping it every time they have an urge to do something that they are trying not to do; have a smoke, tell a lie, or text an ex.
In your case, the rule would be,
“If I am driven to overreact to a situation, then I will wait at least 24 hours before taking any actions.”
Decide Who You Want to Become
Let’s be honest, something needs to change in order to catch your ex’s eye.
Yes, she liked who you were before. But after a breakup happens, she has had time to see you differently, and if the breakup was a rough one, it’s likely that her new perspective of you isn’t pretty.
So, decide who you want to be. As I said earlier in the list, becoming interesting, mysterious, and better are surefire ways to attract her attention and have her thinking getting back together is a good idea, even if she is with your friend for now.
Trust me, it ay be ard for you to hear, but even the happiest woman looks back on their past relationships and wonders what could have been and if things had worked out differently where would they be now.
Put all of your efforts into becoming this person, even if it seems impossible. Any efforts you make will not go unnoticed.
Keep in mind that when you DO reach out, your goal should be simply to reconnect. Don’t drive the goal of getting back together too soon.
Accomplish Something That Your Girlfriend Will Notice
Accomplish anything! When you reconnect with her it needs to be obvious that you have not just been sitting around sulking.
Take control of your life independent from your ex. Make it your own and own it.
If you hate your job, revamp your resume and chase the one you truly want.
If you hate your living situation, work towards new living situations.
Basically just DO something. Change your life and make her wonder if she’s made a huge mistake by not begging for you back.
To Wrap Things Up
If you look back over this article I’m sure it can be boiled down to a few points.
Don’t let your ex’s actions goad you into thoughtless actions.Don’t focus so much on her and her actions that you take none
Don’t focus so much on her and her actions that you take none on your own behalf.
Make sure that all of your actions are pushing for your agenda rather than working against you.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’d also love to hear how you use this information to make your situation better.