Friends is one of my favorite TV shows of all time and recently, I was talking to a family member when I was reminded of an episode where Monica starts dating a new guy. She’s wary of introducing him to her friends, since they’ve often been less than approving of her boyfriends. This time however, they all think he’s perfect. Chandler says that this new boyfriend is the standard which they’ll compare all of her other boyfriends to. Roger quickly becomes a part of the gang.
Unfortunately, Monica soon finds that she doesn’t like her new boyfriend nearly as much as they do. She’s more worried about telling her friends that she’s breaking up with him than she is about actually breaking up with him. This is the plot of a sitcom episode, but it’s something that happens in real life.
Having your new love interest meet friends or family is a big step. Even though it’s what you think and feel that really matters, we all wonder what our friends and family think after this meeting. Sometimes, the relationship itself can depend on what they say.
I really felt for Monica, since I’ve been in the same kind of situation. Fortunately, my family and friends have generally liked the guys I’ve dated, but I hear horror stories about other people’s love lives and always give a silent thanks for my good luck. My aunt asked me a while ago about a recent ex who I’d dated for over a year – he’d met my family a few times.
She wanted to know if I ever heard from him and I told her the truth, which was once in a while. It turns out she really liked him and wanted to know how he was. I told her that everyone liked him, trying to disguise my bitterness. Everyone had liked him, at least everyone except me. It wasn’t an easy decision to break it off with him, but I feel it was the best thing to do. That’s why I don’t like people bringing him up; it makes me feel even guiltier.
It’s hard to decide if it’s worse for your family and friends love your new boyfriend or hate him. It can be really tough after a breakup if he’s become close to a family member or if you share friends with them. No one in this situation likes to be told what a cute couple you were or that everyone was sure you’d get married. Here’s a few tips for any of you who might find yourself in this awkward and difficult situation:
Let your family and friends down gently.
If the breakup was amicable, then let the people in your life down easy and give them the news in person before they hear it somewhere else. If your ex was a jerk, though, you don’t need to explain yourself to anyone if you want to end things and show them the door.
Ask people what they liked about your ex or soon-to-be-ex.
Be willing to listen. They may have noticed something that you missed, although the longer the relationship goes on, the harder this can be to figure out. Just because he’s the nephew of your uncle’s friend isn’t a good reason to stay together, but be willing to listen to valid points.
Be an adult with your ex.
Your ex ended up being pretty tight with your sister and strangely enough, they’re besties now. You’re probably going to run into them now and then. As long as they weren’t abusive, cruel or otherwise completely abhorrent, you can at least be polite with them. Maybe you’ll never be friends, but if you can let go of the hard feelings or at least keep them under control, no one needs to make a scene or even have a bad time if they show up at a party.