If you’ve had the pleasure of watching your ex-girlfriend seduce, and then subsequently start dating your best friend, you know how painful it feels when you realize what she’s doing.
Even worse is watching your best friend start trying to put moves on your ex. Unfortunately, I’ve lived both sides of this, and I can tell you that nothing good is going to come of it, unless you can remove yourself from the situation immediately.
To answer the titular question, you should be pissed if your ex-girlfriend shacks up with your best friend, no matter what his or her excuse is. Don’t feel bad for being angry. It’s completely normal!
Two of the closest people in your life have gone behind your back, and your best friend has crossed a line.
However, you shouldn’t ultimately respond with anger. You’ll have to make a tough decision, but prioritizing your emotional recovery should trump everything else. It will hurt, but you’ll recover quicker when you put yourself first, as your best friend and ex-girlfriend have.
Now, if you haven’t found yourself in this situation yet, keep reading. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is defining clear expectations with your best friends from the very beginning, and this article can help you do that.
Dealing with the fallout
Betrayal is one of the most painful human experiences, because it undermines our sense of what reality really is.
Ultimately though, this betrayal is a growth opportunity. As John Amodeo, PhD put it in his book, Love and Betrayal:
“By courageously confronting the inevitable […] betrayals that life brings us, we can heal the hurts of our heart, discover new aspects of ourselves, and find a greater degree of safety in relationships and in life. Betrayal in its many forms can become, in effect, the unwelcome rite of passage that ushers us toward a brighter understanding of what love is and what love isn’t — what helps love grow, and what destroys it.”
So take heart – even though you’re in pain now, you can and will grow from this experience if you respond to it correctly.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say that after I’ve been through it.
Which raises the question: what should you do? While no two cases of an ex shacking up with a best friend are the same, the response always should be.
Ultimately, you’re going to go no-contact with both your best friend and your ex-girlfriend. That means both of them get cut from your life and ignored. You’re going to remain in no contact until you completely recover and can respond to the situation without negative emotion.
“But he’s my best friend” and “I still love her!” are very common, emotionally charged retorts when I suggest going no contact. But…
Your best friend didn’t extend you common decency.
Your best friend just crossed a line and put his own interests before yours. Shacking up with an ex is a flagrant violation of friendship.
As a man, very few things in life are sacred. However, the bonds you make with your brothers, your true best friends, should be one of those things.
While the fabled “bro-code” is merely a suggestion, human decency is not. If your so-called, best friend isn’t capable of understanding the emotional impact dating of your ex has, then he isn’t really your best friend.
To be classified as a best friend, he has to have your best interests in mind. He should be prioritizing your recovery, not making your recovery harder.
You can confront him about it, and get yourself more worked up, and he might even agree he’s wrong. But, no matter what excuse he gives you, ultimately he made the decision to date your ex-girlfriend.
Even if he didn’t consider how it would impact your feelings, he still allowed his own wants to trump yours.
So what does that say about his interests?
Is that really someone you want as a best friend?
Okay, he’s not my best friend, but I still want her back! I love her!
Of course you do. Hey, maybe she still loves you too and one day, after she’s done riding your former best friend, she’ll come running back to you.
That’s if she’s not just using your best-friend to taunt you, which she might be. Although most women aren’t this cruel, there are always exceptions to the rule.
So I ask you: why would you want her back? What’s to say you couldn’t get someone better?
I’ll leave that alone for a little bit. Let’s look at this in another way.
If you’re really angry at her, do you think the best way is to vent it to her?
Venting and blowing off steam to your ex-girlfriend will only make it less likely you’ll get her back in the future. If your pursue too hard, you can quite literally push her closer to your former best friend.
You’d be showing her that you’re weak because you’re not in control of your emotions. So for now, even if you still love her, you want to back off. It will help preserve her respect for you, and give you a better chance of getting back together, if you want that sort of thing.
Maintain your distance physically and emotionally.
By now, I hope you’ve come to realize that your best friend really isn’t your best friend. I hope you also realize that no matter how you feel about your ex, you need to go-no contact with both of them.
So how does that look in practice? All the standard no-contact rules apply.
- Don’t contact either of them.
- Don’t reply if they try to contact you.
- Block any other avenues of communication
- Avoid venues and situations where either one will be present.
- Unfollow them on social media.
- Avoid friends that are on their side
However you have the added difficulty of having to avoid two people that are likely deep within your social circle. While I don’t recommend avoiding your other friends, you should avoid situations where one or both of them will be there.
Hopefully though, your friends will have the common decency to avoid inviting any combination of you.
With that being said, don’t badmouth either your friend or ex-girlfriend. If you’re asked questions about it, just shrug them off.
Word will get around to them eventually, and you don’t want to give them any extra information about your life, because the point of no-contact is to increase the distance between all parties involved.
How long should you go no-contact for?
You should go no-contact for as long as you need to completely recover. These sites promising that there’s a system behind this are marketing to you.
In truth, there is never going to be an exact time frame where you’re ready. It’s going to be unique to your situation which is why it’s important to take time away from both people to reflect and recover.
While I can’t give you a time frame, what I can tell you is what a full recovery looks like.
Think back to a week leading up to a very important exam that you prepared for, studied hard for, and needed to do well on. You might have been nervous, fearful, or otherwise stressed out.
Of course, that stress peaked in the minutes and hours before the test. Then, come test time, it all vanishes. All that matters now is the execution. You scribble furiously on the paper. A quick check of your answers and you pass it in.
Walking out of the exam room is a relief. It’s in the professor’s hands now. You might stress out a bit about what grade you’ll get, but nothing like before. Ultimately, the lead up to getting your return grade isn’t as stressful compared to the build up before the exam.
At this point it’s easier to joke about the exam, and not feel bothered by it, even if you think about it. It wasn’t so bad after all.
Your exam process is just one way of looking at the emotional change curve.
If you choose, you can end your no-contact phase after you hand in your exam, so to speak. Looking at the graph above, this is literally the examination point, where your emotional contentment begins to rise again.
What contentment with your situation looks like
After you handed in that exam, you probably cared much less about the result. Whether you got an A, or you bombed the shit out of it, it was over.
This same type of feeling is what you want to look for as a hallmark of a complete recovery.
It’s not when you can stop thinking about it entirely. That will take months, if not years to happen. It’s when you can think about, laugh about, and otherwise respond without negative emotion.
If you see your ex-girlfriend, you won’t feel bothered. Instead you’ll shrug, and go on your merry way. Seeing your former best friend won’t want to make you yell and scream. You might give him a knowing nod, and smile as you walk away.
Best of all, you won’t feel distraught when you get home.
If one of your friends mentions them, you’ll be able to genuinely laugh.
This is the kind of mindset you want to be in. When you can think about it, and it doesn’t bother you, you’ve reached the end of the no-contact tunnel.
How to be content with your situation
There’s a 3 step process to contenting yourself with any negative situation you find yourself in.
Accept the situation
The first step is acceptance. You need to understand that your ex-girlfriend is dating your best friend. You also need to understand that at this moment, neither of them have you best interests at heart.
Write “my ex-girlfriend is dating my best friend” as a title on a piece of paper. Then, write every fact you need to accept about the situation on the piece of paper.
It will hurt, but as you do it, you’ll start to feel a little bit better.
Once you’ve got your list, put it somewhere you’ll see it often. I kept mine in my office. It would suck to read, but as time went on it sucked less and less.
Reflect on the situation
The second step is reflecting on whys and whats of the situation. You have the facts, but I’m sure you still have questions at this point that you need answered.
- Why did this happen?
- Why was I so angry that this happened?
- What can I do to prevent this from happening in the future?
- What are my next steps?
Of course, you’ll manage to answer some of these questions as time passes, but if you want to speed up the process use a journal to collect your thoughts.
Although talking to friends and loved ones can help this process, ultimately your reflection time should be done alone. You need to come to conclusions that are yours alone.
This is a great time to read! Your brain will be looking for answers because you’ve prompted it with questions. Reading can help you connect the dots along with journaling.
You’ll need a complete picture of the situation, so you can forgive all the parties involved and be free of any pain or suffering.
Forgive your ex-girlfriend and your former best friend
To completely be free of the situation, you need to forgive 3 people.
- Your ex-girlfriend
- Your former best friend
Forgiving yourself comes from accepting the situation, and reflecting on it which is why you do those first.
Let go of any blame you have for the situation, as you can’t control other people. Resolve to be free of the betrayal.
You then need to forgive your ex-girlfriend and your former best friend.
To forgive them both, take a piece of paper and write every single thing they did to hurt you. After writing each, write I forgive you.
Say that you forgive them out loud.
After you’ve written everything you can think of, write that you wish them well, and take a deep breath.
You’ll likely feel that a weight has been lifted off your chest. That was the burden of the pain you are now free of.
Afterwards, I recommend you burn the letter to symbolically let it go.
Once you’ve forgiven them both, if you ever catch yourself thinking badly of either of them, remind yourself that you’ve forgiven them and let it go. If you’ve given yourself proper time to do the above steps, the thoughts will quickly dissipate.
Your next steps
How you approach the situation after you have completely recovered is up to you. Personally, I had difficulty trusting the friends involved, and I realized it was better to make new friends.
It may also be possible to reconcile with your best friend depending on how long you were seeing your ex for. I was able to reconcile with one friend, who I am still glad to keep to this day. Of course, he had to earn my trust back.
Your situation may be different, so it’s important to make sure you’re completely recovered so you can approach the situation with logic. You’ll make a much better choice on what to do afterwards if you’re in a calm and relaxed mindset.
Going forward, it’s worth it to clearly communicate with your buddies that you don’t think it’s appropriate to chase after your ex.
Be straight up about it. If they’re really your friends, they won’t go after your ex, and will resist any attempts she makes to come onto them.
This is not the type of woman you want to be in a long term relationship with. If your best friend is dating your ex who you still love, stay away.
If a woman does this to you, don’t let her walk back into your life. From experience, she will hurt you again. Use her as an example of what you don’t want in a relationship as you learn and grow going forward.