Here's the Best Way to Handle It When Your Exes Become Friends (With Each Other)

Here's the Best Way to Handle It When Your Exes Become Friends (With Each Other)

Sure, they may not have ever been together conspiring against you like in Imposters, but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable.

By Delaina Dixon

The last thing you want to hear after a breakup is that your ex has moved on. Could there be anything worse? What about learning that two of your exes have found common ground and are forging a friendship based on the ashes of your former relationships? Ugh.

That’s exactly what we've been seeing on Imposters. In case you're not up-to-date, Maddie, a beautifully seductive con artist, left a string of exes distraught and penniless (which they discover via video message after she's long gone) ... and her clueless boos went search to seek closure and accidentally ran into each other while sniffing out her last known location. And, as they revealed their own truths, they formed an unlikely bond.

“We tend to connect based on shared interests and beliefs,” says psychologist Shaelyn T. Pham, Ph.D., author of The Joy of Me: The Art of Being Selfish. “When it comes to going through difficult times, we want to know that we’re not alone and that someone out there knows exactly what we’re dealing with. In this case, the shared sentiment over the break up can help the exes feel understood and connected.”

Of course, it’s easy to understand why Maddie would want her exes to steer clear of one another (a.k.a. to avoid lengthy jail time and being murdered by her mysterious boss only known as “The Doctor”). But Dr. Pham points out that none of us really have that right, saying “you have absolutely no control over what your exes choose to do.”

Sure, most of us don't have exes that band together and confront us over a con, but the same feelings can come about by something as simple as seeing your exes chatting together at a party. Do you try to make their new twosome ... an inclusive threesome?

“You may want to ask yourself, why are you still investing your time into this matter? You did break up with them for a reason. You didn’t want to invest any more of your time or energy into them,” says Dr. Pham. “It may be best just to let them be and for you to move forward living your life. There’s no need for you to reestablish and engage in the negative interaction that you’ve chosen to step away from in the first place.”

While Maddie won’t be able to truly let go of any of her exes until The Doctor is off her tail, the same thing is true for exes that are still connected to your larger friend group. The best thing to do is ignore them. Dr. Pham, says, “They are your exes, don't make them more special than they need to be. People become friends every day. Move on, live your life. Why not be happy for them?”

And Dr. Pham's advice if you go in the opposite direction and decide to approach them? “First, I’d say don’t react. Reacting is typically being irrational without thinking,” Dr. Pham explains. “Responding to situations usually has a more favorable outcome compared to reacting.

Second, you should ask yourself, how are your exes being friends negatively impacting you?  It may feel uncomfortable but the reality is that it doesn’t harm you. Additionally, you can ask them why they are together ... but what right do you have to demand them to do anything?”

We’d like to think that this newfound friendship between your exes would be in an innocent vein — but we realize that some exes may have joined forces to see your (emotional) demise. If your breakup comes with another unexpected turn later (like when Jules realized that the version of Maddie that she married had actually also been married to men), this could lead a vulnerable person to become laser focused on acting out a revenge fantasy.

If you do find out that your exes are teaming up to bring you down, “then be thankful for that new revelation because this would further validate why you two broke up in the first place,” Dr. Pham declares. “You don’t want to be with someone who’s vindictive. Leave it be and let them do as they please. Stay noble. If you make the choice to entertain them, understand you’re entering a war that you may not win. Is it worth the risk?”

We'll need to see how this season turns out to answer that question.

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