It can be awesome sharing a friend-group with a partner — until a breakup. Then it gets complicated! Southern Charm’s Naomie Olindo and Craig Conover learned that the hard way when their dating history interfered with a group trip to Colorado. Naomie refused to go because her new boyfriend, Metul, wouldn't be there and her ex would be. (Hear more about it in the After Show clip above.)
The Charleston friends aren't the only ones who have been in this situation: The Vanderpump Rules crew have gone through the same predicament over the years, as many of the SURvers have dated other SURvers, too. Figuring out a working dynamic when your exes are in your own social circle is important — especially regarding group trips.
Personal Space spoke to dating and relationship coach Crista Beck to learn how to navigate this challenge and be able to join friends, if desired. Here are some ways you can manage the challenge of joining a group trip with an ex.
Going on a group trip shouldn't be an automatic deal-breaker if your new partner can’t go, even if your ex is included because “as long as they are part of the friend group, that’s fine.” Beck suggested speaking with your new partner as soon as it comes up — “I really want to go on this trip with my friends, what can I do to make you comfortable with it?”
This strategy is effective because it lets your partner know what you want, and also gives them the power to tell you what would make them OK with the plan, too. Being transparent is crucial because “spending time with an ex can be a trigger” even in a solid relationship.
Beck also suggested “reinforcing how much you want them to be there. Make sure you tell them how you wish they could come.” Also make sure to explain that you want those experiences because your “friendships are really important” to you, too.
Letting your partner establish some relationship boundaries is a good way for them to process your trip with your ex, such as agreeing to only hang with your ex in a group setting. Beck explains it’s a good idea to not “do things alone with them as a form of respect for your partner.”
Vanderpump Rules exes Kristen Doute and James Kennedy learned that lesson when they spent time alone on a group trip, and rumors of unfaithfulness got back to both of their new partners who weren't there. Avoiding situations that look shady is the best way to be respectful to your new partner, so they don’t feel uncomfortable. Setting times to talk during the trip, or keeping them posted, also helps them feel part of the experience.
Talk to Your Ex
Beck suggested taking some time to talk to your ex before the trip as well, to set clear expectations of what your new partner feels are appropriate preparations for the trip. It’s OK to say, “I’m requesting that we not be alone together on this trip,” so that they know where you stand.
In Naomie’s situation, her ex had been speaking badly about her new partner, which fueled her desire to skip the trip. Beck stated, “It’s disrespectful if someone is talking badly about the person you are dating." It’s OK to confront your ex about it. Beck suggested saying, “I heard you talking badly and I don't appreciate that. I'm in a good relationship, can you please stop doing that?”
If the conversation goes well, it's a good sign a group trip won't equate to unnecessary drama. (Note: Naomie did talk to Craig before the trip, which provided some much needed closure for Craig, but it still wasn't enough to make Naomie want to go on the trip.)
Trust Your Gut
At the end of the day, it’s important to trust your intuition. Naomie strongly felt it was best for her relationship not to go, but she would have gone if she were single. She explained “it’s not important enough to me to make Metul uncomfortable, and I know he’s uncomfortable about it.” However, she insisted that Metul wasn't the one to tell her not to go.
Naomie said that Metul told her “you need to do whatever you want,” but she didn't feel it was necessary to go. Beck explains that if you do really want to go on the group trip and it is important to you, there is no reason to refuse just because of an ex. If a new partner says no, “that’s kind of a big thing to say if you are just dating.”
Even if the situation is a little awkward, it won’t necessarily have a negative result. Beck explained, “Sometimes in relationships we have to confront the jealousy we feel.” Going on a group trip with an ex may spark some envy, but it's OK to “let them deal with it in a healthy way.” Especially if you assured them there was nothing to worry about.
She added, “If you have an open and honest relationship, there has to be trust" — especially if you haven't given them a reason not to.
"If your partner can't trust you to go on a group trip with friends, then you may want to rethink the relationship with that person," she concluded.
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