Hardcore Curriculum—2/23/2010

Neglectful boyfriends and having mutual friends with your ex

By Chris Chavez

My boyfriend is ignoring me because he has too much work. What should I do?

Anna: When someone is really stressed, something’s got to give. Unfortunately for you, it looks like you were what gave. When you get the “I’m being ignored” beep on your radar, look at the history behind it. Is this a common pattern? Is he around to give you support when you need it, or does he completely leave you high and dry? If so, then you should tell him about the pattern. He may not even realize what he is doing, and maybe only needs a request to be a little more considerate. If he continues to shut down your relationship whenever he has an assignment, you need to reevaluate how this relationship is working for you. Do you need someone who is always around, or do you like having those moments of space? Do you need his support when he is stressed (because you are, too), or can you wait until his period of stress is over for that comfort? If you have the patience, wait it out; he’ll appreciate it. If you don’t, you might want to rethink this relationship. This school runs in stress mode, and you deserve to be with someone who will help you in the way you need.

Chris: While your boyfriend may disappear from the grid every time an important problem set is due, the problem may not necessarily be that he doesn’t care for you enough to pay attention to you. For starters, most people I know struggle to manage their time when they are single and unattached. When you add a relationship to the mix, you suddenly have to balance your friends, your homework, your RSOs, and, of course, find time for the beau. He may not realize that he’s pushing you to the side because he hasn’t quite figured out how to balance all of his responsibilities. So, here’s an easy solution: Sit down with him and let him know what’s what. If he actually is struggling to balance his time, there’s no better person to help than you. Of course, as Anna hinted at, he may not be all that into you. If you realize that he’s not at least trying to give you what you need in the relationship, it’s probably better to jump ship and find a new beau.

My ex and I have a lot of friends in common. How do I continue to be friends with those people who we became friends with together, or with mutual friends I met through my ex?

Anna: Breaking up is hard, but it is even harder when your friends take sides. Hopefully, no one did this during your breakup. If you had a somewhat clean end to your relationship, and your friends stayed out of it, you don’t have to do too much work to stay friends. Keep in contact with the mutual friends, but stay away from the topic of your ex. Don’t press them for information about him/her, and be courteous when they do mention something about him/her. If your breakup was messy, you have your work cut out for you: You have to prove to them that you aren’t the heinous hell-creature that your ex is probably making you out to be. You need to present your side of that breakup, and you have to accept that these friends may not want to be as close to you as they once were. The best course of action in a bad situation like this one is to wait a bit and try to stay friends. Give it a little time—everyone becomes human again with time.

Chris: Now that you and your ex are already over, it might be a little too late to change what your mutual friends think. No matter what you do, people will naturally tend to choose sides in this situation. You just have to remember to keep calm and collected. If your mutual friends turn on you just because you and your ex broke up, you can find better friends to replace them. While Anna talked about how to handle the situation you are in, you can do some things pre-breakup to minimize the damage. First of all, when you are breaking it off with your beau, don’t let your friends hear it second hand. Sit them down face-to-face and tell them yourself. Secondly, avoid any and all personal attacks. Bitching about all your beau’s missteps is a surefire way to ensure that you’re going to turn some people against you. Just remind your friends that you don’t want to lose your friendships along with your relationship.