Breakups suck. No matter how “good” the terms might have been, eventually you’re going to come across something that just absolutely sucks. It might be the first time you see her out with someone new and realize how stupid you were for thinking you could remain friends. Or maybe it’ll be the confusion you’re left when your living expenses have doubled, yet you’re now just one person. Probably though, the shittiest part of your breakup will be trying to figure out what the hell to do with the friend group.
Making friends as a couple is already awkward. Someone always ends up closer to everyone else, creating a weird superior and inferior dynamic to the relationship. If there’s ever a disagreement within the group you can’t just go with who’s right or wrong. You have to make sure you align your views with your partner’s or else you’re stuck with two fights. If you’re the token couple in the relationship you’re automatically obligated to mentor whatever significant others your friends introduce, no matter how insufferable you might find them. There’s also rarely an actual couple’s acquaintance to the friend group. Most of the time it’s one person being drug along to their partner’s friend’s social gatherings.
But if somehow you can avoid all of that cringe worthy awkwardness, God forbid you should ever breakup. The breakup of the couple fractures the friend group at its foundation. All of a sudden the most reliable element to the group is gone, leaving everyone else in a state of uncertainty. It’s like that first night on the island after the plane goes down. Everyone’s thinking about how they’re going to get through this and whether these strangers they’re stuck with can be used to their advantage. Alliances are formed and crossed as people realize who’s an asset and who’s a liability. There’s chaos, confusion, and betrayal, and the question on everybody’s minds is who gets the friend group.
Hopefully the answer to this question is easily solved by the circumstances of the breakup. No one wants to wish infidelity on a person, but if the couple breaks up because someone couldn’t keep it at home that sure does make it easy to decide who gets to keep the group. There’s also the possibility that even the friends are too painful a reminder and one of the exes just ghosts everyone.
Whatever the parameters of the breakup, the friend group is going to get screwed. They’re going to be bombarded with double the amount of endless questions about where things went wrong and whose fault it was and whether this was written on the wall. Get togethers now have to be split between the exes. And even within that, when someone suggests something to do, it has to go through a filter that ranges from “no that sounds too much like a date night” to “we can’t go there ever again, that’s where they first met.”
But things don’t have to be completely terrible. If the friends can avoid the temptation to just break off into catty factions that constantly stab each other in the back, they can use their collective situation to everyone’s advantage. You see, just like the only child of recently divorced parents, those outside the relationship now find themselves the desired beaus in a war for affection. Neither ex wants to lose their friends after having just lost their partner. They’re going to do whatever they can to make sure they get full ownership of the group. The friends may as well milk this inevitability for as long as they can. Find the ex that’s handling the breakup significantly worse and offer to take them out. Their desire for any sort of distraction from their constant misery and loneliness should translate to little to no drinks on your tab. And for the ex who’s actually surviving the breakup? Use all this “discovery time” they’re engaging in and let them buy you lunch or brunch. They’re going to tell you anyway about all the “breakthroughs” they’ve made so you might as well get a meal out of it.
If it were up to me, I’d let the friends decide. Have some sort of Survivor style vote and kick out whichever ex loses. Or give the friends veto power. Make it well known that if one of the exes can’t handle their shit in this breakup they’re getting the boot. Ultimately, it’s the friends that get it the worst during a breakup, so they should be the ones who get to decide which blubbering emotional wreck of an ex they want to still put up with..