Case Of The Ex: Should You Tell Your Friend What Her Old Boyfriend Is Up To?
“They’re on vacation together.”
The group text message popped up on my phone on an otherwise uneventful Thursday afternoon. It was from my best friend Angie whom I’ve known since freshman year of college. I immediately knew exactly who “they” was, but another friend included in the text responded “Who????” “Eric and Tasha,” was Angie’s terse reply.
Eric was the love of Angie’s life. They were that off-and-on couple for years who was never truly “off” nor officially “on.” After college, Angie went back to their hometown and Eric moved to mine, which is about two hours away. Eventually, their interactions became fewer and further between and I had erroneously assumed both parties moved on. Eric had met Tasha in college back when he was still playing games with Angie’s heart. He was set on being a ladies’ man back then and Angie reluctantly cut the cord. Tasha, on the other hand, held on for dear life – outlasting at least three other women – and now she and Eric are Facebook official.
In fact, it was Facebook that gave Angie her latest update on Eric’s life when she spotted a picture on her newsfeed of him in Cabo San Lucas with Tasha. Judging from her emotional text messages to our small group of friends, she was devastated. I knew she wasn’t completely over him, but I was surprised at how much the vacation pictures affected her. Then again, as someone who has had my fair share of pseudo-boyfriends who were ambivalent toward me yet miraculously gained the desire to openly commit to someone after I finally walked away, I know how much it stings to see someone you loved showing more love to someone else. Angie already knew that Eric and Tasha were together, but there is a difference between being together at the movies and together in Mexico.
Her reaction to the Cabo pictures is why I’ve hesitated to tell her the latest information I discovered when I recently bumped into the couple. Tasha, who has been dating Eric long-distance for the entire time they’ve been a couple, just transferred her job and moved down the street from him. She and Eric don’t live together, but I can imagine they may eventually move in together and/or get engaged. No one relocates for someone they’re not serious about.
After talking to Eric and Tasha in the store that day, I wanted to immediately whip out my phone and text Angie an “OMG GUESS WHAT!” but I stopped myself because I didn’t want to potentially ruin her day and especially not through a text message. Nobody wants to hear that her ex is getting even more serious with a girl she knows and doesn’t like. I’ve been hoping that Eric will come up in our conversation so I can casually bring up the news, but he hasn’t. My dilemma is deciding whether or not I should volunteer the updates on her ex-boyfriend’s new relationship or if I should just let her find out some other way and pretend I didn’t already know.
This is when friendships get tricky.
On one hand, I feel I should just stay out of it. My job isn’t to bring storm clouds on a friend’s sunny day. On the other hand, I feel like I lost my option to stay out of it when I found out and now, I have to tell her lest she find out in a less-than-ideal way.
I tried to put myself in her shoes and decide if I would want my friend to tell me what my ex is doing. I concluded that I would. But, when I was single, I was also the emotional cutter who found out an ex was getting married and proceeded to spend 45 minutes looking at his and his fiance’s Facebook, MySpace and Twitter profiles. I’m not the spare-my-feelings type woman at all. Still, this is a tricky situation.
I was out to lunch with a mutual friend the other day and asked if she told Angie about Tasha moving here. I was hoping that this friend was cool with being the bearer of bad news. She wasn’t. She shook her head, “Nope. I was going to…but I just don’t know.”
I don’t know either!
What I don’t want to do is present the information like she should be devastated. Maybe in the past several weeks, she’s moved on and thus doesn’t want to hear about what Eric is doing. I also don’t want to present the information like she shouldn’t care thus minimizing her legitimately hurt feelings. Honestly, I don’t want to present the information at all. I want her and Eric to get back together and for Tasha to disappear into his past. Or, even better, I want her to move on to some guy who’s so great, she’d only respond to the news with “Who’s Eric?”
What would you do in this situation? Would you keep your friend updated on her ex’s life? Or would you let her live in blissful ignorance?