Over the past two years I have dated two men who took up a lot of my time. A lot of that is my fault. This last breakup around, the first grief I felt was for the group of friends that I naturally had an in with. I became particularly close to one friend of my ex's, and she is the one who arranged a last-minute birthday dinner for me because I'd ended the relationship just a few days earlier.
She's having a New Year's party, and loves to throw events like that because she just bought a fantastic house. I told her - and she seemed sad at first, but understanding - that I would not like to be invited. It's not just that he will be there (though I really, really like to avoid exes for as long as possible). It's that I feel the need to step out of that group altogether if I'm really going to move on and build a life for myself. I'm sure her first choice was harmonious existence for all, but that's not right for me. I told her that I would like to remain close with her and have a separate, new kind of friendship but no longer attend group events.
Tonight she came over and I gave her a Chanukah gift and lent her some books to take to the beach over Christmas. She stayed and chatted for a while and invited me to a party on Saturday that involves a whole other group of people she's barely connected to. I feel so happy and reassured that she accepts the way I need to deal with this and that I am not losing her. It was a tough decision to make - I wanted to keep her in my life but I was taking a risk she would resent my terms, and I'm also acknowledging that keeping a lot of those mutual friends isn't going to be right for me. And that's fine. For a long time I didn't accept that I need to go scorched-earth on the exes when I can.