Of mostly all things, men value loyalty highest.
Friends don’t like friends to be friends with their enemies. In a 2005 public dispute, rappers 50 Cent and The Game severed both business and friendship ties because of mismanaged loyalty. 50 Cent felt The Game was disloyal for saying he didn’t want to participate in G-Unit’s feuds with other rappers and wanted to work with the artists with whom the group was feuding. This mentality takes me back to the fifth grade when I didn’t want my friends to be friends with the girl I liked, because in the fifth grade when you liked a girl you acted like she was your enemy. But I’m an adult now. So if I like a lady, she’ll be the first to know. And once she finds out, we may date. And if we date, we could break up. And just because she breaks up with me doesn’t mean my friends have to break up with her. Or do they?
In friendships, relationships, or business partnerships, a strong allegiance is mandatory if you want to be respected or taken seriously. But loyalty can sometimes push us in corners we don’t want to be in and don’t know how to get out of.
Here are a few scenarios to consider: Mike knows Sally from work and thinks his friend Bob would like her. He introduces them and they hit it off and marry, but years later they divorce. Does Bob now expect Mike to disassociate himself from Sally?
Second scenario: Bob meets Sally at a coffee shop. Bob begins dating Sally. The relationship becomes serious and they take it to the next level. Bob brings Sally around friends and family and they all become a very tight knit group. Sally cheats on Bob. Bob breaks up with Sally. Does Bob expect his family and friends to also break up with Sally?
In the first scenario, Mike was already a friend of Sally’s prior to her relationship to mutual friend Bob, so Bob can’t seriously expect Mike to just end his friendship with her. In the second scenario, Bob’s associates became close to Sally as a result of her relationship with Bob. In both scenarios, Sally is left out in the cold because of “loyalty.” But once the decision is made to take a relationship to the next level and involve friends and family, you’re basically signing an invisible contract stating if things don’t work out, friends and family can remain friends with an ex if they choose to.
I had a relationship that ended badly and felt my ex didn’t deserve the benefits of being in a relationship with me. My family was included in those benefits. You don’t continue receiving paychecks after being fired from a job … not if I’m the boss. But as I matured, I stopped having ill feelings toward exes. I understood that dating is just an elimination process and breakups will eventually lead me to the one I’m supposed marry. And they did!
I polled my followers on Twitter and one said, “It’s okay to remain friends with a friend’s ex if there’s a mutual and amicable parting, or if the couple is mature/honest and both only want friendship.” Another said, “It’s cool, as long as my friends understand how to keep my personal business out of the conversations.” Another said, “Sure, someone’s got to tell him how great I’m doing.”
Gentlemen, this is for you: It’s difficult to determine the intentions of a lady in this scenario. Some exes will try to be cool with you as a way of keeping tabs on her ex. If she’s in town and calls you to connect, contact your friend and let that person know about it. If you don’t it can appear disloyal and suspicious. Remaining loyal and talking everyday are totally different connections. If you weren’t super cool with his ex during the relationship, don’t try to be after. That’s shady. If the decision has been made to maintain a friendship with a friend’s ex, never bring up his past or put your friend in a compromising scenario. When maturity is involved, it is possible to be loyal to two opposing people. Just don’t invite them to the same events and give your buddy a head’s up if you know his ex will be in the same place he plans to go. That’s what friends are for.
Ladies, this is for you: Eyebrows will be raised if a friend of yours maintains a friendship with an ex who was disrespectful towards you in the relationship, but just because your relationship ended doesn’t mean theirs has to. A wonderful man may not be so wonderful in a romantic relationship so it’s almost impossible to compare a man in friendship to a man in love. However, a true friend is wise enough to respect your feelings, understand what affects you and make decisions that add value to your friendship. You never know what bothers someone until you communicate. Create conversations about how it’s going to work and put all cards on the table face up.
Each scenario has to be examined differently and some will agree to disagree. At the end of the day, it’s your life and you can live it how you want to. But there are always consequences for your actions.
– Enitan Bereola, II
Bereola is the go-to style and etiquette impresario, public speaker and entrepreneur. He is also the bestselling author of BEREOLAESQUE: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette book for the Urban Sophisticate. He is working on his follow-up, Guide to Ladies’ Etiquette from a Gentleman’s Perspective. Check his website Bereola.com and @bereolaesque on Twitter as well as his Facebook fan page