Love them or hate them, relationships are an important part of life.
And when something goes wrong and a breakup occurs, emotions often get in the way of logic. Moving on is hard, especially for certain people.
Let’s face it, everything changes during a breakup. How we spend our days, who we talk to, and even how we relate on social media.
So, if you’re asking, “why is my ex adding my friends on Facebook,” here are 10 potential reasons to consider.
1) Your ex knew your friends before you got together
One essential question to first ask yourself is whether or not your ex knew these Facebook friends before you started dating.
If so, you may find they will stay loyal to your ex even if you developed a relationship with them during the course of your time together. Your ex may be reaching out to them as a type of support system.
These pre-relationship friends may include co-workers, college friends, childhood friends, or any type of previous relationship to your time dating.
While the friend may continue to stay your Facebook friend, they will most likely be unwilling to let go of that initial friendship with your ex.
2) You encouraged your ex to interact with your friends during the relationship
Whether your friend is from childhood or only recent, if you encouraged them to become friends with your ex before the breakup, they may want to continue.
It’s possible they really hit it off, enjoying activities together outside of your couple time.
It’s also understandable that their staying friends with your ex can make you crazy, and at some point, you may have to decide where you stand.
Discuss your feelings with your friends and be open to their responses.
You can ask them not to talk about you with your ex, but there’s never any guarantee unless you wholeheartedly trust your friend. And even then, it might slip out occasionally.
3) Your ex considers them to be mutual friends
As a couple, you both brought friends to the relationship and also made new ones along the way.
Friendship lines tend to blur when you’re a couple. And when a breakup occurs, you both may be wondering who gets to keep them.
Confusion over mutual friendships often occurs in these situations.
Following a breakup, your ex may not even be aware that those mutual friends are no longer interested in maintaining a friendship. Or, your ex may not see that the friends have anything to do with the breakup, so there’s no need to discontinue the relationship.
Try not to drag your friends through the mud on this. Don’t give them an ultimatum.
Instead, express your concerns. What they do at that point is out of your control. You’ll find that your true friends will either tell you why they are still friends with your ex on Facebook or will disconnect from them completely after you voice your concerns.
Sharing common friends can be a challenge, but it can be done. Discuss with your ex or your friends the best ways to make this work.
4) Your ex has something in common with your friends
The motivation behind your ex’s friend request may simply be a way to keep in contact with those with shared interests.
In other words, they all have something in common, such as skydiving, a particular charity, or traveling. It may even be career-related.
When this happens, friends often feel in a precarious position. They like chatting with your ex about the shared interest but feel loyal to you as well. Here is where your friends can practice inserting boundaries.
Ask them to refrain from discussing you at all with your ex or sharing your Facebook posts.
5) Your ex still cares about you
Did you unfriend your ex after the breakup?
He or she may be feeling lost and still cares about you and maybe even wants to get back together.
They genuinely desire to know how you’re doing and will listen in on your friends’ posts hoping to hear some news, no matter how small.
Depending on how the breakup went down, a friend or two may lend a sympathetic ear to your ex also, and they are counting on that.
Essentially, much depends on how you left the relationship, including who ended it. Was it a mutual decision, or did you break your ex’s heart (or vice versa)?
If your ex regrets what happened and wants another chance, he or she may begin working through your friends to get you back.
One method of doing this is by presenting themselves in a good light, so your friends will talk positively about them. They may even put feelers out with your friends to see if there is any possibility of reconciliation. It’s a way of maintaining hope by adding your friends.
Examples of ways this may come about include:
- Your ex is volunteering with something near and dear to your heart, and your friends are bound to mention it to you, putting him or her in a good light.
- Your ex wants to show how successful they are at work or another endeavor that you admire.
While not all exes want to get back together, many do want to remain friends. They may still care about you and want the best for you going forward.
6) Your ex isn’t ready to let go of the lifestyle you had together
Change is hard, and when left outside a relationship, your ex may be resisting change or be altogether terrified of it. Not everyone can adjust quickly.
While you may feel free and ready to move on, your ex is struggling to get over the hurdle of the abrupt lifestyle changes. One way to lessen the blow of that sudden lifestyle change is to keep your friends in his or her life, even if just on social media.
Your ex may be codependent, suffering from low self-esteem, and always depending on someone else’s approval for his or her self-worth. This may even have led to the breakup itself.
Your ex is now floundering, unaware of his or her own needs and how to meet them.
To the extreme, your ex may be unable or unwilling to move on with life. Friends can help with this, encouraging your ex to let go and create a new life.
7) Your ex wants to keep track of what you are doing
Your ex may suspect you are seeing someone else or making plans, such as traveling to that locale you both dreamed about.
He or she wants to add fuel to the fire and find ways to blame you for the breakup instead of something he or she possibly did. This can result in your ex being hurt by finding out you are going out a lot and that you don’t need them to enjoy life.
By continuing to focus on what you are doing instead of moving on with life, your ex is literally stuck.
While you or your friends can try encouraging your ex, ultimately, it’s up to them to accept the situation.
If your ex never showered much attention on these friends while you were together, you can expect his reason for friending them now to be suspect.
This can become obsessive and something you’ll potentially need to watch out for.
8) Your ex is interested in dating one of your friends
There’s always the possibility that your ex is interested in dating one of your friends now that you two are no more.
Instead of just friending one of your friends, he or she may friend several to disguise who is the real interest. Or, it may be extremely obvious, even an attempt to make you jealous.
By following your friend or friends, your ex can find out where everyone is going and plan to run into them.
Having something already in common (you), conversations will be easy to strike up and will go from there.
While you can’t and shouldn’t try to control your friends, you can talk to them about your suspicions.
If you and your ex broke up on good terms, then a mature approach may be not to concern yourself with the dating of a friend. A lot will depend on how close you are to that friend.
9) Your ex is controlling (toxic)
If your ex was controlling during the relationship, that might not end after the breakup.
Dominating over another is a source of power and ego for many people, and if you initiated the breakup, getting you back in good graces will be a win for him or her.
As a controlling mechanism, he may also be inserting himself between you and your friends with the goal of winning them away from you. This is more of a game to your controlling ex than the real desire to win over your friends.
A controlling relationship is toxic, and when it is ended by the non-controlling person, that can cause an angry reaction also.
If your friends choose to stay friends with your ex on Facebook in situations like this, you’ll need to establish your own boundaries with those friends.
10) Your ex is a narcissist
To the extreme, your ex is adding your friends on Facebook because he or she is a narcissist. You may already be aware that you were dating one of these or may just now be figuring that out.
A narcissist is a type of person who has an inflated sense of his or her own importance and an excessive need for high levels of admiration and attention. They usually lack any form of empathy for others.
In other words, everything is all about them.
Breaking up with a narcissist is challenging and if this is you, pat yourself on the back. It’s no easy feat to escape their power.
A narcissist also can’t fathom that your friends would rather stay with you than them. With this mindset, he or she adds your friends confidently. Besides, how can they resist?
Following a breakup with a narcissist, ceasing all contact with them may be your best bet. This includes you removing them from all your social media accounts.
If your friends remain in touch, you may need to take a break from those friends as well.
The key to remember is that not everyone is the same and not everyone handles a breakup the same way.
It’s also true that there are different types of breakups, from mutual understanding to one-sided surprises.
Some are even an escape from a toxic environment. And often, caught in the crosshairs of these breakups, will be your friends.
Before jumping to stressful or angry conclusions, look at the friends your ex is adding on Facebook, and ask yourself:
- Whose friends were they initially?
- Are they considered to be mutual friends?
- Do those friends have something in common with your ex?
- Is your ex attempting to get you back?
- During the relationship, was your ex co-dependent on you?
- Do you think your ex is interested in dating one of your friends or wants to make you jealous?
- Was your ex controlling in the relationship?
- Could your ex be a narcissist?
The most important thing you want to resist doing is putting your friends on the spot.
Instead, find out their reasons for accepting a friendship request from your ex. Ask them to refrain from sharing information about you when possible and focus on moving on with your life.
Hopefully, your ex will do the same.
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If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
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