le book club divorce

Reader M. E. writes:

I just went through a pretty nasty break up with a girl. She has some really cool friends that I still want to hang out with. Actually, as weird as it sounds, she got me hooked on this really great book club that meets once a week, and I don’t want to quit going to the book club just because we broke up. I really like the people I’ve met there, and I have a great time every week when I go. It’s honestly the highlight of my week. What do you think?

Dear M.E.:

Are you insane?

And I’m not saying that because a book club is the highlight of your week.

I’m talking about the awkwardness you are going to cause yourself and everyone around you if you insist on continuing to go to an activity where your ex gf will assuredly be, with people to whom she introduced you, and to whom she has probably talked in large amounts about how much she currently hates you.

book club

These people are dead to you now. Image: br3akthru / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here’s the deal in bad break ups: the only classy way to go through one is to relinquish any non-mutual-before-you-dated activities, friends, or places to the ex, especially for the first few months. If she had a favorite bar she introduced you to, tough cookies, pal, you should take it off your list. I’m not saying you can’t go anywhere in town anymore, but if she had an absolute favorite dinner place she took you to, you should probably eschew going there for a while. Even if her friends actually want to still be friends with you, the right thing to do is cut ties as much as you can without being uncivil. Sure, stay Facebook friends with them. Hang out with them in casual settings and say hi to them when you run into them in public. But do not deliberately show up in a place where your ex is supposed to be and hope her friends are going to choose you over her. Because that is exactly what you’d be doing by going back to that book club. And that is terrible.

The fact is, in break ups, and especially really bad ones, one ex must demonize the other ex entirely, or it’ll just hurt too much. One of my therapists once told me I should just have ex-bashing sessions with my friends to help me get over the break up. You are officially a monster now, and the whole book club has probably heard it. Showing up to the book club knowing full well that it is your ex gf’s activity and that she will probably be there only makes you more of a monster. Why would you want to be so monstrous? And why would you want to hang out with a bunch of people who now officially get an earful as often as possible about how much of a monster you are?

It’s hard, I know, but if the break up is really as bad as you’re saying it is, your presence at the book club is going to be awkward for everyone there, not just you and your ex. Why drag yourself through the drama? I’m sorry to say it, but you lost the book club in the divorce.

I’d like to think that we are all adults, and the adult thing to do after a break up is just carry on with life as we know it. That would be an ideal world. We don’t live there. Save yourself a lot of drama and awkwardness and whatever other bad things could come your way, and be the bigger man. It is far more adult of you to relinquish this book club than to make everyone uncomfortable and angry by insisting that you get what you want all the time and nobody else’s feelings matter.

The bright side is: there are plenty of book clubs in the library. And even if that’s the only book club in town, you should be able to find a new activity that will satisfy your social needs without having to drag those book club friends (not to mention your ex) through your mucky drama. If her friends were the only people you were friends with anyway, you’ve got bigger problems than thinking a book club is the highlight of your social week.


2 Responses to “le book club divorce”

  1. 1 daveousity
    November 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    When I was i in Lawrence my first semester, the only friends i had were those who i met through my girlfriend at the time…And I wish I had a book club to go, because that would be the highlight of my social calendar.

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