Real Relationships: Taking sides

I recently had a question posed to me about "taking sides" after two friends break up. Whom do you give allegiance to? Whoever you have known longer? Whoever wasn’t responsible for the breakup? Whoever you have more friends in common with? Some of my best friends have come from a male friend’s new relationship. I appreciate it when these relationships last, because then I don’t have to choose sides. If the unthinkable happens and they do break up, I have to ask myself these questions: 1. Was I good friends with one of them before they started dating? If so, I have to take into consideration my history with that person. 2. Is one of them really good friends with my husband? I know this question seems petty and shallow, but let’s be honest, the longer you are married, the more important it becomes that all your friends be liked by your spouse. 3. Can our friendship stand on its own two "single" status feet? Often I have found myself good friends with a girl because we do so much as "couples," but after a breakup I realize I would never hang out with her alone. If we can’t hang out alone, then you’re probably not one of my best friends. and finally… 4. Whose company do I enjoy more? Despite every question I have […]

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Real Relationships: Who Gets the Friends?

There are a number of lame decisions that you have to make about your life when you break up with (or divorce) your significant other. One of the worst decisions to be made is how you deal with mutual friendships. Most couples have other "couple friends" or mutual single friends that are part of a group. Well, how awkward is it (particularly if the break-up was messy) to continue to hang out with your mutual friends if your ex is there as well. I suppose it is only awkward if you make it awkward, but consider how your friends must feel. Where does their allegiance lie? Are they trying to figure out how to split their time between the two of you separately, but equal? When they host a party or plan a group dinner, do they agonize about the invitations and how they can avoid being put in an awkward situation? Are you going to get mad at them when they pick your ex over you and stop inviting you to functions? Let’s be honest, there is absolutely no ideal way to handle this situation unless you and your ex broke up but are still besties. Your friends get caught in the middle until someone makes a decision about who they want to stay friends with and you get dropped from the picture. It […]

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Ask the County Law Librarian – Who gets the Engagement Ring in a Break-up?

Q. I have been with my girlfriend for a long time and we got engaged on Valentine’s Day. I saw text messages on her phone I didn’t like and asked her about it. Now she says I am jealous and broke off the engagement, but she won’t give me the ring back, even though I asked her a bunch of times. How can I make her give me the ring back since she is the one who broke my heart? Dwayne A. Sorry to hear about your situation, break ups can be hard on everyone. Believe me you are not the first person with this issue. In fact, California has enacted a law that covers this topic. The California Civil Code § 1590 states: Where either party to a contemplated marriage in this State makes a gift of money or property to the other on the basis or assumption that the marriage will take place, in the event that the donee refuses to enter into the marriage as contemplated or that it is given up by mutual consent, the donor may recover such gift or such part of its value as may, under all of the circumstances of the case, be found by a court or jury to be just. The donee is the person who is receiving the ring, while the donor is the […]

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Real Relationships: Be That Woman

Q: I have recently broken up with my boyfriend of five years. In some ways it was heartbreaking, but in some ways it was just time. We grew apart and decided that there really wasn’t a future for us as the people we had become. It still hurts though. Now I feel like I am lost and don’t know what my next move is. I am 32, single and don’t remember how to start looking for someone to date, not even sure if I want to. I am scared of being alone for the rest of my life, though. I am not sure what my next move should be. A: I am sorry to hear what a painful time you are going through right now. It sounds like the decision you and your ex-boyfriend made was the right one. Staying in a relationship that is not moving forward just because it is comfortable is the wrong decision. As for you next move, I think you need to give yourself some time to heal before you go running out looking for your next relationship. You also need to learn how to be comfortable alone. I know it is cliche to say you need to "find yourself," but that really applies in your situation. It sounds as though you lost your independence in your last relationship, and […]

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Real Relationships: The public break-up

After being out of town and unplugged from social communication for over a week, I have decided to use this week’s column as a little op-ed piece regarding a very touchy relationship subject: the ever-so-awkward public breakup scene. The only reason this is so fresh in my mind is that, during my vacation last week, I was caught in the tornado of one of the worst public breakup fiascoes I have ever seen. No, I was not breaking up, but my tablemates were. What started out as a pleasurable evening of watching UFC at a local pub in Long Beach turned into a horrible display of awkward, loud, hateful (and drunken) insults spoken by Miss to her Mister. My party of four had been seated with this couple in an effort to conserve space in the room. They seemed pleasant enough, if not slightly into their cups when we arrived. We shook hands, introduced ourselves and made conversation while watching the fights. She had mentioned that they had broken it off once before for several months but had gotten back together and were so in love now. They seemed happy. I thought we were having a great time until the look on the girl’s face started to turn dark and scary. You think you can imagine what happened next, but really you had to be […]

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Real Relationships

Q: I have a super tough decision to make. I am currently dating a girl that I would consider my best friend in the world. She is great. We have been dating for nearly four years. There isn’t much wrong with our relationship except one thing: I am pretty sure we aren’t actually in love with each other. So here comes the tough decision part. Do we break up because we can never see ourselves actually getting married, or do we stay together because we fear losing the single most important person in our life? I don’t know what to do. I can’t lose her, but I don’t want to ruin our chances of actually finding someone we are in love with. A: Wow. Seriously, seriously hard question. Hard situation. I am not even sure I have a good answer for you. I can say one thing: You should never stay together with someone you don’t see a future with because you are afraid of what will happen if you break up. That isn’t fair to you and it isn’t fair to her. Let me ask you this: Do you know for sure she feels the same way? Do you both feel like, even though you are the best of friends, you just aren’t "MFEO" (“Sleepless in Seattle” reference: "made for each other")? If that […]

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