Dog in this hunt: stake in the outcome.
My position on any given personal situation, especially big ones like relationship endings, is to determine if I have a dog in that hunt.
Meaning, does this have anything to do with me?
What does this have to do with me? is a completely clarifying question. So let me explain:
When I got divorced the first time, most of our friends remained available to us both. If we wanted them in our life, they were there. It didn’t matter who was the “primary” friend. Our relationship’s demise had nothing to do with them. And we didn’t make them choose. They realized they did not have a dog in that hunt.
When I divorced my rebound husband, his parents stayed close to me. In touch. Now, I’m sure there were many and complicated reasons. But also they said that they didn’t have a dog in the hunt. It was not their issue. Their relationship with me was separate.
On the other hand, when some relationships have ended. a few people who had been very close to me absolutely disappeared. No note. No call. No card. No goodbye. Just…gone.
I found this exceptionally painful. They had no dog in the hunt at all. But they decided there were sides and they picked one.
I decided then and there that I would never do that to anyone. That if I didn’t have a dog in the hunt, I didn’t have to take sides. If it isn’t my issue, if I am not involved, why would I?
In Sicilian culture, we have something called omerta, which is a twisted form of loyalty. It’s really a Mafia thing. La Cosa Nostra. There are always sides in La Cosa Nostra. Your life might depend on it. (Yes, it exists. No, it’s not the romanticized Hollywood version.)
But. We are not the Mafia. La Cosa Nostra’s rules do not apply. It’s never that black and white.
Besides, I am not really big on loyalty pledges. I think they’re dumb. Outdated. And never take into account the nuances that are just part of life. As you know if you follow me on social media or here.
If we are not involved in a relationship’s demise, there’s no reason why we can’t be generally supportive of both parties. We don’t need to know the details. They’re unimportant. What IS important is that we not ghost someone during their toughest time. Not when we don’t have a dog in the hunt.
The easiest guide to how to be with friends during any relationship breakdown is to ask: what does this have to do with me?
If the answer is nothing, there is no need to choose sides.