I’ve seen it happen many times. I’ve been directly involved and impacted by it several times.
There are situations in which we lean toward one person or another. Sometimes it’s because of our existing relationship; other times, it’s because of our comfort. We might have a better rapport or more history with one person. We might be more deeply invested in one person.
That all makes sense, but it is not a reason to stop conversations with the other person. In some cases, the person you might be in contact with will get defensive about you having contact with the other person and might even ask (or demand) you cut off contact. Be careful when this happens. It is often an attempt to control the flow of information and give only the pieces of the puzzle he or she want you to have.
It’s a difficult situation to be in, but consider why it is important to ask questions and listen to others.
Communicating with more than one person in a confusing and delicate situation doesn’t presume you choose a side. But even if you do, because you are understandably more loyal to one person than the other, your concern for that person might be the very reason you need to connect with the other person. Listening to more than one perspective gives you pieces that will help you best help the person closest to you (not to mention, it shows respect and kindness). Limited perspective means limited help and impact, and that leads to limited health for the person you love and your relationship with him or her.
If you stand firmly on the fragmented pieces you have because you are limiting your conversations and questions, you might take action and give advice you believe is sound, but it could do more damage and prolong healing for the person you love.
Of course, if you believe you are unable to approach each person involved from a healthy and respectful perspective, you need to pause. The best way to help someone else is from a place of your own health and respect. If you are withholding conversations for unhealthy reasons such as codependency, rationalizations, or dysfunction, be very careful in your interactions with the person you love. You could heap damage onto an already difficult situation. In your attempt to affirm and encourage the person, you could affirm unhealthy patterns and discourage truthful accountability and growth.
How well you care for those you love who are in turmoil matters. You won’t be perfect in your efforts, but keep your eyes wide open. Move forward with discernment and care—for yourself and others.