Being Friends With Your Ex.

  When you first break up with someone, for females, the immediate reactions is to text their girlfriends and dish all the bad gossip out. Even if it is slightly exaggerated. Why the heck do girls do this? Because they are hurting. This is how most of the younger, twenty something population adjusts to the fact they now have to change their status from "In a Relationship" to "Single" on Facebook and deal with the 19 comments an hour of ":(" or "whaaaat?" and even the "good for you" comments. It's painful to deal with.

   Fast forward a few months when you can no longer stuff one more spoonful of Ice cream into your mouth and you've literally talked so many smacks on your ex that your friends are starting to avoid you. This is slowly when you undergo the transition of initial shock of a break up to "Oh my God! I'm single, yeah!" And then just as you're really getting into enjoying single life ... it happens. That oh so familiar text alert rings and your heart starts racing. You haven't heard that text alert in... Wait, was it a week ago? Two weeks ago? A year? Wasn't it during that date you were on and you seemed to have taken it as a sign at the time, but brushed it off?

  A "Hey, thinking of you, hope you're well" every once in a while from the ex can do one of two things. One - it can rope you back in. A few simple texts here and there turn into lengthy conversations (that 9 times out of 10 will turn into a conversation that pisses the other person off) but before you know it you start thinking about what the two of you were, and why did you break up again? Or you can continue the short conversation here and there and eventually establish a friendship realizing you two just weren't right for each other as boyfriend/girlfriend but fabulous as just friends.

  Wait! What did I just say? Total concept most people can't seem to get their head around. Being friends with your exes. But for me, and I've said this before, I love getting to know the person I'm dating -- the thrill and excitement, making memories, the whole nine. So for me to treat an ex like a gangrene limb just doesn't happen for me -- I mean, seriously, how can you avoid it? (Please do not ever Google this if you have a weak stomach! Ew.)  The answer is, it can't be avoided. At one point or another you need to make that decision to remain friends (treat your nasty limb) or be an amputee for a little - realizing that with each relationship, an ex takes a little bit away from you. 

   Personally, I always opt for the friend route. Every guy I've ever dated -- remains my friend. It's not that I'm keeping them on the backburner.  On the contrary, I at one point in my life, established a great relationship with them where I trusted them and enjoyed their company. For me, after you go through the sad part of a relationship, after you delete their number, delete them from Facebook, delete them from your life and take time to reflect on what happened, you can do this... that's when you realize if you can be their friends or not. And most importantly, you have to make sure there is no emotional tension still there. If you still feel some, distance yourself until you don't have the urgency to hug them or do something stupid. Give it some time, come back later, and try again.

   Being friends with your ex can be intimidating to a new person you're letting in to your life, but for me, if they aren't confident with what they have to offer/are bringing to the relationship table and are too busy focusing on their friendship with an ex, then they just aren't worth it.  The key to any friendship with your ex is the same as any regular friendship once you spend some time apart and accept you'll only have a friendship. Those keys? Well, to me, a friend is someone who offers support and comfort when you need it, someone who is devoted and loyal (so when you are going through a breakup they'll be there to talk you through it.... or buy you icecream, however you handle it best).  But a friend will speak constructively, tell you the things you don't want to hear, but should.  And mostly they'll help you through whatever it is you're going through. If your ex can be those things, then regardless of where you left off romantically, I'd say you did a pretty swell job at holding on to a great person in your life.

2 Thoughts:

Anonymous said...

As much as i agree with you, sometimes it can be very hard to let go of the past and stay friends with an ex. What happens when in the relatioship, you were never friends?

Jessy said...

I have a question for you: I keep old memories and photographs of my Ex's, but I never look at them. I don't think about how I miss them or anything. However, my current partner is threatened and is frustrated with the pictures. He asks me, "If I am the one for you, why should you have those photos?" I reply that nothing in life is permanent and until we sign marriage papers, I don't know if it is permanent. His ultimatum: the pictures or him. Do I throw away and delete my past relationships or do I keep them just say I did until I am ready to throw them away? I wouldn't be upset of he had pictures of his Ex's, but what do I do? I want to give this relationship its best shot, but what if it doesn't work out? A little advice would be great!

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