Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Staying Friends With Your Ex


For most of my life I've been known as the girl who stayed friends with all her ex-boyfriends. How's that one guy you dated for six months your senior year of high school? He's great, just got married. We're Facebook friends.
I never completely understood why there was so much stigma attached to staying friends with your ex. In my mind, you just spent months, or even years, sharing saliva and a mutual love for 80's movies. How do you just walk away from that? How do you break up and just be like "Thanks for all the old t-shirts and new found commitment issues, you sack of shit. See you later."
I never had it in me.
Well, I guess I should say rarely had it in me.
There were a couple of ex-boyfriends that even my sentimental self knew you shouldn't stay friends with.
Like the guy you lost your virginity to.
I mean, what could you possible ever have to say to each other again? "Hey I heard the song 'I just died in your arms tonight' on the radio and then had a bologna sandwich. Takes me back to that sweet two and a half minutes we shared on your parents couch 10 years ago! Hope you're well :)"
No. Just no.
Also, its probably uncommon to remain friends with the person who impregnated you and then left the state, like you were a liquor store he knocked over and the cops had his picture.
Still, the relationships that didn't end of paternal abandonment or you texting all your besties to let them know you'd finally surrendered the old V card, it seemed to me had a good chance of turning into friendships.
I'm learning though, as I get older, that its not as easy as it used to be.
Maybe because feelings in relationships are more intense, or because breakups are typically more ugly, or maybe because as adults we've become more jaded and withdrawn and don't want to continue feeling vulnerable over lunch with someone who's seen you naked, but then decided they'd prefer to see other people naked instead of you, but are still down with having a burger together and talking about the movie they saw last weekend.
Probably with the girl they're now seeing naked all the time.
It really is unfortunate that staying friends with your old lovers is so hard, because some of those old lovers started out as your best friend, and over the course of your relationship, however rocky and regardless of how often you may have lost sight of it, they still were your best friend, you just loved them in an extra way that made you hope to be with them forever. 
When that second, bonus love dies out and you have to move on, wouldn't it be lovely to revert back to the friendship you once shared, and be able to go on as if nothing else had ever happened?
Maybe not as if your relationship never happened at all, but maybe more as if your relationship happened but with someone else instead. Someone else hurt you, lied to you, stopped loving you, not this person. Not your best friend who, when not saddled with the responsibility of being your boyfriend, is actually an awesome friend and person.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could, just for a moment, go back to a time when being just friends seemed possible, and everything wasn't "lovers or bust"?

Who knows. Maybe sometimes staying friends is possible.
Maybe it depends on the person, the relationship you had together and how well you're able to adjust to not being in that relationship anymore.

What about you? Do you stay friends with your ex's? Have you? How did you do it, how did it work, and are you still really friends with any of them now?
Leave your experience in the comments.


  1. I don't talk to most of my exes anymore. Usually things ended badly. But in the end, over much time, things would become at least civil and amiable. It's not like I go and talk to them a lot, but if I saw them in passing I'd at least say hello. So.. I kindof remain friends? haha

    1. So you don't burn their garage down or write Taylor Swift-like songs about them. Fair enough :)