Can You Really Stay Friends With An Ex?

Illustration for article titled Can You Really Stay Friends With An Ex?

An article in the generally ridiculous British tabloid The Sun gives ladies advice on how to have "good ex-iquette" — i.e., how to handle an old flame with grace. Sex scribe Emily Dubberley insists that being friends with an ex is possible if you do things like avoid drunk dialing, "have self-respect", "be nice to his new girlfriend", and don't "be a bunny boiler" which apparently is some random UK slang for total psycho. Her last bit of advice may be the only part that makes sense: "It can be easy to fall into the trap of trying anything to stay close to your ex, but this isn't generally healthy. If staying in contact is messing up his life, or yours, don't be afraid to walk away." Because isn't staying friends with an ex is a near-impossible task if you ever really loved them?

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Of course, if there are children or pets involved, you kind of have to suck up your feelings and remain civil for the sake of your shared responsibility (see the train wreck that is the Mills/McCartney divorce for how not to act). But if you've emerged from a relationship without any warm-blooded dependents, what's the point of staying friends? Seems like people who stay bff with their exes are either a) still smitten and trying to get back together, b) totally masochistic, or c) reasonably narcissistic and fluffing their egos with the idea that their exes are still in love with them. (When we've made an effort to stay friends with someone we had deep feelings for, we'd end up calling them all wastey at 3 in the morning and telling them how much we missed "us." Yeah, not so healthy.) Some people manage to remain civil acquaintances with exes, but is it possible to maintain a non-dysfunctional super close relationship with someone after you've lost that loving feeling?

How To Have Good Ex [The Sun]

DISCUSSION

smijca-old
smijca

Totally in the camp with those people who need a looong time to pass before I even consider friendship.

For example, one of my first boyfriends tried the whole, "let's be friends" angle but I wasn't in any condition to be anybody's friend at the time, much less my ex's (I totally gave him the cold shoulder after the break up and would only contact him when I was going through something with new boyfriends who were being asses so I was totally being bitchy and wrong and karma has bit me in my ass for it) and it just was not fair to him. Not to mention that I was so that girl who got jealous whenever he mentioned a new girl even though I was the one who had broken things off. Yeah, I hated me too.

We disconnected, I grew, matured and became a lot less crazy and we've just recently begun e-mail correspondence and it feels nice, and comfortable and totally platonic. Because he really, really was a great dude for whom I care deeply.

Now, the current ex was an ass, is an ass and I'm currently in "if I don't see you any time soon it will be too soon" territory but I'm kind of, sort of being forced into being friends with him because my BFF is trying to salvage her relationship with her boyfriend who just so happens to be my ex's bestest friend and I'm going along for moral support and all that. Honestly. Well, that and so that I can show that I can be civil and compartmentalize all of my emotions in a neat little box and store it away in the darkest dungeons of my soul. And with that, I've totally gone into 13-year-old cheesy poetry territory. :)

Point being, I just am not the type to be friends with someone I had passionate feelings for until I'm certain that those feelings have died with certainty. Once indifference and/or sincere, innocent affection kick in, well, then, I'm all set to go.