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Feb 28

Should you be friends with the ex?

Posted on Monday, February 28, 2011 in dating, Happiness, Honesty, Relationships

Sean and I went out to dinner at D’Angelo’s on Friday night and as we walked in, I saw Sara sitting with a guy at the bar. I thought she was maybe giving Yoga Man another try, but when we walked up to her and he turned around, I recognized his face right away — it was Gabe, a guy she had a hot an heavy thing with a few years ago before they parted ways.

After some small talk and a round of drinks, we headed to our table and they headed to the movies. But as soon as Sean left the my house the next morning, I called her.

“What in the world are you doing with Gabe? You guys seeing each other again?”

“No, we’re just friends, why?”

“I thought that whole thing ended badly.”

“Not really. We weren’t great lovers but we were always really good friends. So, we get together every now and then. Aren’t you friends with your exes?”   

Actually, no. I’m not friends with most of my ex-boyfriends. Oh, I tried. Most of us have had the “We can still be friends” talk, although whoever says that is usually trying to make the person he or she’s dumping feel better. Sorry, it doesn’t work!

There have been a handful of exes I kept in contact with for a while because I enjoyed them as people and a few as lust objects. But all good intentions to remains friends eventually disappeared when it seemed clear that:

  • they still had feelings
  • I still had feelings
  • a new love was getting tweaked about them
  • we had nothing in common anymore except the fact that we once exchanged bodily fluids

And sometimes we lost the connection because I have just X-amount of free time available, and given my priorities — The Kid, Sean, my girlfriends, my family – and the realities of work and single parenting, I just didn’t have a lot of time and energy to keep those relationships going.

Which can seem kind of weird, especially if you were seeing each other for a while and had a deep connection. And then one day — poof — just like that, you no longer communicate. Still, breakups are rarely happy, pretty things — there’s almost always a lot of crying and Ben & Jerry’s and booze involved.

But for those who do maintain friendships with exes, you have to be pretty clear about why you’re remaining friends. It’s totally OK if you genuinely like each other as people and no longer feel the spark, but if it’s not that, well, what is it?

You better have that figured out, too, because when a new love comes along, you’ll have some ‘splain’ to do. And you’re unsure why you still are friends, then you may find yourself maintaining the friendship on the sly. I’m not sure we have to tell our partner everything, but if you’re not it’s a good idea to understand why you’re not. Even if you do invite an ex to join you and a new love, it can be awkward — you’ve seen each other naked, after all!

So, am I friends with my exes? Not really. The only ex I keep in contact with is Rob, The Kid’s dad — because I have to. But we are hardly friends; we’re just friendly. And I imagine that once The Kid moves out, marries and has kids, Rob and I will only communicate with each other at family celebrations — and nothing like in the movie “It’s Complicated,” either (whose message is, ex-hubby is unhappy with present wife and cheats on her to be with wife he cheated on. Hmmm …).

  • Are you friends with your exes?
  • Why/why not?
  • If so, how have your new loves felt about that?
Feb 21

Don’t dump me that way

Posted on Monday, February 21, 2011 in Advice, dating, Honesty, Men, Relationships, Women

I had just sat down with The Kid for dinner when my cellphone rang. I never answer the phone when I’m dining — that’s what voice mail is for — so I ignored it. Then it rang again. And again. And again.

Then I started to worry; what happened?

I looked at the missed calls — it was Mia. So I called her back.

“What’s wrong?”

All I heard were heavy sobs and a lot of nose-blowing.

“Mia, you OK, honey?”


“What about Rex? Is he OK?”

“He, he, he dumped me!”

“He what?!?”

“He dumped me, on, on, on ..”            

“On what?”

“The phone. He dumped me by phone!”

I nearly dropped my phone. Mia and Rex have been seeing each other for years. I knew they had their troubles recently but, what couple doesn’t? Regardless — you don’t dump your long-time sweetie by phone. Or do you?

I was as horrified as everyone else when Britney Spears sent Kevin Federline packing by text a few years back, setting the stage for millions of  texting dumpers. But that was just the beginning; now people are breaking up by Facebook (since when is his status
) and Twitter (are 140 characters enough?)

What’s the proper etiquette on how to kiss someone goodbye forever? Can texting “We R through” or “U R history” or something pithy like that ever be the right thing to do?

Sure, according to a Male Call column yesterday that gives ground rules for modern-day breakups.

Texting is OK  if you’re been dating less than a week. You’re not even worthy of that if it’s only been a date (although neither seem much like a relationship and therefore not much of a breakup, right?) Still, that leaves a lot of people— the ones who no doubt felt some sort of a “connection” —  wondering, what happened?

OK, well, maybe no one owes you anything after one or two dates — unless your date said, “Let’s make plans again soon” when he/she knew there was no way in hell that was happening. Still, people do that; that’s just messed up.

So, how do you handle breakups? Here’s what else Male Call says:

  • Marriage of longer than two days: Weeks or months of couples therapy is appropriate, which will serve to remind you both of all the reasons you shouldn’t be together any longer.
  • LTR, featuring living together and commingling of assets: Face-to-face talk, especially revolving around who gets the elk antler coffee table (him) and who gets the friends (her).
  • Six months: Still merits a face-to-face encounter, preferably at her place. If things go south, at least she’ll be smashing her ceramic unicorn collection instead of your pristine set of NFL snow globes.
  • One to three months: This is phone-call territory. No need for detailed explanations — get in, get out, nobody gets hurt. Oh, sorry. That’s just a saying. And don’t leave the news on her voice mail. Unless she’s really hard to get hold of and you’ve tried, like, two times already.
  • One week: Sit outside her house and text her from your car.
  • One date: Think fondly of your time together as you dial another girl’s number.

I’m not sure I agree that you can break up by phone after one to three months; a lot would depend on whether you were seeing each other the traditional Friday-Saturday nights or if you were screwing each other silly seven days a week and twice on Sundays. That might require some face time. Otherwise you’re going to send a lot of nice women to Ben & Jerry’s needlessly.

Actually, I think once you’re actually exchanged bodily fluids — and it wasn’t a mutually agreed upon one-night stand — then you owe someone a call.

  • How do you breakup with someone?
  • Do you have your own guidelines?
  • What’s the worst way anyone’s ever dumped you?
  • Ever regret the way you’ve dumped someone?
  • Is it OK to text, Facebook  or Twitter a goodbye?
Feb 14

Real men don’t cry

Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 in Honesty, Men, Relationships, Women

“So, how’d it go with Yoga Man?” I asked Sara as we sat at Starbucks for a morning-after date recap.

“He’s kind of cute …” she said noncommittally.


“He’s funny …”


“Totally fit, obviously …”


“He’s pretty smart …”


“And he turned all Bohener on me.”    

“He what?”

“He cried.”

“He cried? Did he stub his toe or bite his tongue or  …”

“No, he cried because he was telling me a story that made him sad.”

We sat there in silence for a minute or so.

“Oh,” I finally said. “Well, that’s kind of sweet.”

“Kat, there’s nothing sweet about it. He’s too emo.”

I’m not sure I agree with Sara on that one. Why can’t men
cry? Isn’t vulnerability  and sensitivity what women
want from men?

When Sean cried in front of me the first time, I thought,
wow, here’s a man who’s emotionally open and comfortable enough to show his soft underbelly to me.
I think it shows a level of deep trust.

If anything, I felt honored. (I’m not sure he feels honored when I blubber in front of him, which I’ve done frequently enough, however, but that’s another story.)

In many relationships, crying — a woman’s crying, that is — creates a dilemma, not deep trust. Men don’t know what to do with it. “Oh, God, she’s on the rag!” they fear. Or they feel manipulated by it (and, yes, some women do cry manipulatively). And sometimes, I suppose, they feel helpless: “How can I fix this for her?”

Worse, a recent study discovered that a woman’s tears actually turn a guy off; the smell decreased their testosterone levels. Gals, please remember that!

But when a guy cries … well, it’s a sign of weakness many women can’t handle. (Although, ironically, in politics when men tear up, they’re seen as being compassionate; when women do, they’re seen as weak.

“I wear my emotions on my sleeve,” House Speaker John Bohener says, defending his tears. “I’m not going to apologize for being emotionally attached to the things I feel most strongly about.”

OK, John, as long as you know that many women — guys, too — are going to think that sleeve belongs to a wuss.

  • What do you think of men crying?
  • What about women?
  • If you’re a guy, are you OK with crying in front of a woman? A man?
  • Gals, ever cry to manipulate things?