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.”
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?