Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Should we keep exes in our lives?

Alisha: I have a girlfriend who makes a point to stay in touch, even though she's married, with her ex-boyfriends. She thinks it's important to be friends still.
Deirdre: WHY?!
Alisha: Because they shared portions of her life and they meant something special to her. ... I can see her points. I'd like to stay in touch with one of my exes but he prefers not to have anything to do with me because it's "too hard" for him.
Deirdre: Girl, there are men in my past that I wish would just fall off the planet. But I have to say, while I wish most of my exes the best in life, I really don't want to have a relationship with them.
Alisha: You can never have too many friends in this world. And there are so many varying levels of friends, that there's got to be a place for exes in there.
Deirdre: Tell me this: Does your friend's husband have a problem with his wife still calling and e-mailing old boyfriends? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, she could be mistaken for keeping backups in case the man she has doesn't work out.
Alisha: As far as I know ... the husband knows and has met all the exes, and he's totally cool with it. They're secure in their relationship. It's all about not letting go of the person as a friend, and leaving the person as a lover in the past.
Deirdre: I can't say I agree with your friend's decision. While I admire her ability to end her intimate relationships on sanguine enough terms to still be friends, I question the need to keep all those men in her life. And I wonder what effect the presence of her emotional past will have on her marriage.
Alisha: I think it just comes down to some people can delineate friendships from sexual relationships of old. If her and her husband is OK with it, then, what's the bid deal?
Deirdre: It's not the sex that worries me. It's the emotional connections.
Alisha: Why? With every person we befriend, we're going to establish some type of connection, even on the platonic level. Why can't two people understand and accept the way things are?
Deirdre: Lish, it's always fun to talk to you, because at some point I usually wind up saying this: You're being logical. When it comes to matters of the heart, logic often takes a back seat. I think most of us know the right thing to do, the logical thing to do. But you can't control how you feel.
Alisha: That's my point, though. If person A is married and she wants to be friends -- and friends only -- with her exes, then, what's the issue? She's controlling how she feels by saying, they're just friends.
Deirdre: I can understand wanting to remain on good terms with an ex. But once it's over, I think it might be best to leave the past in the past. Am I saying ignore that person if you pass them on the street? No. But making a point to keep in touch with someone because you once had a romantic thing with them is not the answer. Your friend wants to keep these men in her life because they meant something special to her. MEANT. It's like there's a part of her that will always be looking backwards, not ahead.
Alisha: What's that saying, "Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it." ... Totally dropping your exes just because they're labeled as an ex is disrespectful to him or her as a person. Now, if things ended on bad terms - for either person - that's a different story.
Deirdre: You make some excellent points. But I say you can learn from your past without keeping it in your present. And you and your partner can agree you don't belong together and amicably go your separate ways. Do I think exes can remain friends? Sure. I guess the point I want to make is, question motives. Why do you really want to keep this person in your life? And why do they want to stay? A little introspection can save a lot of wounded feelings.
Alisha: The key is to be honest with yourself, your significant other and your exes. If you are, and you communicate those feelings then there's nothing wrong with keeping exes as friends.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha I think if anyone was being honest with themselves they would not want their spouse chit chatting with an ex unless the ex is on their death bed or the other spouse is doing their share of chit chatting. To me is a big sign of disrespect of your own marriage....

Anonymous said...

Exes are exes for a reason. I think that as we get older and mature in relationships that it also becomes more difficult to "just be friends" with an ex especially if you are in a committed relationship now. Most exes have ulterior motives and they are purely for selfish reasons no matter how the ex will try to justify the "friendship." I have been on both sides of the fence and I have no desire to befriend my exes nor befriend my boyfriend's exes. How can you live in the present when your past is lingering around?

Rod said...

I must agree with Dierdre on this one. Exes may still be friends, but in the context of a marriage, must be very casual, distant friends. It's about keeping your spouse as your number ONE relationship, and by a very large margin.

Anonymous said...

One of my exes became one of my best friends. That was, of course, after not speaking for a year. We realized that we didn't work in a relationship because we're too similar, which works well in a good friendship because we share experiences and give good advice. His girlfriend knows about me and tries to be very friendly with me. My boyfriend knows about this, and while he's not up to being friends with my ex, he accepts the few times I need to him. Eventually, I stopped looking at him as an ex, but only as my friend.

Anonymous said...

I guess this is one of the reason why the divorce rate is so high these days. What happened to the days when people RESPECTED their marriage and relationship. Anon 5:13 shouldnt your friends being your boyfriends friends also. Scary world....

Anonymous said...

All my exes live in Texas.

Anonymous said...

Exes are exes for a reason and it is a person selfness that allows them to believe they need to stay in contact with their ex. They are only looking for trouble when they allow the ex to stay in the picture. If you have children with your ex, then that would be different.

Anonymous said...

My mother and father were together for 13 years before splitting 12 years ago and they are still each other's best friend. They share me and a lot of years of togetherness so I guess they still look to each other. That being said, my father has not had a significant relationship since they split because he doesn't feel like he can go there with another woman. My mother has had several serious relationships, but now that I am into my twenties, her most recent boyfriends are having a lot of trouble with their closeness even though these boyfriends have not been left out. My mother has even brought her boyfriends over for parties at my Dad's house. As an unbiased observer I can say that it is very possible for exes to have strong and lasting friendships, but I have to agree that it is at a cost to any present or future relationships no matter how open you are. I personally would not stay in a relationship with a man who couldn't let go of an ex even if it was only friendship.

Anonymous said...

ok, I have read these comments - I have to disagree on a few things - first off I'm an ex - and my ex and I had a hard time in the beginning and I left a 21 yr relationship with him - but we have moved on - we communicate - sure it's hard - but we have our new partners take part in all communication and having to be part of family functions - I don't see why ex's can't be friends - if you're open with the new partner - explain that all decisions are discussed between the partners - but the over all decision will be between the ex and yourself - as to be being friends - there is always that bond - that won't leave no matter - you just have to make sure that the new person in your life has first priorities before the ex - you can't always run to the ex if something goes wrong - it's up to you to be the grown up and deal with it - sure you might want their opinion - but you better first go to the new partner - communication is the key folks - use it - don't be so foolish and always run to the ex - sure the 2 of you should be friends - but draw the line - don't confuse what you should have had in the beginning with what you have now - because if you had this type of relationship when you were together - then you would have never broken up - you can't go back once you leave you stay gone -you move forward - don't carry the past with you - let your ex move on just as you have to move on - sure keep the friendship - but draw aline