The Ex-files : When… staying friends with an ex

Let it be known, that I am one of those people who is still friends with her ex . I guess I find the whole notion of ‘we didn’t work out, you no longer need to exist’ a bit harsh. I feel that (in a lot of cases) although there was some connection there, it just wasn’t enough for it to remain a romantic one.

Of course, there are people who are just not comfortable being friends with and ex, and that too, is more than normal. We all have our own ways of dealing with relationships and we all have our own boundaries and limitations as to who we have in our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, my husband is not plagued by an array of visits from exes coming over at our house for dinner or anything. I can safely say I am really good friends with only one or two still… and although these guys are still in my life, I am pretty darn lucky I have a partner who is secure enough to be ok with it.

In saying that….. I do support there should be a few boundaries in place in order to remain friends with an ex.. .whether you have found someone new, or if you are still single… I believe certain rules do apply…

1)      Stop having sex! Everyone has heard of ‘bonus night’ and it can indeed be an effective way to get some form of closure with one last ‘bang’ if you will, but this does not apply if you continue to have ‘bonus night’ for the next 3 years… you may be officially single and unattached.. but the fact of the matter is.. if you continue to sleep together, but not ‘get back’ together, it means you’re just keeping each other busy until someone better comes along. You won’t meet someone else or open yourself up fully (emotionally that is, get your head out of the gutter) until you stop sleeping with your ex.

2)      If you do decide to stay friends…take some time apart after your break up… it is important to take a step back and re-assess who you are without this person and how they will fit into your new life without them as your ‘other half’. One can’t just go from ‘boy/girlfriend’ to ‘just a friend’ overnight… these things take time… and it’s ok to allow for it.

3)      When they move on, and find happiness with someone else… support them! You would want them to do the same for you, yes ?! Sure.. .there might be some form of resentment, or just that wee bit of jealousy (you’re only human after all). But it didn’t work out between you two, and if you want to keep them as a friend in your life, you need to take their new partner as part of that life. That doesn’t mean you need to be BFF’s and share inappropriate stories about how your ex prefers to make love with their socks on… but you can show an interest in who they are as a person… at the end of the day the main question is : Do they make your ex happy? (because that’s all that matters)

4)      Don’t call your ex more than you do your own partner. It is super cool you are still able to chat about many things, and having a good friend in your life who knows you so well is fantastic, but make sure that your partner remains your priority.. there is nothing more off-putting then you on the phone jabbering away to your ex while your partner has had the movie paused for about 40 minutes now … they won’t be impressed (you wouldn’t be either if the tables were turned).

5)      Make sure you and your ex are on the same page !!!  It needs to be super clear that your current connection remains platonic, and you’ve officially ‘friend-zoned’ each other. There is nothing worse than a love unreturned and you don’t want to place yourself into an awkward situation where your ex is secretly hoping your new partner will be called away on some covert government mission, never to return… (or vice versa for that matter.. if you want to get back together with your ex, and they don’t, you can’t be just friends.. why put yourself through that anyway).

At the end of the day, some friends are in your life for the long haul (regardless of how they came into your life to begin with) and some just drop by for a quick stop over, and that’s more than ok as well 🙂

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