same topic, new spin?

after reading an [url=]entry of leeya’s[/url] recently, i felt the need to reexamine the issue with being friends with your ex. many people have just as many opinions about what the right thing to do is and i’ve been thinking about that myself.

i think that i take a rather different approach to the topic of maintaining a friendship after a break up. sure, it all depends on the situation, but i do not believe that there is anything inherently impossible or wrong with being friends with someone that you dated. now, truth be told, i do not really share a very close relationship with any of my exes right now. there are a few that i wish i could keep in more regular contact with because whenever we do spend time together the friendship that we share is stronger than many of my other friendships. but life, for whatever reason, has just made it such that it is either inconvienient or not worth it to make the effort.

some relationships i’ve had with some people are best left forgotten. maybe it was too traumatic, maybe it was too painful, but there are some people who i make no effort at all in maintaining a friendship because it just wasn’t worth it for me.

as leeya points out, if a friendship is one-sided, then you really have to question why you are continuing to make the effort to stay friends. but for some people, a one-sided friendship is all that they really want or need. they are completely satisfied with the friendship, even if they are making all the effort. this is how i feel about dido, britney, and lexa doig. my relationship with them is very special, though completely one-sided. but this is true of any friendship, be it with an ex or otherwise.

but the question posed is “what is the point?” for one to consider maintaining a friendship with their ex means that you still value their friendship, without the emotional entanglements. leeya asks can you settle for less? i don’t really see it as settling for less. just because you were in a once loving relationship doesn’t mean that being friends is a step down. maybe, for whatever reason, the relationship just wouldn’t work out. that’s completely plausible. maybe this is just an evolution in your relationship from lovers to friends. i believe that the potential for being a great friend is still there. i don’t think that you have to be really close friends to be able to “salvage” a friendship out of a broken relationship. i don’t see it as salvaging something from something else that was once greater. maybe you will work out better as friends than you would as lovers.

when it comes to emotional baggage, i think that it does take a level of maturity to be able to set aside the feelings that you had for someone and to pursue a friendship with them. you cannot continue to hold on to feelings for the other person and hope to have a friendship with them. it just doesn’t work like that. some people will never be able to put aside their feelings for another. that can’t be helped either.

but it is sad for me to think that just because you’ve dated someone, if things don’t work out, you will automatically outcast them from your life forever. maybe that’s the easier way to handle things. maybe that’s why it happens so much. well, most breakups don’t end amicably anyway. and it’s a lot easier to forget the person than to be friends with them if that friendship will be a reminder of what once was. i guess that’s really the heart of the issue: can you get over the fact that you dated the person and do you have a desire to be friends with them?

there are two people that i can think of who i dated and who i would enjoy having a great friendship with. with the first person, it seems that her situation will never really ever let this happen. there are circumstances beyond my control that just won’t allow us to be friends. it’s a pity, but such is life. with the second person, whenever we do find the time to chat we do enjoy this certain bond of friendship that sets us apart from others. it’s an easygoing banter that we have that i do enjoy. but our communication is far and few between, so our friendship is more like a smattering of correspondences throughout the year.

i guess my point is that i don’t believe that being friends with an ex generally means that you are carrying emotional baggage with you. it’s more a matter of getting over your emotional baggage before you can pursue a friendship with that person. there’s a difference between being friends with an ex because that’s all you can get and being friends with an ex because you want their friendship. if you are being friends with someone hoping for more, then your motives are not pure, and continuing this friendship could go down an ugly path.

2 thoughts on “same topic, new spin?”

  1. What is the big deal with being friends with ex’s? Everyone is going to have an ex.

    I think it says a lot about two people to be able to share a closeness and then put the past to rest to pursue a friendship. It really depends on who these people are and what they meant to each other. If it was a sexually charged relationship based purely on physical chemistry then maybe there isn’t a foundation to last. Maybe the two people are too immature or they harbor too many feelings to truly accept what has happened.

    Each person has one thing that will draw their line, but it’s a sad state of affairs to say that no one can be friends with someone they have had a relationship with….

  2. Thanks for your post, wilco. It helps me better understand the situation I’m in with an ex-lover. He and I met one night at a party and what I thought was a one night stand was the beginning of a four month sexual “relationship” and a membership to a close knit group of friends. He was recently divorced and had no desire for a relationship, and I was OK with that – until I fell for him, of course. He’s a kind, generous man, and I fell in love with his personality. I had to end it two months ago and he said he didn’t want to lose my friendship or the sex, but he couldn’t do a relationship at that point. Though it’s been painful, I have made an effort to keep in touch with him and try to talk to him. I saw him most recently Friday night, and he said our new situation was taking some getting used to, and he said he didn’t want us to stop talking to each other. Thus inspired, I left him a message inviting him out for a coffee, which he hasn’t returned, and now I’m morally certain he won’t. Now I think I understand, and I think it’s best for both of us. I still love him and I would like something more than friendship with him, and he probably still has some conflicted feelings for me. There’s no purity of motive on either side – I really like the way you put that. Sometimes I feel that I have reached that point, but then I see him again and I realize that I still want him as more than a friend. As long as that’s the case it won’t work.

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