by Chris Bamidele
When I see people who try to befriend their exes for whatever reasons, I simply tell them they shouldn’t, because staying chummy with a former flame can seriously affect the foundation of existing romantic relationships. Interestingly, it goes both ways: Having warm thoughts about an ex decreases the quality of current relationships, while low relationship satisfaction can also create some seriously warm thoughts about an ex especially the one we used to love so much and shared many unforgettable moments.
Even after an amicable breakup, it’s extremely difficult to be friends, at least initially. Most people cannot remain friends after a breakup, but if it will ever be, it will be later – much later. The atmosphere immediately following a breakup is too emotionally charged for it to happen right away, if at all. Also, if you’re the one pushing to be friends after a break-up, perhaps you’re trying to avoid your grief or you want the benefits without the responsibility. And if you’re on the receiving end of a “let’s be friends” agenda, just be honest with yourself and with your ex if you don’t want to venture into that realm. You don’t need any long-winded explanation.
My last relationship left me badly bruised and battered after my ex abandoned me and got married to someone else when things went a bit bad for me at work and my finances suffered. But four months into her marriage, she called me to apologize, and I simply told her there was nothing to be sorry for, since life is all about choices and she had made hers, and that I had forgiven her and forgotten about whatever she did wrong. She later asked for us to be friends again, requesting that I let her know when I would be getting married so that she could come around and celebrate with me; I promptly and politely declined the offer. Not because I hated her or anything, but staying in touch regularly with an ex especially if the love was really strong at some point, is a capital NO for me.
Truth is, if you truly and totally love someone, your heart never really stopped loving them or caring about them. But once you have both decided to go separate ways and move on with your lives, there is no reason for any of you to start pushing for friendship, because if one of you still harbours a glimmer of hope for the relationship, (which is most likely) being platonic friends may prove to be difficult.
But if you still insist that there is no big deal in being friends with your ex, or you must stay in close proximity with them maybe because you both work in the same organization or something close to that, you might want to keep these rules in mind.
- Keep it platonic:
No sex, no kissing, no hand-holding, no flirting, no dates, no monkey business at any time, ever.
- Clear emotional boundaries:
Being friends with your ex can be a minefield. So, when you are feeling down, or having emotional issues, going to your ex who is now your friend is the wrong move. Simply don’t go to him/her. Keep the friendship simple and without too much emotional entanglement. If you must talk, talk only about shared interests.
- Seek out a love life if you don’t have one:
Date other people, don’t pretend to be friends with him/her while you wait for him/her to fall in love with you again; if you do that, it’s not truly a friendship, you are just a “Julius Beggar” begging for love. Sorry to break it to you this way.
- Don’t analyse your relationship with your ex:
Avoid analysing your relationship with your ex turned friend. Do that with your other friends, your therapist, or your journal. Because the more you analyse your current relationship with your ex, the more room you give to your ex to exploit your feelings and the instability in your relationship to take you on another fruitless ride.
Just so you know, the rules above are for people who truly believe they can still be good friends with their exes and still be happy in their relationship. But for me, there are only two rules:
Rule #1 – There’s no such thing as “just friends” between a man and a woman who have previously been having regular sex with each other, or where at least one of them is sexually attracted to the other.
Rule #2 – First learn rule number 1
In conclusion, holding on to ex-lovers, who has seen you naked, and whom you remember their sexual touch, is a way of not fully letting go. And being in a new relationship while keeping an old lover around as “a friend” begs for trouble; and can cause great distrust, because your partner might also wonder why this particular ex is so important that you can’t fully break things off. So, save yourself heart ache, make new friends, and keep the past where it belongs – in the past. Friends are easy to find, true love isn’t. So, stay away from being too friendly with your ex, it is a recipe for disaster. Stay Safe.
Chris Bamidele blogs at www.ChrisBamidele.wordpress.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.