An honest dialogue about love, life, and everything in-between...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Case of the EX

2:39 PM |

...can ex-es truly be friends

In an ideal world when relationships end, one would hope that the friendship built over that time will continue to grow and flourish. That there will be no hard feelings and that the two involved can be mature adults and accept the fact that the relationship is over and move on. However that is not always the case. Break-ups are tricky and sometimes more than not, end badly. With all the history made between the two, can ex-es truly be just friends?

Generally speaking there are four types of break-ups: 1) Break-up due to infidelity; 2)Fighting or all out hatred of the other person; 3) Mutual agreement that things are just not working out; 4) Blindsided by one of the parties involved when there was no indication that anything was wrong. While there are other reasons couples call it quits, in the world that doesn't move, these are the most common. How you break-up often sets the tone for whether or not two people can be friends at the end of the relationship.

Those who break-up due to infidelity is one of the trickiest of the "friends" relationships to develop. Often this type of break-up leaves the friendship potential soley weighted on how the infidelity was revealed, how much the two care for each other, and how willing the scorned one is to forgive and let go. Usually one person is hurt and the other, if they are a good person, feel badly that they hurt the one they cared about. This can often leave residual feelings and, under the right circumstances, can lead the two to be in compromising *wink, wink* positions; thus erasing the "friends" tag from the relationship. This type of break-up can also lead to a substantial hatred among the hurt and no friendship, no matter how long ago the infidelity may have occurred, will be able to be developed.

Those who break-up due to fighting and all around hatred of each other should not be friends. I've had many friends who have come to physical blows with their former mate. Some just generally hate the other person. Yet they still talk to this person occasionally and say that they are trying to be friends with this person. Why do you want to be friends with someone you despise? It defies logic. Agree to be cordial and civilized in public and move on.

Mutual break-ups are the easiest to form a friendship out of. Both parties involved usually agree that things didn't work for them as a couple and can clearly place the other in that "friend" category easily and with out strings. Usually they don't hate each other, nor does one have the desire to continue to try and have a relationship with the other. This is the ideal break-up for the "ex-es and friends" relationship.

To my poor blindsided break-up victims, I must say that I'm sorry you were unaware that your relationship was in the toilet. If the person that broke-up with you is sensitive and cares at all about your feelings then they will often attempt to continue to be friends with you. Take some time away from this person. Evaluate your life, your goals, etc. Find other people, get involved in activities, start to date again and then if it's possible for you to truly just be friends with this ex, go for it. Do not agree to this until you have had time to get over the person and can truly be friends with out strings. Do not take this persons attempt to maintain a friendship as a open back door to their heart. Your attempts to find your way back will often only lead to a bigger hurt than the break-up. Those who have called it off are to respect the fact that the other person probably still wants to be with you. Be clear with your intentions and don't lead them on. If you notice that things are still sticky, be honest and cut all strings. They are not ready to be just friends.

Overall I think it is possible for people to be friends after a relationship has ended. However it is purely on a situation basis and depends on the maturity level of those involved. I think anyone wishing to be friends with their ex has to be clear on what that involves and make sure not to blur the lines. And when it does look like no friendship can be forged after a break-up, people must be able to let it go. Take the experiences and the lessons learned from the relationship and move on.


Kim said...

You know this topic is near and dear to my heart. (Yea, I do have one of those today :-} ask me tomorrow and we'll see.)
It can happen, exes can be friends. But it like anything else worth having takes work.

First it takes having a break from the person, and then a mutal agreement (an honest one, not some secret ambush for their heart) of what the friendship will be. Remember we are talking friends, so we're talkin honestly. You know that just might be why you ended up not together in the 1st place.