Are You Friends With Your Ex?

16 September 2013

All my exes live in Texas.  Or down the street.  Whatever.  Today, we’re chatting about exes.

Specifically, do you think you can you be friends with someone you’ve had a relationship with in the past? Someone you dated casually?  Someone you loved? Someone you had a crush on?  Someone you were married to?

And how does your spouse feel about it?

I am always intrigued with how other relationships work.  Exes can be such a touchy subject.  Jealousy can be problematic.  Mentally not being over someone can be problematic.  Comparisons can be problematic.  And sometimes, as is the case for many people, being friends with your ex isn’t problematic at all. 

Does it matter if the person is happily married to someone else or if the person is single?  Does it matter how much your spouse trusts your ex?  Does it matter how well your spouse knows your ex?  Maybe they’re even friends?  Is someone you dated for a month in college before you decided you’d be better off as friends less of an issue than someone you dated for five years?  Maybe anyone in the ex category is an automatic veto?

And does it matter to what degree you’re friends with your ex?  Facebook friends?  Hang out in person friends?  Is there a line drawn in the sand somewhere that relegates all exes to a cordial nod at the grocery store?  What if you and your ex have a lot of mutual friends and run into each other often?  What if you have a child with your ex?

Neither Dave nor I were married or had kids before, but we both dated other people, some seriously.  I am friends with some of my exes.  Dave, not so much.  He is friends with some of his old crushes, but no one he’d say he was very serious about.

Double standard?  Probably.

We never really had a big conversation about it while we were dating.  We were friends for months before and he knew that I had ex-boyfriends who were friends, but was never bothered by it.  At that time, he was only friends with one of his exes.  When we were dating, she ended up crossing a whole host of boundaries that he wasn’t comfortable with {honestly, I wasn’t either} and aside from being nice and saying hello if he runs into her, maintains no contact.  Not even Facebook.  Which?  More than OK with me.

For what it’s worth, there is only one person from my past I thought he might not be cool with.  So even though he’s never asked me not to, I don’t maintain any contact.  When I discussed the topic of this post with him, I asked  Dave if that was really the case and he confirmed that he feels better that we aren’t.  So I’m good with my decision.

Some of our couple friends have a zero ex policy and some don’t care at all.  Are you friends with your exes? Is your partner? Did you have a discussion about it? 


Cyndia said...

I was married to someone else for 12 years. We had two children together. While the divorce was not "easy" (what divorce is?), for the sake of the kids we tried to be as amicable as possible. After all, there was a reason we once got married. It was really hard the first couple of years but gradually we were able to become friends again. That was over 20 years ago. It has served us really well now that the kids are grown and live in other states. When they come home, we all get together; I'm married again, this time for 20 years. He has not remarried, but brings his longtime girlfriend. We even occasionally lunch together, just the two of us. My mom still considers him to be family. And he and my current husband are fairly friendly, with no jealousy.

My daughter told me she loves that she doesn't have to split her time going from one parent to another when she visits. She's in the Air Force and has very limited visits home. Her friends are incredulous as many of them have parents who don't even speak.

Now my husband has an ex-wife and has no children with her. Theirs was a very contentious divorce and they do not have any contact.

I think when one has children it's best for them if the parents can get along well despite not being together any longer. It's always the children who suffer if that isn't the case.

jen said...

Funny, because this actually recently came up in our house. An ex asked to be my friend on Facebook. I have other ex-boyfriends on my page so I didn't think it was a big deal, and I accepted. My husband saw it and became very upset. He said that with anyone else it was fine, but with this particular ex, we had too much history. (he has history with him too, they were once friends) At first, I didn't get it. With time and a few more talks, I have come to understand it better.

Renee Anne said...

I am casually friendly with a couple of my exes (including one that I had anticipated marrying after college) but I wouldn't say we're buddies or anything. There are a few that I don't speak to and never wish to speak to again. One of them I know to be a lying, cheating, douchecanoe...he cheated on me, he cheated on his forever-longtime-on-again-off-again-girlfriend (now wife), he cheated on every girl he dated. I feel horrible for his wife because she KNOWS what he is and what he does but she stays married to him anyway. I don't buy the "he's changed" bit.

But now we get to the weird part. My first love was in Husband's and my wedding party as a groomsmen. A girl that Husband dated, who is also one of his best female friends, was also in our wedding party. It worked out just fine.

Just A Normal Mom said...

When I got married (a million years ago) I was very close to my ex's family. Mostly because I owned a horse and they kept her at their property. Said ex had been in the military, so it really hadn't been an issue. Then he moved back, but it seemed okay - a little weird at first, but not bad. Their entire family was invited to my wedding (because, duh, it would be weird to exclude just him). This was back in the day of film cameras and we had those disposable cameras on all the tables for guests to use. When we had them developed, there was a shot from their table (completely posed) where my ex was staring at us on the dance floor, with his chin in his hand looking miserable. THEY thought it was hilarious, I might add.

Tyler's Times said...

I have a child with my ex and we live down the street from each other so we have to communicate. I would not call us friends, it's more like a business. However, I have had more than a few exasperated comments from my current boyfriend about how well my ex and I get along. He doesn't understand it since he hates his ex-wife and my son doesn't understand why his Daddy and me can't live together since we never fight. Mind you, his father is remarried with a 3 month old baby and my son still doesn't get why we can't be together. Complicated and heart-breaking at the same time. Everyone else is on Facebook and at a very safe distance many states away.

Jennifer said...

Neither Chris nor I had sex before we were married so we didn't have a sexual relationship with an exes. I'm glad that component isn't there. Chris was facebook friends with one of his old girlfriends. Turns out she's a little bit nuts and he's glad he didn't pick her. I had a very, very good friend who I always thought I would marry. I am facebook friends with him and his wife. I'm glad to know he's happy and make comments on his cute kid photoes occasionally. But, He lives in California. I haven't seen him since his wedding 15 years ago. But I'm really glad he doesn't live closer because I don't think I could be in person friends. Our connection, though not physical, was very strong. I often wonder what would have happened if I had married him.

Jamie said...

My husband doesn't "do" social media- but I wouldn't be cool with him chatting with his ex...that is probably why I don't "friend" any of mine. Leave the past in the past.

Why exes can never be friends said...

I am not and i think in very rare case friendship is sustain after breakup. Many of us don't start dating immediately, most of time initially we are friends and then slowly we get into dating but breakup finish it all and its harder to become friends again as there is always some discomfort.

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