Sunday, March 29, 2009

case of the ex

Are you friends with any of your ex's? If so, does this bother your significant other? Is your S.O. friends with any ex's? Does this bother you? How do you deal with it?

Steve has remained friends with several exs (do I need an appostrophe? exs? ex's?). One he considers a good friend of his and this bothers me to no end. I try, I really try not to let it, but I can't help it. She isn't nearby, they rarely see each other, I've never met her. Really though? I have no desire to know her. I've heard enough about their relationship and I don't like the person she was, and from what I've heard, I still don't like the person she is now and I can't for the life of me figure out why she deserves a position as a good friend of his.

I have one ex who I would consider a friend. There is one other ex who I might consider a friend, depending on the day (I won't go into the details....). Steve has met this second guy, as he was living in DC for a while and there was a group of us who would occasionally hang out. Steve hasn't met the first. He is not bothered by either of them and encourages me to be friends with all of my exs (when I saw all, it's not as though there are that many!).

The way I look at it, they are exs for a reason. They had a part in my life, they had their time with me, but now it is over and I don't know that they need to be carried into the future. Some might say that it is a good thing, to be friends with an ex, because it shows maturity, that you can move past problems and keep them in the past and move on. While I would maybe agree with this, it still bothers me that part of his past is also his future, because frankly, I don't want that past as part of my life. I don't want them visiting here and staying in my home. I don't want them seeing my children, holding and touching my children or my puppies. I just don't want them in my life. I don't think it is jealousy or insecurities, I really don't. I don't know what it is. He assures me that they are the past and I am the future, that he loves me and that they don't matter anymore, but I can't help letting it bother me.

So my question, how do you deal with an ex? Is there something you did to make it stop bothering you? How did you make it go away? Am I being hypocritical?


Christina said...

TO friend or not friend your ex.

Honestly it depends on what type of relationship you had and LARGELY how it ended. If when you look back on your time together you realize that they were a good person, whom you enjoyed hanging around with (due to their sense of humor, kindness, etc..) and you know that you would want to continue hanging around this person regardless of dating them/regardless if you were having sex with them- the answer is clear. Aka- you mistook a good FRIENDSHIP for a ROMANCE, also called good chemistry but nothing substantial to back up a long term relationship. So you break up with said nice guy/nice girl and you keep in touch from time to time.

As you grow older contact tends to drop off, and in some cases stop all together as your lives take different directions. But such is the way of some friends- as you may have seen the e-mail about friends that come into your lives for 3 reasons : a season, a reason, or for life. Ex's tend to fall into the first 2 categories thankfully.

Christina said...

part 2 of answer

Now this outcome that I just wrote about is if it ended amicably. Generally if it was a horrific breakup/ someone was cheated on -I have never heard of someone still being friends with and ex in those circumstances. Could it happen- maybe, but highly unlikely.

Given the above info I think that this may be how Steve views things. You on the other hand are more black and white on these matters. In this case, as in most matters of the heart- not everything is black and white. No matter how we wish it were. The best suggestion I can give you is to let Steve have his friends who are ex's, even though you don't like it, because when all is said and done- they are temporary friends. Not one of them will be around long term. Not to mention not one of them has, or had, the same staying power (aka- the right stuff/substance to a relationship) that you have with Steve.

Or to look at it another way- at the end of the day you are the girl he thinks about, and can't wait to be with, not those other people.

Anonymous said...

i don't have any exes i consider friends. there are some that i'm on good terms with, we're polite if/when we run into each other, we'll trade small talk etc.
the others are peopl with whom i would not describe our state as civil... they ended poorly and we have zero desire to even be in contact again.
M is not "friends" with any of his exes either.

i believe the same thing you do, that they were there for a part of your life, but i believe that part is in the past and there it shall stay. in my opinion it will only cause problems in the future if you continue a friendship with someone you once loved. it will never be comfortable when you're in another relationship, either for you, him, or your current man... no matter who says their cool with it, there's bound to be tension.

i've heard of people maintaining great friendships with their exes but i don't personally know any of them : )

Jackie said...

I don't have any exes (?, I don't know either) that are friends and I like it that way. Alson is still semi-friendly with two exes through facebook, but it is nothing too infringing so I try not to let it bother me. If they tried to hang out with him or meet up I would flip though. I totally agree with everything you say about not wanting any ex that was in a serious relationship (I guess this is the key?) with my SO seeing my kids or playing with my puppies. I think it is weird!

La Petite Belle said...

I think it honestly depends on the person. It is perfectly acceptable for your SO to NOT be ok with you seeing your ex, and I think I would respect that. Unless your ex is like a brother to you now. I guess it depends on how much the relationship with the ex matters to you.

Anonymous said...

Personally, aside from The Ex, who has recently emerged from the woodwork, I don't really talk to any of my exes, at all.

In terms of exes of those I date, I base my like-itude on their respect of my relationship with my partner.

For those I don't like, but I am forced to endure, really it's just a steady mantra of "he's with me, not with them," etc. It's not a matter of jealousy, but sometimes just reminding myself of that helps. Their presence, whether it's dinner or having to see them, is completely temporary.

For guys, I think it's different. Patrick is on speaking terms with his two exes, and he knows that I want to skewer one of them. In fact, he's not much of a fan, himself. I think a lot of times guys would rather have neutrality rather than animosity. I find guys also to be rather non-confrontational. If it's easier to be friends with an ex, they will.

I also think that when they view that they are doing nothing inappropriate (even if their ex is), they'll maintain the friendship regardless. As long as they feel they aren't reciprocating, they don't see the harm.

I don't know what's right or wrong, but the reality is that we can't control who our significant others are friends with, just like we wouldn't want them passing judgment on ours. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. When the ex crosses a line, however, it is well within your rights to speak up about your grievances.

Sorry, I wish I had a better answer for you.

Mel said...

I am gonna have to write a post about this b/c this topic actually came up this weekend in my casa.

Katelin said...

luckily matt isn't really friends with any of his exes and even if we do see one of them around town it's okay, i could care less. and i'm friends with my one ex but even then it's not that big of a deal because he's not like my best friend. i don't know i guess i don't really care at all who matt is friends with. but i guess it varies person to person.

Maxie said...

I think it depends on how they act around each other...if they're the least bit flirty I wouldn't be able to handle it. I have one ex that I dated YEARS ago that I'm still kind of friends with. Even though he's a nice guy I would NEVER ever date him again.

I always decide on a case-by-case basis.

Playful Professional said...

I wish that I got to be friends with some of my Exs. They are great people, but it's just a little weird now that I'm married.

Maris said...

Good one. I can't be friends with an ex until I'm over him (or vice versa if I ended the relationship) or it just gets too complicated.

In theory I like to remain friends but it definitely doesn't always work out that way.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if there is a right answer to this but I know that I have had major issues with SO's and their exs. In fact, my last ex chose his ex over me and that ultimately killed our relationship, whether he'll admit to it or not.

I am friends--no more like acquaintances--with two exs. They're not really in my life anymore, there was a reason i broke up with them and i'm usually reminded of it every time we speak.

I do think it depends on the relationship you or your SO had with the ex. Was it a short lived dating thing and they figured they were better off friends or was it long term? Was there strong feelings involved? Sex? I guess there's lots of ways to look at it but still, exs bother me. I don't see the need to stay friends with them.

Lauren said...


My boy only had one ex before me and they don't speak anymore. Because of that, i'm grateful because I know that there would be a piece of me that would be jealous. As for me, I'm still good friends with one of my ex's. The boy deals with it, he knows there's nothing there anymore. Plus, the ex is many states away.

I don't know, it's always a touchy subject, I guess.

LiLu said...

Neither of us are really good friends with exes... maybe a catch up phone call or email here and there, but that's it. I just don't think anything more than that is really appropriate... especially for the more recent exes, yanno?

Larissa said...

When I was dating my boyfriend (who's now my husband), he was still close friends with his ex. I talked to him about it, and shared about how it slightly bothered me. He was really understanding, and together, we agreed that because I was a little uncomfortable, he would see her only in group/public settings. We both felt good about the compromise, and I really appreciated his understanding and willingness to acknowledge my feelings.

I believe that in a healthy relationship, both parties should be heard and validated, and should work toward a mutual agreement that both feel good about.