Ahhh dating. Relationships. The high of falling in love. All pretty great, am I right? To be able to look at another person and think, “Wow, they are just so damn perfect. I will always be crazy about them.”
But then, that changes.
Exes! Personally, I have three of them, and I think that together, they cover the spectrum of the various kinds of exes that there are. I have one that I’m civil and friendly with, one that I’d be fine never seeing again and one that I still invite to my birthday dinners with my family.
I think one of the best kinds of break ups is when you both know it’s just time. My first ex and I were very young and naive about the world. When it came time to grow up, we grew apart. I’m a firm believer that after a breakup, regardless of the circumstances, you need a period time away from that person. In this case, for me, that period of time was about three years. In college, we started getting along better and became friends, but before then we only tolerated each other.
As long as a breakup isn’t a bad breakup, it’s good. If you and an ex can cross paths and be civil and friendly with each other, perfect! You don’t need to be friends, just don’t be enemies.
Of course, sometimes being enemies is unavoidable. I know I’m not alone in saying that my first love destroyed my soul. While I’ve been over our messy breakup for quite some time now, I’d be fine never seeing, talking to or thinking about him ever again. Which is totally normal!
Hearts break, it happens every day. You should definitely, at some point, be able to accept that, make peace with it and move on. That being said, it’s also very reasonable to not want anything to do with whoever hurt you again. It’s just human nature – people stick around for a reason, a season or a lifetime. You shouldn’t still be resenting winter in June.
Now for the age-old question: Can you be friends with an ex?
I vote yes. My ex, who has requested I refer to him as “Philip” in this post, is one of my best friends. Philip and I were together for a year and a half in high school until we decided things weren’t working. After we broke up, it took months for some of our friends to find out because we still acted normal with each other. Now, we understand and respect each other in a way that I can’t say about most friends, but we can still have fun and joke around.
Hell, when I asked if my writing this piece was okay, he said, “Sure, as long as you call me ‘Philip’.”
I do think it’s pretty rare to be able to be close friends with an ex. There can definitely be more bumps in the road than there are with friends who haven’t seen you naked. But, if two exes can manage to stay friends, you can bet that’s gonna be a strong friendship.
Tolerate them, hate them or love them, we all have exes. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.