I have never really had a bad break up. I guess I have been lucky that way. In fact, almost all of my previous romantic relationships ended very well. I even had a few that maintained some elements after the actual relationship was over. In one case, I had sex with a woman for another 4 months after it was over. It was pretty much all we did at that point, but we were both okay with it. We were always friends, before, during and after the actual romantic relationship, but after we "broke up" we decided to just have sex, because that was always the best part of anything we did together. It is rare to be able to do that, but we were both unique people. We liked each other on almost every level, but she liked the finer things and I did not. It could never work and we both realized that at almost exactly the same time. Even as we broke up, on the night we did, it wasn't ten minutes before we were making out and then had sex all night long. After we stopped having sex, we still met for dinner and lunch every now and then. The friendship faded off, but only because it did, not because it had to.
With a few others, we stayed friends on some level, although it was never the same again.
Recently, I have witnessed a lot of break ups. Most of them had hoped to be amicable and friendly. Almost all of them were bitter and nasty. In every case, the person who I am friends with had hoped it could be nice and friendly. It didn't end up going that way.
My question in this blog is simply this: Do you think you can be friends with your ex?
Of course, being the opinionated guy that I am, I have thoughts on this.
Many romantic relationships start off as friends and then one or both of the parties starts to feel more and wants more. There comes a moment when that opportunity presents itself and it happens. From the instant that happens, it can never go back to what it was. Sex changes everything. Expectations grow from that.
As most of us know, most romantic relationships fail for any number of reasons. Sex, money, location or just plain not being in love. There could be hundreds of reasons why it could fail or just run its course. But at the moment it does, you know. You can feel it. It is not the same and the indicators that the other person once gave are now 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
Here is something to think about before you go from "just friends" to lovers. The second that it changes and morphs into romance, you are basically risking the future of the friendship. Friendships are great, but as a rule, they aren't intense. Romantic relationships, and in many cases sexual ones (which in most cases will happen rapidly if it grows from a previous friendship) are extremely intense and bring people very close to each other. In many cases, for at least a short while, that person is on your mind all the time and becomes your everything. Once that dies, it is hard to be friendly with someone, as there can be so much hurt attached to it.
When that ends or fades away it is next to impossible to go back to being the friends you were before.
Firstly, the biggest obstacle is seeing your "ex" with another new love and having to watch or hear about it. That is tough. When you were just friends, you both felt comfortable sharing that stuff. Now, you just can't. Once you have had someone sexually, it is very tough to think of another having them, even if in some sense you don't want them in that way anymore. They can't tell you those things as a friend, because now you have been more than friends. You can't unring that bell once it has been rung.
Of course, when anything breaks up, no matter how much we don't want to do it, there is always some blaming that goes on. Because of that, it is tough to be friends with someone who you feel has done you wrong in some way. Anytime blame is part of any relationship, it is doomed to fail. There might be brief periods where it is civil, but a time comes where the discussion leads to a conversation that only ends badly. That is not what friends do. Can't do.
There is always the question of whether or not men and women can be friends at all and not want more. There is a great divergence on this topic. I have never been sure myself if it is possible. I would say that it is, but very rare. I can say for sure that any woman who is attractive to me, even if just a friend, is someone I will think of sexually. That is just how guys are. I can't speak for women, but I think deep down, even though most do not want to admit it, they do as well. That being said, I think as long as it just remains an urge or fantasy, it can work. It has worked for me with some women friends. I find them attractive, and have fantasized, but never really wanted to have sex with them or be more than friends. That goes completely against the logic of the clip below.
There is always the problem as well that secretly one of the people wants to get back together again. They might say they don't, but that is always there. If the relationship is healthy enough to think about still being friends, it means it still has some caring and feeling, and that good will is bound to lead to feelings of regret and desire to try again.
In many ways, that is not healthy and gets in the way of any chance to maintain the friendship. Getting together in many instances is easy, breaking up, as most of us know, is very hard to do.
We might even decide to try it again. See if it can work. Re kindle the spark. In some instances that works in the short term. But long term, if anything, it only serves to cement the end of the friendship. Breaking up once is bad enough, doing it a second or third time only makes it worse.
Break up to make up
That's all we do
First you love me
Then you hate me
It's a game for fools
So, why do we risk it? Why risk a potentially great lifelong friend for the sake of a romance, when we know it is not likely to succeed and permanently damage that future friendship?
I see it as out of your control. You just can't stop yourself. The urge to have someone romantically that you desire is innate and too strong to resist.
In many cases, you know you are falling for your friend. You want to resist it, because you know it is a bad idea. Part of the problem is that you sense they feel the same way as well. Neither of you wants to make that first move, because you know, deep in your gut, that you are risking a friendship that you value.
At some point, it overwhelms you both and you give in. All relationships are complicated. Romantic ones are just that much more so.
I will end the blog with a personal story. The only regret I have regarding this topic.
My first year of University, on the very first day I met a girl. We both had two hours before this class started and were both waiting alone in the waiting area outside the classroom. There was no one else there for probably an hour and a half. We began to talk and hit it off. I knew that day I was falling for her. There was just something about her. In my gut though, I knew she didn't see me how I saw her.
When we went into the classroom, we sat together, next to each other. As the months went by, we became great friends. The best of friends. We went out together, to movies, to clubs, to dinner. Just about everything. Almost each day I would give her a ride home. We could tell each other just about everything. There were no secrets. Except one. I was in love with her and she was not with me. I wanted to be more. She did not. I think she knew I was, and I knew she wasn't.
As the next year approached, we had seen each other over the summer once or twice. We even went out and she dressed up like it was a date. But it wasn't and we both knew that. I met her parents one night and I got the feeling they wanted us to be more, but I knew she did not and that exchange made her very uncomfortable.
When school started again we were still great friends. Even more so this time. But there was an uneasiness that went with that. My feelings were much much stronger and she sensed that. We were now in more classes together, and also lab partners who spent a lot of time studying together. We also played sports together and many times that meant playing squash in the morning before classes.
I had a friend who told me I should tell her how I feel and get it over with. I resisted that for many months. I knew it was a bad idea and how it would end if I did. Finally, for whatever reason, I decided to do it.
We played squash one winter morning, and I had written a note to her explaining all that I was feeling. I debated throughout the whole squash game whether to give her that note. In the end, I did give her that note.
Of course, that day was basically the end of our friendship. We could never be just friends again. I knew that was the risk I was taking by doing that.
Maybe the reality was, we were never just friends and could not be. I could never view her as just a friend. I never saw her that way. She knew that. Later in a letter back to me, she said she knew all along that is how I felt and that now we should just keep our distance for a while.
We were still lab partners and study partners, so that was very difficult. There was always tension from that point forward.
After that class ended, we rarely saw each other. From time to time we would and we would chat. But we weren't friends anymore. We weren't friendly. There was a broken bridge between us and we both knew it. By this time she had another boyfriend and she could also see that girls who had stayed away from me because I was always with her were now hitting on me. She even asked me about some of them. I sort of hinted that I wasn't really interested in any of them. She knew what that meant. I still only wanted her. That only made things worse.
As the years passed, I saw her the odd time around school and we would briefly chat. But really, the damage was done and we had nothing to say to each other. The friendship had been damaged and broken for good, never to be repaired.
It was clearly too late for us to patch it up. If I had to do it all over again, I would never given her that letter and taken my chances with my heart. I think on some level I would have been able to maintain the friendship. But once we went where we did, even though we were never romantic and lovers, the friendship died.
We had one last chance to patch things up. Four or five years later I saw her on the street in the town she lived in. I had been working there by chance, and she passed by that place. I was busy and could not go out to say hi. But I was sure it was her and I was right. I still had her phone number and I took the chance and called her..She said she just felt it would never be a good idea to see each other anymore. That was the last contact we ever had.
It was at that moment when I realized something. Even though we were never lovers, we were ex's. And for the most part ex's don't remain friends. That is just the reality of life, and of love life.
Below is the blog that inspired me to write this one.