By Branden Lee
I’ve always been against the idea of being friends with exes. I always imagined it’s too hard to truly keep an ex in my life since I feel like I always hold on to some love for my exes. Even if we’ve broken up and no matter how long it’s been, this person was once an integral part of my life and meant so much to me.
Friendship is extremely important to me. I don’t use the term “friend” lightly, and if someone is my friend I want to be able to share everything with them. Including who I’m dating/hooking up with. Being friends with my exes would mean being able to comfortably talk about who we’re both seeing without feeling jealous, angry, or bitter about the other moving on. In the past, I’ve gotten to a point with a few exes where I can discuss who we’re now seeing, though that’s usually years down the line. Yet I still don’t have a desire to actually hang out with my exes, but am fine with texting or following each other on social media.
I know many gay people remain friends with their ex. For some, it’s easier and more convenient to just transition an ex into a friend, since you already had the trust, bond, and connection together. Friendship is also a deep bond; you just have to subtract the sexual and romantic love aspects from the relationship to maintain a friendship.
I have heard of so many situations of friends being uncomfortable discovering that the new person they’re still seeing is roommates with their ex. Good roommates are hard to find, and when you’re trapped in a lease, it’s not that easy to move out once you break up. I’m not sure if I’d be comfortable in this situation since even a secure person would be bothered that the person they’re dating is sleeping under the same roof as someone they once loved and had sex with. You never know what’s going on as soon as you leave, and I’ve also heard of people finding out the person they’re dating is still sleeping with their ex.
I don’t really get over my exes until someone new enters the picture. My old love needs to be replaced by my new love for me to get over a breakup. If I’m hanging on to my ex as a “friend,” it’s just delaying and preventing myself from moving on. Constantly talking, flirting, staying in contact just provides hope of a reconciliation. I do think it’s best to end contact with exes. I don’t want to have to block each other since I want the option of being able to contact them if necessary, and being able to see what they’re up to online. Just the whole trying to remain in contact as “friends” is too much for me.
If we’ve decided to break up, then I want a clean break. I need to be free. Free to put myself together. Free to live my life without them. Free to move on, feel happy, and find love again.
Everyone is different. It does seem more mature to be able to stay platonic friends with exes. It seems more nuanced to be able to be happy for your ex moving on and even attending their wedding to someone else in the future.
Maybe it’s because I’m young, or that I’ve only had one boyfriend in my life, but I’m just not at a point where I can fathom being that comfortable keeping an ex in my life. The reasons behind the breakup also play a factor. If we broke up because we mutually knew we weren’t meant to be, or life circumstances tore us apart, then that’s easier to accept and possibly be friends. If the relationship ended due to dramatic circumstances that never were resolved and one person didn’t truly want things to end, then it makes sense that friendship in the future isn’t plausible.
Breakups are always hard. We can’t predict if we will stay friends with exes or not. It would be nice. There’s also nothing wrong with knowing that exes are better left in the past, especially if you need to heal completely.
Branden Lee is a writer and actor living in Atlanta. Follow Branden on Twitter and Instagram @Brandeness.