Reflections and Lessons Learned About Being Friends With An Ex

I’ve been thinking.

Uh-oh, that’s never good…

I’ve been thinking about some past posts. I’ve written in the past about whether one can be friends with his or her ex. Apparently I’ve written about it a lot. It goes without saying that I think about this often.

The other day I wrote about healing our own heart. Between that post and my ongoing struggle about whether or not I can be friends with my ex. I have been pushing myself to get to the “friend phase” because we have to work together for our theater, we both are liked by the company and we are both valued by them. We’re not going anywhere and we’re forced together in many social situations. Many of which involve alcohol, and we all know how that can be a slippery slope.

So he and I had a lunch scheduled. And as soon as it was agreed that we would meet on this date and this time, I realized I didn’t want to go. So I called my bestie to work through it. I really wanted to know what the heck was going on because it has been months and it seemed like I was still hoping that he would want me back.

Well, I was thinking this morning. And it all clicked into place. I really do wish for that movie-style happy ending. I was watching Don Jon last night and noticed the pattern. Between thoughts about Joseph Gordon Lovett’s biceps I had a realization “Oh my gosh. It’s just a story device. They have to bring the relationship back in the end to give the audience a sense of closure. That’s not an imitation of life, it’s just a necessity of story telling.” 


So I really should stop waiting for my story to come back around. And yes, if I’m being honest with myself I was really hoping he would clear his head and realize how much he missed me and wants me in his life.

And I think that he does miss me- as a FRIEND. Ugh, that dreaded, disgusting, despised word in relationships. The last thing I want is someone that I once cared about as my boyfriend to be my friend. Maybe years from now. Honestly, I do miss his friendship as well but he isn’t the only person that can provide me with friendship.

I’ve been helped by some gentle reminders. I remind myself that the movies are telling a fake story to entertain an audience. It is not a depiction of real life. And then I borrow one of Louise Hay’s affirmations and I tell myself “Someone that will love me back is on his way to me.” And I repeat it until I believe it. It actually does bring me some comfort.

So I have become very clear that meeting for coffee or lunch with my ex is not necessary. I was thinking I needed to do it so that it wouldn’t be awkward seeing him at a performance in the next few weeks. And I probably can’t prevent it from being awkward. But I can prevent putting myself in an awkward hour long conversation over food. And my friend had great advice. Just tell him it was a great show then go talk to someone else to tell them it was a great show. No need to linger and talk, there are plenty of people there that I know. And she offered to come with me so I have back up and support.

That feels really good. To have a decision made, and one that feels really right. It’s letting go of some dead weight and moving forward.

I sooooo needed that!


8 thoughts on “Reflections and Lessons Learned About Being Friends With An Ex

  1. Moving on from some people is the best thing to do. But, if you work with him and … socially drinking with him, that could definitely cause some slippery slope issues.

  2. I think maybe every person is different. I am friends with most of my ex’s, and there was never any sort of stickiness in the beginning because we were all in the same friendship group, and still are. We never found any problems in the transition between being in a relationship to being just friends. But that’s me. Maybe your problems are different which makes it harder to complete that transition. There is no clear answer. I think it is good that you made a decision though – you don’t need to carry around extra baggage to weigh you down!

  3. You don’t have it as bad – i have to be friends with my ex, no matter how much i would like to kick him out of my life. But we have to see each other often – he is the father of my child.
    You actually get to the very basic question: can man and woman be friends without one of them wanting something more than friendship? I say, they can only in the case when they both are not missing anything in their lives, otherwise it can anytime slipper to wanting more, from anyone’s site

  4. Being friends with your ex is that contentious subject that comes up time and again and will never be resolved because no two relationships are the same and therefore, no two break ups are the same. In my personal experience, maintaining a platonic friendship with somebody that you were intimate with conjures up a whole host of problems and anxieties that are better left avoided.

    More often than not, there is one party in the relationship that maintains their feelings, even if it is reduced simply to physical desire, after that relationship has ended. By attempting to maintain a friendship after you break up, you enter a world of sexual and emotional politics that can be really hard to navigate.

    Professionalism and a civil work environment is a whole different ball game to genuine friendship, I would strive for the former, not the latter, and so avoid the hurt and inner turmoil that a “friendship” with an ex can cause.

    Keep strong, it will get easier. Time heals all wounds.

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