Can we be Friends with our Exes?

Rachna Parmar
Couple Getting Apart

It’s a tricky question to ponder. Despite not being in a relationship any longer, the ex – with whom you have surely been very close when you were in one – seems the logical person to go to when needing advice or a shoulder to lean on. Inherent here is the assumption that the ex knows and understands you and is a good person to be around. When the need arises, we need such a person in our life to fall back upon. But going back to an ex can be like a loaded gun.

A friend had a live-in relationship with a man. They seemed like a happy couple, each supportive of the other, both in personal as well as professional matters. Then the man lost his job. My friend found it hard to manage his mood swings, his constant belligerence, and his excessive splurging of her money. Her entreaties to take stock of his life were treated with resentment. Within a few months, their six-year-old relationship collapsed. The end was bitter.

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She took it hard. It took her almost a year to put him behind her. They did not keep in touch.

Then, a couple of years later, she bumped into him accidentally. He was looking good and was his charming self again. She warmed up instantly to him. They met for lunch and had an easy conversation. He was well placed in a large firm now. She was single, he was not.

On their next lunch date, she met his girlfriend, who was pretty and amiable, with no apparent faults. The two of them seemed well connected. She felt a jab of jealousy, wasn’t sure if she still had feelings for him, but she sure wanted him to be a part of her life again.

exes and friends

(Representative image) Image Source

The ex and his current girlfriend accepted her with open arms and she began socialising with them.

It wasn’t easy. Despite being over him there were times when she pined for him, lusted for his arms around her. Seeing his happy pictures with the other girl angered her. From a warm and sunny person, she became a grumpy one. And insecure. Sugar-coating her words, she began poisoning his mind about the other girl, who gradually picked up on the adverse cues and began cooling off.

The ex sensed the increasing tension between the two girls but only realised the seriousness of the situation when his current girlfriend put her foot down on socializing with his ex-girlfriend. She wished him to curtail contact, physical and virtual. Soon he was forced to sever all interactions with my friend.

My friend was, in a sense, dumped a second time.

Certainly, the above situation may not be applicable to you. But do realise the possible implications of meeting up again with an ex who is now in a committed relationship with another. If you’re single, and he’s not, complications are likely to crop up. For two exes to remain, friends, the acceptance of the ex’s spouse/partner is crucial. Without it – it could be havoc in four lives.

Perhaps it is fine for exes to stay in touch, remain casual acquaintances. But anything more might be pushing it.

Perhaps it is best to take the safer route: move on when you move on…

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