Is it wise being friends with your ex while you are in a serious relationship?
“My ex and I are best friends, ya. And honestly, he doesn’t mind if I talk to my exes. Doesn’t he keep in touch with his? We are secure enough to not freak out over something like this.” The random office girl who isn’t your best friend tells you this and you keep your judgement to yourself; a normal water cooler conversation where you discuss serious issues under the facade of gossip. How many times have we heard this? Two people’s spouses are keeping in touch with their exes. Is it a good idea? What if you’re tempted? What about a clean break? So many questions! Let’s break this down, shall we.
It’s highly subjective
You may not want to read this if you’re conflicted about being in touch with your ex, but there’s no real fixed answer to the question at hand. Being in touch with your ex while being married or in a relationship is a thing some people can manage and some can’t. It’s also dependant on a variety of things. Your equation with both your ex and your current partner. The level of security you feel in your current relationship. Whether you’re truly over your ex or not. Why exactly you are in touch with your ex, and so on. It’s a tricky thing talking to someone who used to be your partner while you’re with someone else. It requires emotional intelligence and brutal honesty and therefore is not something everyone will be able to do successfully.
Related reading: You don’t miss your ex, you just miss being in love
Was it a clean break?
Let’s face it, no breakups are clean, but if you and your ex managed to move past the initial awkwardness after a breakup, being friends with your ex can be wonderful. They know you more intimately than most people and it can be a true friendship if there’s no lingering bitterness. In such a case, both parties know why they weren’t good as a couple and still want to be present in each other’s lives. In such circumstances, being in touch with your ex can’t hurt. However, this is one half of the equation. The other brings us to the third point.
Related reading: She stalked her ex on social media and when asked why she said…
How secure is your current relationship?
Your equation with your current partner needs to be as clear and honest for the whole friendly exes thing to work. In that both partners trust their bond enough and are honest enough with each other that an ex can’t be a point of contention. If your partner knows you talk and isn’t bothered by it, it means that they trust you more than the human doubt that creeps in, in a romance. They also know that the love that you share is different from the one you shared with your ex and that the friendship is nothing more than just a friendship. These are ideal circumstances but in such circumstances adults can have difficult and honest conversations about their feelings and therefore don’t make a big deal out of being in touch with your ex.
Inspect the why
In a situation where such clarity isn’t present, however (most belong to this category; human beings find it very hard to have clarity about anything, much less relationships), you must introspect and ask yourself why you want to stay in touch with your ex.
Is it because they remind you of your past and that nostalgia makes you feel better? Is it because you like the attention you’re getting from two people? Does the fact that you’re still in touch with your ex, make you feel like you have a backup plan just in case this relationship fails? Are you trying to get back at your partner for some wrongdoing by talking to your ex? Are you not over your ex yet?
All difficult questions, but ones you need to ask yourself. If you are keeping in touch with your ex for any of these reasons, then you need to reevaluate your current relationship. A relationship can’t be the place you get everything. It isn’t a supermarket. But certain things you get in a relationship are sacred for most people who are in monogamous relationships. If you’re going to the ex for one of those sacred things, then you, my friend, need to talk to your current boo and adjust the terms.
Honesty honesty honesty
In times like this, you’re already on shaky ground and your main support will be honesty. If you start hiding the contact between you and your ex from your partner or vice versa, something is surely wrong. Things don’t always need to fit into boxes and categories when it comes to romantic relationships, but they sure need to be clear to the person they belong to. If you can’t be honest to yourself and your people, then you need to adjust your actions accordingly. You can’t lie to yourself; it’s clichéd, but like most clichés it’s true.
Insecurity is human
Jealousy creeping into a relationship under these circumstances is the most natural human thing that can occur. By freaking out and making the insecurity a bad word, you’ll only add to it. Remember, people’s insecurities are often their projections and are not about you. This doesn’t however mean it’s not your problem, because your partner’s insecurity affects you too. Having difficult conversations is a necessity here, as many times as they are required. If your partner doesn’t trust you, helping them find the trust is your job. Your friends are important but so is your partner and you must be patient and kind with them.
Long story short, yes, it can be done. You could be in touch with your ex after a breakup while you’re in another relationship. Just remember that a lot of emotional intelligence and difficult conversations are required. If you aren’t up to it, letting exes be a past neighbourhood you seldom visit or talk about is more than enough, especially if it’s affecting your present.