Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How To Stay Friends With An Ex-Boyfriend : Lessons in Failure

Billy Balls / Today's prompt - Do you stay friends with exes?
1. Don't force it.

2. Don't call him up the minute you get another boyfriend. That looks like revenge and if you broke up with him, it's just tasteless.

3. On that note, allow sufficient break-up time to pass. If it was only a few dates, maybe a month or two, give it the same amount of time before you meet up for that awkward post-breakup first coffee. For first loves, give it a couple years. For long term relationships, your guess is as good as mine.

4. Don't hang out at night. Keep it to coffees, busy lunch cafes where they make you feel uncomfortable if you stay too long at a table, group activities like pitch and put or a baseball game, dog parks, half marathon training runs, etc... Avoid beach dates, photography exhibits, and picnics.

5. Don't keep hanging out with his friends and if you are, ask yourself if you are trying to arouse suspicion or jealousy. And if you aren't, then what the hell are you doing? Stay away and give him the space to feel he has a place that is an oasis away from your break up. I know you feel they are your friends, too, but it's a matter of respect. In the words of a dear Vermonter friend on commenting about a friend's recent divorce: "I mean, I  loved 'so & so,' but I was friend's with 'awesome chick', first."

6. Send a Christmas card.

7. Don't talk shit and disrespect your relationship. It's fine to be angry & hurt, but try your best to avoid trash talking in public. Keep eye rolls to a minimum. AND NEVER REVEAL THE INTRICACIES OF YOUR PAST SEX LIFE WITH HIM. Listen to your grandma - don't kiss and tell, ever.

8. If you ever go to that murky place where you try to discuss why things did not work out - stick with "I talk." Don't start your sentences with "You." Accept him for who he is. He should never have had to change. If you felt unloved or misunderstood, you can share that. But telling him he should have been more respectful and not come home at 3am after a night out with the boys instead of taking you out for your birthday, will not get you very far. And if this is truly a quest for friendship and not a make up or a lonely moment, maybe its best to let sleeping dogs lie. It's nice to think we have the power to change someone, but we really don't.

9. Be mindful of your motives. Ask yourself the hard questions before pursuing that friendship. What is it you really want?

10. Do all things with love.

*Oh, and don't steal his shit.

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