Metro

Dating Games: Staying friends with exes

Once you enter a new relationship, the least you can do is respect your new partner’s wishes that you no longer maintain a close friendship with an ex.

Dating games
Photo by: Pepe Fainberg
Staying friends with an “ex” can be a very tricky thing once you enter a new relationship.

Most boyfriends don’t want to see any man look at you with desire in his eyes – especially not a man you used to have relations with.

Your boyfriend doesn’t want to be around someone you used to kiss, someone you may have said “I love you” to, someone who knows the exact spot on your ear that you like to have nibbled, someone who knows your secrets.

Boyfriends don’t want to believe that there was ever any guy before them – as illogical as that may sound – and seeing the proof only rubs it in.

Boyfriends know that most guys can’t just be “friends” with a girl, no matter how much they insist that they can. Boyfriends know that your ex staying friends with you might, and probably does, mean that he wishes he was still with you.

Girlfriends aren’t much different. We also don’t want to see your former lover hanging around; It doesn’t matter how good friends you are now or how long ago your relationship was. Don’t even give us the opportunity to start comparing ourselves with your ex because I promise you don’t want to go there. I know you may think it sounds cute for your ex-girlfriend-turned-good-friend to become friends with your current girlfriend, but it’s not. Put yourself in your girlfriend’s position: would you want to be buddies with your girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend? Probably not. It doesn’t matter that you can rattle off a dozen reasons why you broke up. The fact of the matter is you used to be a couple, you used to be attracted to each other and you probably saw each other naked.

My sister would disagree. She was in a serious relationship with someone for more than two years.

They stayed friends after she broke up with him, but everyone always suspected he stuck around because he wanted to be there when she came to her senses.

Except that never happened. My sister got married a few years ago and guess who signed her ketuba? Yup, that serious ex-boyfriend.

Odd, right? She and her husband keep in touch with the ex and even stay with him when they’re visiting his city.

Her husband says he doesn’t feel threatened, but the rest of us know that if anything ever happened, that ex would be there in a heartbeat. My brother-in-law is obviously comfortable with the friendship but this is a major exception.

One of my friends is so aware of the exboyfriend/ current boyfriend problem that she straight out lied. I’m not saying this is way to go, but it worked for her. She stayed such good friends with her high school sweetheart that they became roommates during college. But when she started dating the guy who would eventually become her husband, she knew telling him the truth about their history wouldn’t fly. Even though she and her ex had maintained a purely platonic relationship for years, her future hubby would never have believed that. And rightly so, since he knows how guys’ brains work! Her serious relationship with her future husband ended her friendship with her ex. That sounds harsh, but it’s not. They grew apart.

They were in different parts of their lives and there was no reason for them to continue to keep in touch.

She now has a man in her life and doesn’t need a single guy friend hanging around with whom she secretly used to be romantic.

Maybe you think your mate is being unnecessarily jealous, but try to bite your tongue before you throw this accusation in his or her face.

Accusing someone of being green-eyed will only anger the beast.

Instead, realize that not everyone can understand the idea of remaining friends with someone that you’ve shared a part of your life with. Once you enter a new relationship, the least you can do is respect your new partner’s wishes that you no longer maintain a close friendship with an ex. In the long run, it’s not too much to ask for if the relationship develops into something more. And if they don’t mind, then continue to respect your mate by not sharing private jokes or having any physical contact with your ex.

In general, most people don’t have single friends of the opposite sex once they’re married. Why should they? Your spouse is your opposite-sex friend now and there’s no reason for you to be friends with old flames anymore. Even childhood friendships change – these aren’t the people you are going out with to the clubs to drink and dance and flirt; They are now the family friends you get together with once they become part of a couple as well. The dynamic changes, plain and simple, and you might say that you won’t let that happen, but chances are, it will.

You’re going to want to spend quality time with your mate, and having your single, opposite-sex friend there (whether or not he or she used to be your lover) as the third wheel will just be awkward.

That sounds harsh. Unfortunately it’s the truth.

Hopefully your single, opposite-sex friend will meet a mate around the same time and you can become best couple friends. And remember, when you and your friend grow apart, it’s not personal... it’s life.


Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!
   
Jpost.com, the online edition of the Jerusalem Post Newspaper - the most read and best-selling English-language newspaper in Israel. For analysis and opinion from Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East. Jpost.com offers expert and in-depth reporting from Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including diplomacy and defense, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Arab Spring, the Mideast peace process, politics in Israel, life in Jerusalem, Israel's international affairs, Iran and its nuclear program, Syria and the Syrian civil war, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's world of business and finance, and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.

All rights reserved © The Jerusalem Post 1995 - 2013