I saw this on Pinterest the other day and it got me thinking, Can a man and a woman remain friends after a breakup?
In my extensive experience, (for those first time blog readers, my “extensive experience” consists of my one ex –that being the ex-husband) the answer to that question is a resounding NO. If you missed it the first time, the answer is NO. NO. And one more time for effect, NO.
Yes, the breakup was amicable. We acted like mature adults, the yelling, crying and arguing was kept at a minimum, the division of property was a simple process (“Here, you can have it all. I don’t want any of it”), but that didn’t stop me from wanting to punch him in the face most of the time and that’s just not conducive to a good friendship.
So, like most of my scientific research, I went to Facebook for some expert opinions. And the general consensus was a very loud, very resplendent NO. There were many who said that there were two things that were called for to remain friends with an ex – circumstance and time.
The circumstances around my divorce were not pretty. Without going into too many details, I still fight the urge to wallow in self pity or wade in the bitterness pool and I think that I will always carry in some way the baggage and scars left over from my marriage. My marriage did a lot of damage to my self esteem and although we are civil to each other, we maintain only the necessary contact and minimal friendliness for the sake of our child. That is not my definition of friendship.
They say time heals all wounds…but does it really?
For me personally: No, yes and maybe.
My roommate is pretty adamant in the NO camp. He said the best thing to do is to completely cut them out of your life. Delete the numbers, put the photos and mementos away, unfriend on Facebook…he even went as far as suspending his Facebook account for a while after his last breakup. And, while I can see how that can be beneficial, (Come on, who hasn’t Facebook stalked an ex, trying to determine if he/she has moved on based on who they are hanging out with, what pictures they are posting and where they are checking in…not ME, of course...), I am not one to cut people loose like that. I have a difficult time letting go of anything, be it friends, exes, control, or the fact that USC was a punished way too severely for Reggie Bush’s infraction, etc.
I can only refer to my two other brief romantic experiences (relationships that can’t be classified under anything else but “It’s Complicated,”) in the previous year. One is now a very close friend and the other one, well, the jury is still out. The circumstances around the now close friend ended badly, but distance, time, maturity and persistence mended our relationship and I can now say he is one of my closest friends. Even if I Facebook stalked him for a while.
The other one ended amicably, but not enough time has passed for me to determine if a true friendship is still a possibility –we’re trying though–but it’s difficult when you’re still assaulted with memories of the ex. Time does make things easier, but to be perfectly honest I still have moments where I really, really miss him, and miss little things like the way he kissed me on the forehead or random quirky things about him like how he liked to take off his flip flops and rub his bare feet on carpet everywhere we went. Then I get sad. But I am sure that will pass with time though…right?
In a few days, it will be almost exactly a year since the day my marriage ended. I can say that time has healed some of the pain, but the problem with time is that it takes a lot of time. I prefer a more immediate solution…
So, after all this research and contemplation, can you be friends with an ex? My conclusion = inconclusive.
What are your thoughts?