I’m really good friends with two of my ex-boyfriends, yet I wasn’t always this way. I used to be the queen of ghosting. My relationships tended to be very short lived. Usually three weeks to a month and I was o-u-t. The break up would often involve me not answering or returning their calls. It was all too awkward to have a real grown up conversation about what wasn’t working for me. So, in my immature mind ghosting made sense. And by immature I mean my 32-year-old mind.
Yes, I know I was the worst and maybe even a bitch. Believe me when I say that karma thing circled back on me more than once. Somewhere down the line, I had a change of consciousness and maybe grew up a bit and realized that grown-ups can well, be grown-ups about matters of the heart. I became better equipped at being able to break things off (often I knew going in that it was doomed to fail but persevered anyway) in a kind and friendly manner with most of the exes — except one. It’s impossible to be friends with him, since I’m fairly certain that though not quite the devil himself, he serves as his consigliere. Yup, that one still stings, so no chance of friendship there.
My last two boyfriends whom we’ll call them Sam and Darius are pretty special to me. They were the first guys that I felt really vested in and connected too. When our romance (I use that term lightly because neither of them were particularly romantic but I digress) ended, I felt that the connection was too unique and real to lose. Neither of the relationships ended badly though it really sucked when they did, but I learned so much about myself, men and relationships. It’s hard to come by true, meaningful and deep bonds with people male or female, so I put aside the unintentional hurt they caused me and they apparently did the same.
I admit that sometimes it gets murky when either of them makes me laugh to not think “hmmm, maybe there’s still a chance we can work this out.” It makes it easier if we’re not in consistent contact which is easy for Darius because he lives in California, and is in a long term relationship which I often inquire about. I also, talk to him about my dating life and sought advice from him about problems I had while dating Sam. Which, I’m sure isn’t always easy to hear but he consistently gave sound and objective advice.
My friendship with Sam didn’t always stay just friendly (if you catch my drift). We both live in Brooklyn and in somewhat close proximity, so there was easy access to each other that made it more convenient to cross the friendship barrier. We’ve definitely turned a corner and operate now with some unspoken rules about the context and situations in which we see each other. But we’re often in touch and certainly a big part of each other’s lives in a meaningful and supportive way. I know I can rely on him and be myself. We sincerely have each other’s best interest at heart.
The benefits (not those kind of benefits) of being friends with an ex is they can help you grow and improve those tricky relationship skills, when you’ve been repeating the same relationship sabotaging habits. Thus, hopefully making you better for next person. For example, Sam to this day reminds me not to over think everything which I know was a problem in our relationship. He does it in a funny and casual way, but it reminds me to chill. So, I am ever more mindful of getting in the over thinking maze.
If the idea is you learn from your “mistakes”, then with regards to failed romantic relationships who better to glean some of the ways you contributed to its demise in an honest and non-judgmental way, that your former partner. Obviously, the ability to remain friends depends on the relationship and how it ended. I know I’ll never be more than friends with Darius and Sam, but I’ll always love them both for who they are and who they’ve helped me become. And isn’t that what friendship is all about.