I Need a Judge’s Ruling On This

I’m making an assumption here:  most people are not friends with their exs. Am I right? When people hear that I am not only best friends with three of my exs but that I fixed one of them up and he subsequently married her, I get some raised eyebrows. I’ve dated plenty so let’s keep this in perspective, shall we? Out of 17+ men I’ve dated for longer than 3+ months, I’m still great friends with three. I know math isn’t my best subject but even I can surmise that those aren’t high odds. It takes a particular kind of relationship to end and turn into friendship.

But what of being friends with exs or, to take it one step further, being friends with people you might have had a date or two with but it never became a “relationship”? Do you consider that taboo? Would you wonder why your partner needed to be friends with someone that they once went on a date with? Have you ever had a friend who was asked to stop being friends with you because your friendship with the person made their significant other uncomfortable?

Because this has happened to me. Men that I know who have partners/girlfriends/wives who express discomfort with our friendship. Some have met me, others have not. I don’t consider myself threatening by any means (I have a boyfriend!). I can see both sides of the situation but I’m still left at a loss. Years ago a very dear friend ended our very close, long-standing friendship with me because his wife didn’t want him talking to me. She knew that he and I had had a brief love affair prior to her arriving on the scene and even though we lived across the country from each other and even though that love affair was JUST THAT, and even though I was dating someone new. . . she didn’t like it. It’s about 8 years later that he and I have reconnected (thank you Facebook) and (sadly) he is getting a divorce from that very woman who (even more sadly) cheated on him.

Ain’t that a kick in the pants?

I get insecurity. I get trust issues. I get fear. I GET IT. But where do we draw the line?


Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally Albright: Why not?
Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: No you don’t.
Sally Albright: Yes I do.
Harry Burns: You only think you do.
Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: They do not.
Harry Burns: Do too.
Sally Albright: How do you know?
Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.
Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?
Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.
Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.
Harry Burns: I guess not.


64 thoughts on “I Need a Judge’s Ruling On This

  1. I don’t think it’s weird as much as it’s unlikely. I have reconnected with one of my exes, but only because it was SO long ago that Katie was fine with it. Anything more recent and she’d be uncomfortable.

    It really all depends on your current love and how they take to it. If they’re okay, then it can work out. But there is more at play than just the two exes moving beyond what happened between them.

  2. I have great male friends (and my husband has no problem with it), but none of them are an ex. Well, unless you count the one guy from high school who kissed me in the 9th grade. But, I’ve always secretly wondered if he was just high on the Aqua Net fumes coming from my head.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t really want my husband to see an ex, but ironically, he’s going to a hockey game tonight with another woman and it doesn’t bother me a bit. Go figure.

  3. I don’t know if this is one of those things where it’s different for straight people so I can’t weigh in, but I’m going to anyway. Because otherwise I would have to, you know, work or something.

    I always want to be friends with my ex’s, but I think I have a tendency to burn things down afterwords. So I am friends with exactly zero of my exes. Hooray for me!

    I don’t see a problem with it though and I think it takes quite a lot of mistrust and insecurity for them to specifically say, “You can not be friends with that woman (or man) because I don’t trust it.”. My ex did that and it put such a HUGE strain on our relationship and even though that isn’t what ended things it certainly made me examine everything else.

    My current girlfriend had no long term relationships before me and I think we can safely say she saw her fair share of other women. I know she is with me know and I trust her. So I know she is now and will always be friends with some of her exes. That’s just the way it is sometimes. I wish I could say the same for myself. (I hope I didn’t ramble.)

  4. I’m friends with one of my exes. He’s the one I might have married if we hadn’t been 19 and immature. We get in touch with each other maybe once a year. I’m sure his wife doesn’t much like the fact that we’ve remained friends, but whatever. I’m not after him, I just have a really soft spot for him, as he does for me.

    The other day one of my “near misses” found me on Facebook. We’ve been catching up, and it’s been great. Again, major mutual soft spot.

    I find myself being very careful, though. Does that make sense? I have something wonderful with my husband, and I don’t want to jeopardize that in any way. Because if I’m honest, I’d love to spend a weekend with either of these two old flames.

  5. Hmm, I have a lot of friends who think like that conversation. I disagree. I have a ton of guy friends. I always had more guy friends than girl friends. I don’t think they would bother still being friends with me if that were the case. They know it ain’t gonna happen.

  6. I’ve found that it really differs from person to person. Some are friends with their exes and some are not. Sometimes it’s not a good idea and sometimes it actually works out really well. Relationships are so varied and so different that there isn’t always a clear cut answer.

    I think your friends soon to be ex-wife probably lacks a lot of self-confidence for her to make her husband stop his friendship with you. I’m glad you were able to reconnect with him though.

    And I love, LOVE When Harry Met Sally!

  7. I am friends with one of my exes. As you say, it really depends on the people and the relationship. I’ve never lost a friend due to insecurity on the part of their SO, but I could see it happening and even understand it. Still, it’s too bad.

  8. In my personal experience, I think everyone approaches the being friends with exes issue differently. Some people are 100% ok with it, others aren’t. It’s really not my place to judge either way. I used to be friends with A LOT of my ex’s. But, when we began dating, my then-boyfriend-now-husband was not ok with it. And while I didn’t totally get his issues, it didn’t matter. I chose him. Most of the ex’s are now distant memories. And I have no regrets. None at all. Might be different for you, though…

  9. Ahhhhhh, I have a lot to say on this topic. 🙂
    Of the men I’ve dated, despite the fact we’d often say we’d “like to stay friends”, only one has stuck around as a TRUE friend. Someone I spend time with, talk to, go to for advice, etc etc. I would have loved to fix him up with other friends, but I just couldn’t find the right match. Well, he’s now in a relationship with a wonderful woman and I couldn’t be happier. It took some time to convince my fella that there was no need for insecurity–said ex and I have a lot in common, but at the end of the day, it’s stuff that makes us good friends and NOT good …more than friends.
    What I worry about is when fella hangs out with women I know he had interest in but never actually dated. Then I worry that there is some longing there to find out what he might have missed. But…we’ve talked through that and I’m more or less satisfied that I have nothing to fear.
    At the end of the day, worry is normal and valid and human IMO on such matters, but if/when it takes over the relationship and/or leads to “forbidden friendships” someone is really not being honest with themselves or the relationship. And sometimes, a person knows what THEY are capable of and projects their insecurities on to the other person–as I would venture to guess happened with your friend.

  10. I don’t see why not. I think it depends on how and why it ended. You can definitely be friends with guys you’ve… ummm… been intimate with (I’d use the F-word but not sure it’s appropriate.) Kills the sexual tension maybe?

    Dunno been years and years… I’ve totally lost touch with my flings, there are a few I think about from time to time. But not enough to look ’em up on Facebook.

  11. I’ve remained friendly with several serious exes (in a facebook kind of way), but some of my best guy friends are ones I had flings with way back when (didn’t everyone date everyone in high school/college?). My husband doesn’t mind, and if he did, he wouldn’t say anything. I did have an ex who was friends with a particular bitchy (and beautiful) ex-girlfriend and it made me insanely jealous. But I never said so to him because that was my own insecurities talking.

    Here is what I think it comes down to. If you truly trust someone, as you should in a committed relationship, you can’t tell them who to be friends with, even if it makes you jealous/uncomfortable/angry. Everyone has a past, and you shouldn’t have to deny that past to make someone else feel more secure.

  12. Personally, I am not friends with exes, but I think it’s great that some people can be. (Like Samantha said on SATC, “When I’m done with them, I’m done” 😉 )

    I think some people never grow out of being jealous and insecure. Ever. And these are the people who don’t trust their husband to talk to their ex, etc. It is somewhat legitimate, but come on, become involved… be friendly too, meet the person and if you get that bad feeling, let your husband know.

  13. I think, like with many things, your open-mindedness is an exception here. I know people that cannot fathom talking to exes, and I know people that keep in touch with every one of them. I seem to be somewhere in between, which probably reveals more about me than any of my exes. There were some good choices and some bad choices, and yeah, I don’t keep in touch nor care about the bad choices. Big surprise there, right?
    As for ruling who and who cannot be friends with any of my exes, regardless of my relationship with them, that’s just silly. And insecure.

  14. If you’re ex’s significant other is worried/jealous of your friendship status, then there is an insecurity in that relationship. Which means it’s not a healthy relationship in the first place. I am not at all surprised that your ex’s relationship ended in divorce. It is my rule that whoever in the relationship is worried that the other will cheat, it is they who would cheat if given the opportunity. I have this same situation where My BF and I hang out with an ex of mine and his wife. We are all very good friends, and I would have never met my BF if it hadn’t been for the ex. It can be done, and any friend who would give you up for an obviously bad relationship is the one who loses!! 🙂

  15. I think it is an age thing… or maturity. I was very jealous when I was younger. (Part of this might be due to how the relationship started, if you met when they were still dating someone and they left her for you.. well it could happen again) Now my husband is friendly with his ex wife (though not friends) and runs into another ex through work frequently. People have history, you can’t just pretend it away. And if they still have feelings for an ex, they will have them even if they aren’t “allowed” to be friends with them.

    I love Harry and Sally banter.

  16. Of my serious ex’s, I wanted to be friends with all of them, but their girlfriends put the kibosh on it in all cases. There were even moments after they got married, and I got married where we tried to be friends again, but their wives were having none of it.
    I personally don’t have an issue with it. If my husband wanted to be friends w/one of his ex’s more power to him. I trust him enough to not feel the need to babysit his friendship choices.

  17. I put on a friendly face, so to speak, when talking with my ex (who lied, cheated, and stole not just from me but from his friends too) but I could never be his real friend simply because I can’t trust him.

    Now my husband I’ve known for 11 years, and before we started dating 5 years ago, I knew him to be an honest and loyal man. So when he works with a bunch of women I’m not bothered. I know I can trust Ian not to be a fuck up.

    I’ve only dated a few times prior to Ian and never see any of those other guys I dated so very briefly. This is okay with me. I use to have a lot of guy friends in my youth and early 20s but since I never thought of myself as a pretty muchless girlie sex NEVER came up. NEver ever. i just chalked it up to be ugly.

    It’s all relative, my dear. What works for some may not work for others, as long as we remember that people should get over it. :o)

  18. I have one ex (who I was friends with for a year before we briefly dated) that I remain close with. It was YEARS ago and we have a very much platonic friendship. Some men I’ve dated since then have trouble with it…some more than others. I don’t have any old “friends with benefits” that I remain in contact with, because I don’t really see any point.

    As far as I am concerned, I don’t have a problem with my significant other remaining friends with exes…as long as there is no hanky panky weirdness. I think it’s more of a case by case basis, too difficult to draw a line on what’s OK and what’s not. Ya know?

  19. Not only have I remained friends with exes in the past but I have also become friends with the current women in their lives. If anything, I’ve had more problem with the whatever guy I am dating at the time being uncomfortable with the fact that I’m still friends with exes than with the new women in the exes lives. Oh, and these guys who didn’t like that I was still friends with exes? Didn’t really keep up with them once things ended.

    For me, part of what attracts me to a guy is the ability to be friends. Just because things didn’t work out romantically doesn’t mean that we can’t still be friends.

  20. Jerry and Elaine make a strong case!

    But I definitely wouldn’t feel comfortable with my own husband being friends with an ex. He’s way too pervy for that and even though he’d never ACT on it, he’d be thinking dirty thoughts about her and that would make me uncomfortable. I think I side with Harry Burns.

  21. I’m still friends with the Mushroom Man, but we were never “official.” HW thinks that he’s the Coolest Dude Ever, though, so there’s no issue there. They chat it up big time, and I adore the Mushroom Man’s girlfriend, so it’s not awkward at all.

    I think for us the FAR more awkward thing is that HW is friends with my Ex. When we first started dating, HW didn’t know the entire backstory, and would insist to me that my Ex was a “great guy.” He still pulls that shit occasionally, and it’s been an issue for me. And HW’s best friend is now dating HW’s ex-girlfriend, and I’ve sometimes had issues with that.

    So I guess my point is that there are no hard-and-fast rules to being friends. But reading what I just wrote, it seems that it’s harder for me than it is for him. Hmmm…

  22. I’m not friends with any of my exs, but I think that may be my total lack of relationship history. I just didn’t really have relationships, and certainly none that lasted longer than a few weeks, months at most.

    I think that you accuse people of behavior that you would engage in, because people always assume that you would do what they would do in a given situation. And thus it surprises me not at all that your friend’s wife cheated on him.

    If you trust someone, you don’t really worry. That’s what trust means.

  23. I thinks its inappropriate to be friends with an ex if that person has a girlfriend or wife. You have to understand how that girlfriend/wife feels. The thing is, if you’ve slept with someone, you and that person are always going to have this thing between you. Maybe both of your would never do “it” again, but this thing is still there, this chemistry. That’s my humble opinion. I mean lets be honest here, you have a ton of friends, at least what I can gather fromn your blog. Do you really need to keep in touch with someone you slept with? Probably not. I also think its not appropriate if that ex confind in yous about his current relationship. How would his wife/girlfriend feel? I’m not judging you in anyway, really I’m not. I just think as a woman, we need to look out for other woman, and be sensitive to eachother. For example, I don’t understand women (and this doesn’t pertain to you) that knowingly have affairs with men who are involved with other women. Why do women do this to eachother? Women need to unit and not tolerate b*llshit from men. I think men who want to stay friends with ex’s do this because they love attention, and it doesn’t matter who it is from. I’m rambling now, sorry.

  24. One of my closest friends is a guy I went on one date with…and I am definitely friends with some exes. I think the important part is that both people have moved beyond wanting to date — otherwise, someone’s going to get hurt. But we’re adults; that should be doable, if the friendship is worth it.

  25. Ah, a subject near and dear to my heart.

    My best guy friend growing up was NEVER anything more than that. I truly considered him to be my adopted brother. (So did my family. He sat at the family table at my brother’s wedding.) So imagine my surprise when, during college, our friendship took a dive because his girlfriend didn’t want him to even CALL me anymore. We lived hours apart and never saw each other, but that didn’t matter. E-mail, text, phone calls – all too much.

    Of course, a couple months after they broke up, he shattered all of my pre-conceived beliefs that men and women could just be friends, confessing that while I’d been blissfully ignorant and thinking we were just REALLY close friends growing up, he’d had a thing for me. On a hunch, I’d say he made the mistake of telling her that somewhere along the way. Like before he told me.

    Bottom line… I think that Harry’s right – but with his philosophy tweaked a bit. I think that at some point in every man/woman “friendship,” there is a want for more. By one of them at the very least. They may or may not ever act on it before that element goes away, but at one point in time, one of them wanted more. It’s not JUST friendship for both parties at all times. It can’t be. In your case… it’s over and done, you’ve both moved on. Sometimes though, people can’t move on. And that’s when trouble comes along.

  26. I am still friend with my EX and with a guy who was interested in me but who knew that I was taken and we turned it into a friendship.
    I think it can work – when all parties act like adults and if there is truly no “love” feelings left that could get in the way.

    I think it’s very sad when a SO makes his/her partner quit a friendship with somebody he has known for a very long time, before even meeting SO.

  27. I don’t really think this is one of those clear cut, right or wrong issues. The “sit on the fence, could I be anymore vague” answer is: “it depends”. It depends on how the previous relationship(s) ended. It depends on whether your current significant other is ok with it. My general rule of thumb on anything is to put myself in my significant other’s shoes. How would I like it if they did blah-blah-blah?

  28. I’m friends with a few of my exes….but not THAT close. I would never set any of them up. They can do that on their own!

    Ouch….your exes wife wanting him to end his friendship with you was a big red flag which unfortunately he didn’t catch at the time. Sadly enough it sounds like he’s paying for it now. That’s a bummer! But I believe in karma too :o)

    My ex now is best friends with someone that he slept with once. I didn’t find this out until after we had broken up. He said they realized after that it was a mistake, and they would never be together. If we were together I wouldn’t feel threatened by her and even if I did I would have to deal with it. Forcing your partner to give up friends is a good way to ruin a relationship.

  29. I have great male friends and a pseudo-ex (we did everything except date) and I know the pseudo-ex bothers my boyfriend a bit. He doesn’t say anything but he doesn’t have to. I keep everything on the up and up, make sure I don’t talk about him too much, hang out with him, etc.

    My brother and his girlfriend of 3 years broke up recently and both said they wanted to be friends. She’s made the effort but he hasn’t responded. They both said the breakup was mutual, but I suspect she really initiated it. I don’t see the two of them being friends anytime in the future.

    I think it depends on the people, but it’s important to act with propriety.

  30. I think staying friends with exes is doable but depends on whether it’s worth doing. In two cases, I even lived with exes. The first I’d been engaged to but we’d been best friends before we started dating. That friendship took a hit when I discovered that she’d cheated on me to a much greater degree than she’d told me months after we’d broken up. We got past that, but ultimately I found that she took me for granted and wasn’t a very good friend so I let it go.

    The other living-with-ex scenario only got sticky when his girlfriend started visiting and eventually moved in with us. She was the type to say really mean stuff about people but with a smile or laugh as though she didn’t mean it. Though I’d had the apt. first, I couldn’t afford to live there alone which lead to months of apt. hunting (tough in LA when you’re basically freelancing) which made her crazy. I found one, started moving out, he proposed and she accepted, but then my new place fell through and she went ballistic on me (even though she’d only contributed say $50 in over 6 months of living with us) and gave me a move out ultimatum while he sat by saying nothing.

    Can’t say I’d recommend living with an ex since I just ended up discovering that I’d been lied to after the fact.

    On the other hand, a guy I have great chemistry with and went on a few dates with is still a friend and that’s right for both of us. I’ve also been into a friend, told her, gotten the suavest letdown, and become better friends for it. In those sorts of unrequited cases, I find my romantic leanings fade the more I get to know them, so it works out fine. ok, already way too revealy so I’ll stop here.

  31. I’m friends with many of the men I’ve dated in the past. My husband isn’t a big fan of this (as I have learned by being very honest about how I know some of them) so with the ones who live far, far away (which is many of them since I’ve only been in the Midwest about eight years now and with my husband for seven of those eight years) I just don’t give that many details. He doesn’t have to get all weird about it and I get to keep my friends.

  32. I am not friends with any of my exes. I think actually one guy counts as an ex even though we never exactly dated. We are still friends so I guess my real answer is that I am friends with one ex.

    BUT I have had at least 2 guy friends who got married and then their wives told them they shouldn’t talk to me anymore. Just friends. Never anything more. But I have to respect that if their wife is uncomfortable, they should do what she needs in order to feel safe. I can’t imagine ever “forbidding” my husband from talking to someone, in fact he is good friends with a girl he dated in high school and we have had her over bunches of time and my kids love her. I just feel like once you “forbid” something, it becomes more enticing. At least to me because I am sort of rebellious. You can’t ever control someone else, they always have free will, so part of a relationship is trusting that they won’t screw you over. I wouldn’t want someone to tell me who to be friends with, so I wouldn’t do it either. But I still understand where the wives are coming from. Make any sense?

  33. I am friends with many exes. Some I just kinda dated briefly, at date or two, and a one in particular I dated for years. In fact we are having lunch today.

    My fiance doesn’t mind, we are secure in our relationship so it doesn’t bother him. He talks to his ex, and I don’t mind. Some of my exes are still part of our wide friend circle, and we see them with out incident or discomfort for anyone. One of my exes married another girl from the circle and that is wonderful.

    I just don’t mind the exes thing. To me, if the relationship is over it is over. Sometimes there is a friendship remaining, sometimes not. Depends on each situation.

  34. I think you can usually tell by the way your other half talks about/reacts to his/her ex whether or not it’s really over or if there’s some leftover feelings. Fair enough leftover feelings might not be a huge threat to the current relationship but I’m quite sure they can make you feel pretty crappy about yourself. It’s a tricky situation and I’d have to agree with a few of the previous commenters who said that it really depends on the people involved.

  35. I am still friends with my last ex, probably to my detriment, because it’s too easy to just keep talking to him instead of getting out & meeting new people! I think we both realize that as soon as the other one finds someone new we probably won’t be able to talk in the same way. We were always better friends than boyfriend/girlfriend. So it’s hard knowing what things will be like when we finally do move on (after 4 years of off & on).

  36. I can see both sides of the situation too. I know that personally I have two EX’es that I am still friends with and one person I briefly dated that we decided we were better as friends than lovers. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. I think all people come into our lives for us to learn something from them, we may not know what, but there is always a reason. It’s been my experience too that when people feel threatened or insecure in themselves, they project that onto those around them.

  37. I’m good friends with one ex. And I talked him through breaking it off in one doomed-already relationship and into asking out this new girl that he really liked. And then he married her. It’s a beautiful match, and thankfully she doesn’t mind him being friends with me. However, if she’d felt uncomfortable, I would have backed off, figuring she was meant to be far more important to him than I ever was. Sad, but true. And it didn’t happen, since she and I get along and she’s not threatened by me.

    But there are others out there that I may never talk to again, and I’m okay with that.

    Like you said, it takes a particular kind. I’m sorry for your guy friend, but maybe now the two of you can strike up that friendship again?

  38. I was the maid of honor at my now-husband’s ex-girlfriend’s wedding. I’m the one that convinced her to ask out her now-husband. We’ve vacations with them about 3 times now (once for our anniversary) and we usually meet up with them every time they come back to SoCal. So no, I don’t think it’s strange at all.

  39. i definitely had a friend’s girlfriend tell him that she didn’t like me and sadly we stopped being as close as we once were because of said girlfriend. and it was even more ridiculous to me because we had never dated, never even hooked up. it, still to this day, drives me crazy that some women can be so insecure. granted they are married now and i was invited to the wedding, but i rarely talk to him still and i can pretty much blame that one on her…oh well. sera sera i suppose.

  40. I have stayed friends with many of my ex’s and my best friend is a man I once thought about dating. I have a posse of guy friends and I feel like a queen when I am with them, if my boyfriend could not deal with that then he would not be my boyfriend :-).

  41. context context context…

    i’m friends with all three of my ex-serious relationships. two of them in an email/random phone call to say hi kind of way and one of them is still very much a part of my life. my man has absolutely no problem with it and very much enjoys the company of the latter ex.

    i think it’s the boundaries…
    my ex relationships and i DO NOT divulge personal secrets about our current partners with each other, we DO NOT ever jokingly flirt about sexual encounters with each other, we DO NOT ever have conversations we would not be able to tell our current partners about.
    *granted, all of my exes and i are over each other and harbor no longing to be together…this is probably a big part of whether or not it’s smart to be friends with an ex*

    my man and i have had some issues with an ex-girlfriend of his because she liked to randomly send him emails and/or text messages discussing orgasms, etc. she is no longer a part of his life for that reason.
    but, apart from that, i am friendly with his ex-wife (the mother of his son) and am quite good friends with a girl he once dated years ago.

    again, it’s context and it’s all about the actual people involved and their intentions and boundaries.

  42. Oh, Sizzle. Let me tell you a story about how I was friends with my only real ex for years. YEARS. And nothing happened and it wasn’t weird and we were fine. Then he decided to get married and even though they live in a different state he had to stop talking to me or she wouldn’t marry him.


    I don’t see what’s wrong with being friends with your exes but then again I’m not totally insecure and psycho. Woot.

  43. I’m your polar opposite. I have dated two men seriously in my life and married one. So, yeah. I’m not friends with the other one who lives in my town and fixes my phone and it’s awkward.

    You, however, are a totally different story and I’d like to think I’d be okay with you being friends with my guy if he’s your ex . . . because each situation is unique, as are the dynamics given the players.

    But . . . I have a friend who has tons of male friends. And she spends more time with her male friends than her husband. And my husband thinks it’s totally weird. And I have to admit I do too.

  44. Being friends with someone you went on a couple dates with is one thing. Being friends with the woman/man you once thought you’d spend the rest of your life with is another. I’m not friends with exes because I think once a flame, always the chance for a spark to develop again. I expect the same of my boyfriends. Mostly because I don’t want to be in the same room with someone who knows what it’s like to have my bf’s penis inside them.

  45. Interesting topic. I agree with PunchlineWalking’s comment — you can’t tell someone who to be friends with. I’m still friends with the only ex I dated for longer than three months (we lasted a year and a half), as well as one guy I dated a couple of months. But I don’t see either of them all the time or anything — at most we see each other once every few months. In fact, the guy I dated for two months FINALLY found another girlfriend recently after eons of searching and feeling sorry for himself, so he’s mostly dropped out of my life, but I’m happy for him (it is definitely for the best!).
    It’s ironic that your ex and his wife are now divorcing because she cheated on him. It’s like she was projecting her own tendency to cheat onto him!

  46. Yeah, not so much. I did try and stay friends with an important ex of mine, but it was confusing for him, emotionally. It also made things bumpy with the current(most important) man whom I knew I wanted to marry– so I let him slide away.

    Now the Harry Met Sally inference I TOTALLY get. I do have friends that are men, because of my workplace, but it can be sticky. I was in denial about the “Whys” for awhile. I do believe it simply comes back to that very true exchange you quoted, and the fact it is complicated because we are men and women. It could slip over the line of trust, and ruin things all too easily, so you just back off, and then you aren’t even friends, anymore. I think it’s easier for most men and women to be friends in a friend-ly sort of way. That doesn’t really count tho, as “real” friends. See?? Complicated.

  47. Oh, the timing of my reading this is hilarious. As you know, I’m in an unusual position, married to the brother of my first great love/lover. A tiny part of our hearts has always belonged to each other. My husband is aware of that, and totally cool with it. The boyfriend-in-law’s wife, however, is pathologically jealous of me. She remains convinced that I am out to steal her husband, despite the fact that my hubby and I are blissfully happy (he has all the good qualities of the BFIL and none of the bad). *Just yesterday* she sent me a flaming rant about how I’m “obsessed” with her husband, and cannot be trusted. Why? Because I sent her a friend request on Facebook so I could comment on her cute new pics. After putting up with these accusations for 5 years, I’ve just had it with her, and I told her so. We are now not speaking. Ridiculous.

    So I think it all depends on the attitudes of the people involved, and how secure they are in their relationship. And also what your relationship with the ex was – I avoid contact with my abusive ex-husband as much as possible.

  48. i think for women, it’s more the threat of their partner’s emotional intimacy with an ex-lover, rather than the fear of accidental repeat sex.

    ie; what is he sharing with her that he is not sharing with me? why does he need her to make him feel better, when i am right here? love me, dammit. and only me.

    OR, maybe it’s because sizzle was so LIMBER in her 20’s and could do that whole, leg behind the neck, thing. cause who wouldn’t be jealous of that?

  49. btw, because i slept thru english class, i seemed to imply in my previous comment that I THINK FOR WOMEN. i meant: i think COMMA for women COMMA, blah blah blah.

    cause i can barely think for myself.

  50. I’d enjoy a phone call from any of my exs IF they were to call me. I’d even play match maker for them. I would even go to an ex’s wedding to someone else if they wanted me to. As long as the relationship didn’t end on a sour note AND both parties can be friends (w/o jealously rearing it’s ugly head)…then why not!

    Right? Right.

  51. I’m on good terms with Exes, but I don’t know if I’d call them “best friends” at this point. I think the key is that the current relationship has to be the priority one and there also needs to be an effort to make friends between the Ex and the current significant other — or else it will never work b/c the significant other will think you’re hiding something. I think it all comes down to boundaries with any type of relationship in relation to the romantic one.

    It’s hard to say what your Ex told his wife about you and your relationship to make her want him to cut all ties (or else she’s just crazy). I also think women are naturally suspicious of each other in that type of scenario, so when I’ve been the female friend of a guy (not even an ex), I’ve gone out of my way to befriend the girlfriend so that she’s not threatened by me.

  52. i’m friends with my ex and my husband knows it and he’s ok with it.
    i guess we’re more like acquantances than friends, but it’s nice to hear from him once in a while.
    i dont agree with someone who said about the ‘flame’.
    i don’t think theres any flame bet my ex and i.

  53. I’m gonna go with a feeble, yet questioning “no?”. My brother is best buds with my college sweet heart. I am married to someone else. College sweet heart comes around alot. It’s. . .awkward. I want to be friends with him, but I feel that it would be disrespectful to my husband. I don’t think I would be jumping for joy if he was pal-ing around with his ex, but maybe I just need to be adult about it? I have to admit, when reading your archives, I was thinking that Jersey Girl is one cool chick. To visit your boyfriend’s ex? That is one chill broad. . . I don’t know if I could do it.

  54. I believe Harry’s premise to be 100% fact, based on my own experience with similar scenarios.

    Men and women cannot be friends.* UNLESS they have been more than friends at some point in time and one or both of them moved on from there. But oh so typically (and I have been there so many times myself) one or both of you have to get there first.

    All of that to say: I am friends with a few of my “exes,” though we also don’t talk daily and I would never go have drinks with them without Chris. But again, these were not exes who were my “best” or “worst” of anything.

    * If they are attracted to one another. Also: I don’t think this premise holds true to grown adults who have the ability to reign it in and not go after their friend’s significant others. Though, clearly that isn’t so easy for everyone. Also: if you count being friends who flirt all the time and are clearly attracted to one another and/or big balls of sexual tension, then friends! it is.
    ; )

  55. Crikey, that’s a hard one. It’s pretty hard for people to control their jealousy. I’m not the jealous type myself, but occasionally I get a jealous pang about someone or other. I can’t help thinking, though, that if you are completely faithful, you generally think that your partner is, too, so maybe your friend’s (soon to be) ex-wife’s issues are reflecting on her.

  56. Um … its totally cool. I’m actually VERY good friends with my exFIANCEE (and a few ex boyfriends too)! The way I look at it is that we shouldn’t feel all emotional about why it didn’t work out. Do you really want to be married to a person who didn’t want to be married to you? It just didn’t work .. that doesn’t make them a bad person (in fact, you were with them, so the odds are they are a pretty cool person outside all the relationship craziness). So it takes time but we all just let it go … my current fiancee knows who I am pretty well and knows how jealous he gets … so i just go out “with a friend” and he knows what that means and will ask questions if he wants to. We both respect our rights to be friends with whomever we want to … and then again to not ask questions we dont want the answer to. 🙂

    And no .. I’m not a crazy lady just trying to get married … I was engaged at 21 and then again at 31 … there are a LOT of years there 🙂

  57. I’m friends with most of my exes. And I’ve usually found that if someone wants you to stop being friends with your friends – for *any* reason, they’re bad news.

    I have had the situation where I was disliked because I was a female friend, and in every case, the woman was bad news for my friend. I, however, choose to defer to my friends needs and wishes in these cases. I don’t play games I can’t win.

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