When I first joined Facebook I did what everyone did…. look up old friends, classmates, exs, co-workers, distant relatives. Curiosity. Hey, I wonder whatever happened to (blank)? I stumbled across my very first boyfriend. Let’s call him, Todd. He gave me a paragraph update on his life. Brief, polite. Ending with “My wife and I don’t allow friends with ex’s in our relationship”.
I was stunned!!! He and I dated for about 3 months when I was 15. We held hands, he drove me home from school, he walked me to classes. We never moved beyond a peck kiss. To me it was a school girl crush and nothing else. I couldn’t imagine that we were ex’s. I also couldn’t imagine a friendship/relationship from almost 30 years prior being a threat to anyone if your relationship is solid. Fast forward a few years and I totally understand that relationship rule 100%!!!!
All of my ex’s are ex’s for a reason. Whether boyfriend, friends w/benefits, or a former spouse. When whatever our relationship was ended, so did our entire relationship with the exception of one. Not merely because of hurt or anger, but because the relationship was over. There was no point in maintaining the relationship. I’ve never seen anyone do it with total success and not causing themselves and new partners a Hell of a lot of pain and jealousy. I think I’m in the majority of this attitude and way of handling past relationships.
I watched my former best friend break up with her girlfriend to spend the next 2 years struggling to find a happy medium of friendship where boundaries were clear and they weren’t hurting each other. I watched her new girlfriend, turned wife go through Hell at the ups and downs in the “friendship” with the ex. Jealousy over boundaries, time spent, the friend refusing to attend their wedding and acknowledge their marriage. All the while, my friend was oblivious to why it hurt her new partner. She should be fine with it! We’re friends!! There’s nothing else going on.
There comes a point in which you must make an active choice between your past and your future!!
Before this friend met either the ex or the wife, she and I had a relationship. Let me tell you that it broke my heart time and again for years watching her choose someone else. I didn’t actually want a romantic relationship with her, but those feelings of hurt and why am I not good enough lingered for a few years. I hurt… a lot. I ultimately chose to be her friend and let go of any and all feelings beyond that and love her as my friend. There were times that things would happen and I’d be hurt or angry and the past would come up. You’ve chosen someone over me once again! F**K you!
When I married my ex, she and I were friends. Good friends!! There was always a tinge of jealousy on his side. It came up more than a time or two that I was being unfaithful or choosing to spend time with my ex-girlfriend instead of him. I never was. That wasn’t the point. His feelings were real and justified!!! Like that girl, I saw his feelings as ridiculous and petty. All I saw was that we’d been friends for a very long time… my oldest friend in the area. I couldn’t imagine him being right in asking me to choose between my friend and him. He never outright asked me, but the implication was there.
Long after I divorced him, I ended the friendship with that woman. The hurt got to be too much. Along with her judging my relationship choice with Daddy. I made an active choice for the future with him and letting her go. Friendships with ex’s are complicated, hard, hurtful, and a jealousy packed relationship for everyone involved!!!!
My husband, Daddy, is best friends with his ex-girlfriend from like 25 years ago. They were a couple for 5 years. They lived together for many years as roommates after their relationship ended. They have vacationed together for years. They have been friends without any kind of romantic involvement for many, many years… yet there is still hurt in all of the women Daddy’s had relationships with since. They’ve either been jealous and refused to have her in their life as a couple or hated her. When all is said and done, that former girlfriend is always there to pick up the pieces as his friend when relationships fail. After his last relationship before me, she told him that she wouldn’t sit back and wait for him one more time. If he didn’t make a place for her in his life, she was done.
I met her. She came out for a visit back in early August. This is nothing I’ve not told my husband. She’s a nice enough person. I’d not choose her as a friend for myself, but I don’t dislike her. While the 3 of us were together, I was the 3rd wheel. Their history of friendship, romance and years of having a long term relationship left little room for him to have a partner. She maintains expectations of him like a woman who’s still in love, or at least using him as a crutch so that she doesn’t need a relationship of her own. When you add into that telling stories from a lifetime shared together from a sexual romantic relationship to a lifetime friendship, there is no room at all for a new partner. Even as his wife, I didn’t hold that space in his life to her. Boundary issues!!! I chewed his ass off a few times about his priority being ME whether she’s here visiting or not. I’m his wife, his future. She’s his past.
Now that I’ve been on both sides of this issue, I can tell you that being friends with former partners isn’t good for any relationship. I’ve been hurt and jealous. I’ve hurt and made others jealous. No matter the nature or intent of the relationship with an ex… it hurts!!!
I’ve given up more than a few people in my life I cared about because the friendships hurt those closest in my life. A healthy relationship isn’t based on jealousy. When you add an ex to the mix there’s no way there won’t be some jealousy and hurt. At some point you choose whether that friendship with the ex is going to be more fulfilling and important in the long run or the relationship you’re in. Hard choices, but ones we all must make at some point in our lives.
Ex’s are ex’s for a reason and need to stay in the past!!