The breakup/”let’s be friends” story is all too familiar.
“It’s just bad timing,” or “I’m not ready for a relationship,” or (insert lame breakup excuse here) followed by, “but let’s still be friends.” They are nice parting words, but in reality, probably not a very nice idea.
Should you be friends with an ex? When it comes to the past, should you go by the old adage “Yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery,” or is there some reason to reconnect with an ex?
According to the U.S. census, the average age for marriage for men is 28.4, for women 26.5. You are going to have racked up quite a few exes by the time you settle down. Maybe some of us can just unemotionally click and drag them from our desktop to our trash, but some of us have reasons to be in touch. But, what are good reasons and what are bad reasons?
If you have kids or even a pet together, not being in touch may not be in option. In fact, it is of the utmost importance to your kids that in fact you have strong communication and a respectful relationship. Otherwise, though, sorry people – any of the excuses you may drum up for wanting to “just meet for coffee,”’ are really only detrimental to yourself.
It Will Drive You Crazy
So maybe you secretly hope by hanging with your ex, they will realize what a mistake they made and beg for you back. Seeing them actually will sabotage this plan. If you are around and accessible, they don’t really have a chance to miss you now, do they? Being unavailable and mysterious really are the only ways to make that ex realize what life without you is like.
We realize it can be tough to follow your own rules, but we can almost 100% guarantee you will wish you had stuck to your guns. As matchmaker Amy Laurent of the new hit Bravo show Miss Advised says, “If one of you said to me, ‘Amy, my ex (who hurt me) is coming back into town and wants to see me,’ I would have said ‘absolutely not’ and I would have made it my duty to save you from yourself. I would have set you up on blind dates for every night of the week your ex was here if I had to in order to keep you from sabotaging yourself or falling into destructive behavior!”
Amy didn’t listen to her own rule and went to dinner with her ex, anyway.
Of course she regrets it.
“Honestly, I’m pissed I even went,” she says.
What if you were the one doing the breaking up? Do you really want to look into your ex’s eyes when they cry and tell you how much they want to get back together? This can drive you crazy too. Don’t do it.
Can You Really Have A True Friendship?
If you meet your ex for a cocktail, and they ask you what you are doing this weekend, are you actually going to be able to respond truthfully and say, “Oh why I am so excited to take surf lessons from this hot new guy I met who I have been hooking up with….and well, I’m not sure where it’s going, but…” Not really, right?
In this so called “friendship,” there will always be elements of lying and deceit, either to protect the other person or yourself. Is this really the kind of friendship you want?
You Are Preventing Yourself From Moving On
No matter how young and sprightly you are, we only have a limited time on earth, and therefore we need to use our time wisely to learn, develop, and progress.
By spending time with an ex, you are actually robbing yourself of time that could be spent meeting someone new, or just doing something that benefits you, like getting a massage, spending time with your niece, or cleaning your home.
What if you stayed home and met a cool new neighbor while walking your dog rather than going out with your ex for a lame dinner, splitting the bill because now you are “friends,” and not getting the “You know, I really made a mistake” speech you were wishing for?
We need to put ourselves in the position to find love, and sitting at a restaurant with your ex is not a very likely place for you to meet “the one.”
Caroline, a 32-year-old event planner from Brooklyn says, “I stayed in touch with an ex and he would occasionally call me to meet up. I guess I secretly hoped he would realize what a mistake he made when he dumped me, but honestly, it just dragged the pain out even more by continuing to hook up with no commitment. I also realized I was wasting time that I could have been using to place myself in situations where I would meet someone new. The first night I turned my ex down, I actually went to the bodega to get some wine and met a really cool guy who I am seeing next week. Good riddance to my ex!”
Professionals agree that closure and moving on have positive effects on our lives. Beverly Hills psychologist Dr. Morris Halperin believes, “People over-rate staying friends and there is a lot to be said about closure and moving on. Often trying to stay friends is a way of not recognizing that it is truly over.”
Although we do sometimes really mean it when we say, “let’s be friends,” the way to truly be a friend to your ex and yourself is to close the door on the relationship, keep the memories, learn lessons, don’t see each other again, and move on.
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