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Having an ex around can be tricky at any time, but is especially so when one or both of you has a new love. I truly and honestly believe that it is possible to be friends with an ex. Going further, I believe that it’s possible for your significant other to a)not be threatened, and b)call your ex a friend also. The key to it all, is your actions. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be an ex. It could be a one night stand, someone who had a crush on you, you went on one date and it didn’t work out…anyone of the opposite sex (or same sex, if that’s your thing), can detract from your relationship if you let him/her.

First of all, I only have regular contact with one ex and we dated TEN years ago. With the others, we just aren’t capable of being friends, or there are still feelings there and some more time needs to pass. I think that whether or not you have moved on to someone else, contact with exes needs to be nonexistent. Only under the most mature of circumstances can there ever truly be a friendship.

I’m going to do my best to write this from the perspective from either sex. So instead of advising guys how to deal with your girlfriend, it’s advising YOU how to deal with your SIGNIFICANT OTHER.

I’ve had boyfriends handle this situation really well (I learned a thing or two), and I’ve had them really stink it up and throw me to wolves. I’ve written this because I feel like I’ve finally mastered the concept well enough to spread my knowledge on to others.

Before you waste your time reading this, ask yourself:

1. Are my ex and I truly friends?

· We haven’t had sexual relations (not even a drunk make-out) in a while (you decide what a “while” is).

· No feelings, positive or negative, are remaining from the relationship. We have said all of our apologies, and/or are completely over all issues from our relationship.

· We don’t even mention the relationship anymore because it’s just not necessary.

· I care about this person just as much/little as any other friend.

· We talk and act the same toward each other, whether I’m in a relationship or not.

· I am very comfortable with my ex and my significant other being in the same room.

· My ex visibly cares about my significant other because he/she cares about me, even if not for any other reason.

2. Am I ready to be in a mature, committed relationship?

· If you still plan on sleeping around, you’re not going to be able to comprehend what I’m saying, and your inevitable criticism will only confuse the others.

3. Do I truly care about my significant others’ feelings?

· If my significant other told me that something about my ex is bothering him/her, will I actually care and try to do something to fix the problem?

If you cannot answer YES to any of these questions, then you might consider ending your current relationship. It sounds pretty hopeless to me dude.

If you answered NO to question #1, but YES to 2 and 3, then the ex/friend situation will NEVER work with your new relationship*. My best advice is to try to talk things through with the ex – explain to ex/friend that you’ve met someone, and it is key that your past relationship doesn’t cause problems. If the ex/friend is anything but understanding and supportive, you need to discontinue talking to this person until he/she can be understanding and supportive of your new relationship. Keep an eye on the situation. If you notice ex/friend being anything but kind and friendly to your significant other, you need to have the chat again.

*The few outliers that could make this situation work are not statistically significant.

If you’re in a relationship, and you’re feeling uncomfortable about your significant other (SO)’s friend, be sure to ask yourself this:

Am I a stable person with good self-esteem, quality friendships, and a non-jealous disposition?

· If you don’t have good self-esteem, EVERYONE will seem like a threat to your relationship.

· If you choose crappy friends who don’t care about you, they’re not going to treat your significant other well no matter what you do.

· If you have jealous feelings often, you are probably with the wrong person. The right person will make you feel secure and comfortable the majority of the time.

You have a new love, and your ex is in the picture.

Do

Don’t

Introduce them IMMEDIATELY after the relationship has been established as exclusive.

Hang out with the ex alone before they have been introduced.

Give the two something to talk about. “Hey Sam used to live in DC too, what part of town did you live in James?”

Talk about your past experiences with your ex in front of the new person. Make sure they’re not bothered if you must.

Listen to your significant other (SO). If something is bothering them about the situation, listen and try to work something out.

Write off everything your SO says as jealousy or insecurity.

Watch your ex for signs of “cattiness.”

Be friends with people who are rude to your SO.

Ask your ex to back off if he/she is making your SO uncomfortable (and you think it’s necessary). If your ex is a true friend, it shouldn’t be a problem. Brownie points for doing so without SO asking.

Be a pushover. If you know without a doubt that your ex is a genuine friend, and is not being hateful to your SO, it might be better to ask SO to try to be friends again.

You have a new love, and his/her ex is in the picture.

Do

Don’t

Genuinely try to get to know the ex.

Be rude to the ex in any way.

Show appreciation and thanks to your significant other for being sensitive to the situation.

Put up with behavior that is disrespectful to you.

Accept offers to hang out without your significant other present.

Be so attached to your significant other that you’re afraid to hang out alone.

Bring immature behavior to your SOs attention.

Overanalyze.

Keep trying, as long as the ex is trying. Remember this relationship is important to your SO, and it should be important to you too.

Be a “frenemy.” You need to be honest with yourself and your SO and yes, even the ex.

You’re the ex.

Do

Don’t

Genuinely try to get to know the significant other.

Ignore the new person.

Try to find things in common.

Talk about your past experiences with your ex in front of the new person. Make sure they’re not bothered if you must.

Keep being friendly, and keep the conversation going, even if you don’t like him/her!! Crucial!

Bug your ex to break up.

Back off a little if you guys are real chummy when you’re both single.

Cling to your ex.

Keep in mind that friends come and go. Just because you dated doesn’t mean you are required to stay in each other’s lives.

Be possessive. He/she isn’t yours anymore!

General tips for social situations:

Introduce your significant other to EVERYONE you encounter. Don’t pull this lame-ass excuse “I couldn’t remember her name!” If for some reason you miss the chance, you’d better fix it as soon as possible. There is absolutely no reason to not introduce your significant other unless you are ashamed of them, or you’re being shady. In either case, break it off. Think about it – if you’re not proud to have everyone meet your new love, why are you with them??

o Dialogue for so-called “forgetfulness”:

Stranger: Hi! It’s so good to see you Charles!!

Charles: Oh, hi. Yeah wow haven’t seen you in so long. Hey! This is my girlfriend, Sarah!

Sarah: Hi I’m Sarah

-pay close attention, at this point Stranger should say her name-

Stranger: Oh it’s so nice to meet you Sarah, I’m Elaine!

-If stranger doesn’t say her name, train your girlfriend to ask for it

Stranger: Oh it’s so nice to meet you Sarah!

Sarah: I’m sorry what was your name?

Stranger: Oh, sorry, I’m Elaine!

I don’t ever want to hear that sad excuse for not showing off your significant other ever again. Rude!!

If your SO doesn’t know anyone or is having an “off night” at a party, club, or other social outing, don’t leave them alone while you talk to others. Imagine if someone else used the opportunity to talk to him/her and they run off while you’re being rude!

-Alternatively, if your SO knows everyone and is still being clingy and annoying, they have issues (or they’re pissed at you). Time for a chat!

If your SO isn’t friendly to your family and friends, they don’t care about you. Plain and simple.

If your SO doesn’t care if you hang out with members of the opposite sex that he is unfamiliar with, he doesn’t care about you. I don’t care what he says or how “cool” he is with it. He doesn’t care.

If your ex wants to be good friends with you but doesn’t make an attempt to be friends with your SO also, he’s not a very good friend.

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One Comment

  1. Found your blog thru facebook… Nice post! In depth and all true. Emotional people need more reminders from rational counterparts.


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