No, You Can’t Be Friends with Your Ex
“You can’t steal second base if you keep your foot on first”- Mark Batterson
I’m often asked my viewpoint on this topic.
First let’s define “Your Ex”
Your Ex: Is a person you had any emotional/sexual/commitment ties with, and have decided at some point that this was no longer going to work out.
Today, we are talking about friends, not so much acquaintances.
But, let us define an acquaintance.
Acquaintance: I would say this involves communication that happens once/twice a year between the hours of 10am and 7pm– involving things like”hello”, “happy birthday”, “congrats!” “Merry Christmas to you and your family” types of things. *Depending on one’s self-control ability, these lines can quickly become blurred.
If we are being absolutely honest with ourselves, the desire to befriend an ex stems from one of three reasons:
1. Either you are not completely over him
So you leave the ‘friendship door’ open.
2. Either he is not completely over you
So he leaves the ‘friendship door’ open.
3. You are not completely over each other
You understand that you two are not good as a couple. In fact you’re both agree that you’re kind of awful as a couple. However, you both keep each other around for either comfort or as a way to avoid facing a fear (probably the fear of not being able to find the same comfort in someone better suited for you). You probably have strong family and/or friendship ties (he was your mom’s favorite and you were his mother’s favorite), you can’t get over how great you both appear on paper or in photographs (hot couple alert), and you have a lot of history.
If you’re currently in a relationship with someone else:
If you’re currently in a relationship with someone else, befriending an ex will cause someone to get hurt.
If somehow you both avoid hurting one another again, you wont avoid hurting your new spouses. There’s a unique connection between you and your ex that neither of you will be able to hide. Along with this connection is the amount of time you’ve known each other. If you’ve known each other since you were 16, no one can compete with that. His spouse should not have to compete with you and your spouse should not have to compete with him.
If you look past the surface of your emotions, the lingering good memories, the lingering bad memories, and beyond your own fears of finding someone else you’re compatible with, you’ll see it.
If you’re both single:
Get back together or LET IT GO.
I’ve known couples that have broken up, gotten back together, and ended up married! However, both individuals involved were fully committed to making their relationship work the second time around; no question. There wasn’t any guessing, or wondering, buying time, or just hanging out, there was a definite goal. They made great changes; began to trust one another again, stopped cheating, stopped lying, became fully invested, and made vows.
If getting back together is not the goal, anything other than letting go is counterproductive to growth.
Swap fear for FAITH and allow God to lead you to someone who is a better fit for you.
If they’re giving you mixed signals
People that give mixed signals are both sure they want you and sure that they are not for you.
If he’s pushing the “we’re just friends” campaign but treats you like a spouse then YOU need to let go. Don’t wait for him to let go.
Don’t settle for being the go to person when he has relationship problems and needs someone to talk to. Girl, let him talk to God. Let him talk to his mom, dad, brother, sister, cousin, uncle or even better…his spouse; not you. The same goes for you. You should not make your ex the person you confide in when you’re having relationships issues, or issues in general.
Do not make them your second choice. Do not become their second choice.
“If you have to hesitate between me and another woman, don’t choose me”- unknown.
Exception if you have a child with your ex and you are able to maintain a friendship with them, your friendship must be built on respect; respect for the child and one another. If respect is unobtainable, love from a distance and remember that it’s all about providing a healthy environment for your child. Anything that will cost the healthy environment for your child is not worth having. Parallel parenting will do.
Stay Polished Pistil.
article updated: 10/12/16