Monday, September 11, 2006


Is it healthy or unhealthy to be friends with an ex?

Modern day culture tells us yes. Seinfeld and Elaine, Will and Grace. Where you were not compatible to be life partners, it is possible to accept the compromise and take a buddy. Assuming of course that the relationship ended somewhat amicably.

Historically speaking, this is really new ground. Before the world got smaller and the invention of reliable birth control, the dating window was pretty darn minute to nonexistent. And as for familiar relations? Hells bells no. Fifty years ago just about any sexual relations not associated with matrimony were kept so under wraps the entire scenario was a disaster unto itself.

What seems to be tricky is the relearning behavior curve. It takes time to become familiar with someone, and to redefine a relationship takes time and effort. Practice makes perfect, and one needs patience to learn a new role. Because that is what it is, a new role.

You are the person that gets to hear about that person dating, and you are not supposed to feel jealous. As a friend you listen and potentially offer advice.

This person exhibits a behavior that was negative and drove you crazy when you were dating, but it isn't your place to argue on it. As a friend you just shake your head.

Oh, and re-learning the physical stuff, that takes time too. Once you are sexually familiar with someone it is almost easier to touch them than not. If you ex needs comfort the pull to reach out is very strong, pretty much instinctual. As a friend you look but don't touch.

How many people do I know who are still in touch with previous lovers? Now how many of them have healthy friendships, not fraught with jealously or drama? Really, I don't know.

When is the desire to stay friends because of an effort to remain in the other person's life at any cost waiting for an opening to get back on that horse, and when is it just because two people simply enjoy each other's company? Is it possible to be platonic once you've crossed that line?

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