Ok! Raise your hand if you are still close friends with an ex! OK…one, two, three, seven, eleven….nineteen…. Yup! Loads of you…sorry, US are still good friends with an ex or two. I may have taken mine to another level by working really hard to make sure that I remain friends with all my exes and I’m “happy” to say that I have achieved 99% success in this regard – there is the one ex that has dropped out of my radar; even in this age of social media she has remained incommunicado. Anyhow, this article does not focus on my failed relationships but rather on the influence that exes have in subsequent relationships.
In writing this I am aware of the argument that the idea that exes play a role in ongoing relationships might lie more with ex-girlfriends in the lives of guys; but I think it works the other way as well. Specifically I refer to cases where one reaches out to an ex for advice, counsel, comfort, companionship, etc even when one is in a new relationship. Here the boyfriend of girlfriend takes pains to keep from their current partner the fact that he or she is still reaching out to the ex. I find that this happens a lot, even in marriage. In marriage, the man still has access to his still single ex girlfriends but in the case of the married woman it is a lot harder for her to keep in touch with her still single ex boyfriends, except if the guy is married too. I think the explanation for this is that women tend to cut off contact with previous lovers when they move into a committed relationship. Men on the other hand are a lot less extreme in this regard. Another reason could be the variation in the definition of what constitutes cheating for men and women. Men generally see cheating as involving sex with someone other than your partner; while women see cheating as involving other things apart from just sex. Therefore, it would be easier for a guy to hook up with his ex for drinks, where they could catch up and chew the fat, than for a woman to do the same with her ex. The woman’s argument is that cheating can be emotional as well as physical. Guys aren’t exactly emotional creatures so they refuse to see sharing a problem with an ex as cheating. Truth is, a few of us find it easier to run to our exes when we have certain issues. These issues are problems that we are more comfortable discussing with our exes because we think that they are in a better position to help us. These issues could range from the mundane to the serious.
But why do we – men and women alike – still give a starring role to our exes in our lives? If they are that important or relevant why aren’t we still in a relationship with them? If we find it easy to call on them, why did we let them go in the first place? The reasons will vary. I find that the duration of the former relationship plays a role. The longer the relationship, the greater the tendency that the ex knows and understands us better than our current girl/boyfriends. Maybe the issues discussed are too sensitive to be discussed with the current squeeze. Sometimes the issues might have to do with our current partners especially when things are not going well. Inasmuch as talking about your current relationship and its problems with an ex is deemed wrong, or an act of betrayal, a number of people still do it! Maybe we do this in a bid to better understand our new partners since our exes are of the same sex and have the benefit of knowing us, and as such are in an excellent and somewhat objective position to help and advice. Or maybe we just need someone to complain and whine to.
What about just hanging out with an ex? Is that to be discouraged too? I do not know about you but I still enjoy the company of my exes, be it a face to face meeting or via phone calls, Facebook or chat messages. Truth is I believe in “once a girl/boyfriend, always a friend”. I try to make valuable friendships and relationships and as such my friends, including ex girlfriends are precious to me. For real, a few of my exes have bailed me out of bad situations before, offering life-saving advice and company. Some men (not sure about women though) go the seemingly insane extra mile of introducing their partners to their exes. Why? Let me hazard a guess and say that they are trying to make ex girlfriend a legitimate part of their lives; emphasis on “legitimate”. In all this one should learn to draw the line because it can be the easiest thing to cheat with an ex. After all, you know each other so well and have been there before. Hey, there have even been cases where exes hooked up again; realising each other’s value, after spending time with other people.
So I end this in making a case for the exes. If you guys still get along, no wahala as it doesn’t impugn on the progress of your current relationship. And er, before you say that I should practise what I preach, my partner is going to see a movie with her ex tomorrow! So there!