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Vanessa Onyema: You Do Not Have to Stay Friends With an Ex

Vanessa Onyema

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What’s the angle when exes decide to bestie up?

Maturity has been trashed and misinterpreted in several ways, which I myself cannot comprehend. It’s kind of funny that when I decide that the best way to move out of a bad situation and regain my sanity, is always classified as immaturity.

One very unfortunate thing about feelings is that it is quite hard to kill it. Even the so-called maturity can never kill it. But you know what can try? Distance! And a lot of it.

When the reason for separation is on mutual grounds, it is okay to decide to stay friends. Maybe ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’ But when it goes beyond that, it becomes a problem; you get stuck. You get hurt.

When it gets bad, you run.

Social media is so easy, but as humans we always choose to walk on the path of complication. Instead of rubbing the good life in each other’s faces, use the block button! If seeing stuff, gets your day cranked up, if it makes you feel bad and spend hours on a page with a rush of rage, use the block button!

It’s not immaturity, it’s smart thinking. You don’t need anyone seeing how happy you have become. You don’t need that kind of validation. If you need to show how much you have moved on, or how excessively happy you are, then that happiness is forced. Trust me if you are truly happy, it will be seen. It must not come from you.

Why stay friends with an ex when you are tearing apart inside? Why hang on to someone who probably didn’t see you worthy of a try, who didn’t think you deserved a second chance? Are you thinking a magical friendship will jump-start feelings?

The more you hang in there playing confidant and leaning shoulder, the more disposable you become. The more you try to play it cool, the more you find yourself as a sitting duck. You are pushed to talk about your feelings, because it never left. Then, it ends badly and puts you in a messy situation.

Whenever you become less available, less predictable, when your life can’t be quoted, that’s when you become important.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying be enemies, or possibly send a firing squad after an ex because of a broken heart, but keep your distance and heal with time.

You can stay friends after you heal, or better just move along with your life. An extra baggage of worry doesn’t help all because you want to prove your maturity.

A mature person is not one who does things because of approval, or what people will say. A mature person is one with a mind of their own.

Photo Credit: Alberto Jorrin Rodriguez | Dreamstime.com

48 Comments

  1. Okezie Orji

    May 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Nice piece Vanessa, happiness, success,failure are all evident even as you cannot coerce loyalty

  2. Nano

    May 21, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    No, I think you don’t have to irrespective of the ‘maturity’ tag. You should remain friends if there’s still an element of happiness left as friends. It’s only mature to disconnect from whoever doesn’t bring you any joy or peace of mind. x

    • Daphne -647

      May 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      My dear, there is no element of happiness (or peace of mind) when you are in love with someone who loves someone else.
      I fell in love with someone. This is someone I communicate with morning afternoon and night o
      Told him.
      But turns out he’s in love with someone else
      So I ran the other way
      Deleted all our whatsapp chat.
      He later chatted me up saying that our friendship shouldn’t end just like that.
      I said it must o.
      BTW, I still lightly stalk him online but I know with time and distance, I’ll find someone who reciprocates my feelings towards him.

  3. marvel

    May 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    short and on point. nice.

  4. Ima

    May 21, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    I totally agree. People feel if you keep talking to an ex, it means you’re both mature about the situation but I don’t think so except there are unavoidable reasons why I should keep communicating with you.. Reasons like business, kids, work . Asides that, I honestly prefer not to go out of my way to stay in touch with you

  5. Leah

    May 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t understand it either. Unless you broke up because your genotype was incompatible or it was really amicable, close that chapter and move on.
    Some guy treated me really shabbily, then didn’t even have the guys to break up even though it was clear that’s what he wanted.
    I finally walked away and a year later, he calls wanting to hang. I stood him up and promptly blocked the fool.
    Call me petty but who care?

    • Dolly

      May 21, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Lol yes petty pants, love it. Oh and most guys don’t know how to break up, they simply start acting up so u can walk away smh

  6. ofide elvis

    May 21, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Nice one can you be a guest publisher in my blog?click here

  7. Dolly

    May 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    I like this topic, forever up for debate but i agree its ok not to stay friends with an ex’
    Reminds me of one that wont stop periodical calls / texts of sweet nothings. I simply followed him on i.g (excitingly he follows back) then blocked him on every other contact. You wanna stay in touch, well here keep tabs.

    P.S- I never follow anyone i’m dating or even close friends, someone’s panties always end up in a bunch over likes.

  8. ceejay

    May 21, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    You couldn’t have said it better…some friendship are not necessary, especially with ex because feelings are there and would somehow always be, amicable or unamicable breakup staying in touch would bring hurt. It might be through pics,words or action but it would come

  9. tiri

    May 21, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Tiri Gbosa for you for this article jor!!!!! You hit the nail right on the head. It just re-echoed most of my thoughts. Love eet.

  10. Diamond

    May 21, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I agree with Vanessa. You are there forming friends, and he is busy bad talking you with his friends.
    If we bump into one another, if he says hi, I respond hello and move on. If he says nothing, I act like we never knew/met. I don’t have time for pretense!

  11. mystery

    May 21, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    i had an ex ,who had the nerve to send me a dm after a rude breakup which i actually found out on instagram,where he threw a party for her..i simply moved on quietly,only for bobo to say so we cant stay friends after all this years,like excuse me.. this friendship you now seek should be described as what..i do not have any more time to waste abeg. chapter closed

  12. Laila

    May 21, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    This is my life right now and I’m soo confused. I met a really great guy at a work conference and felt an instant attraction to him. After the event, I went over and we sparked a conversation. At the end of the night, I gave him my card and said blankly that I’ll like to see him again. I didn’t take his card or contact as I needed to know if he was interested. He called the very next day and we had our first date.
    It was really a sweet evening, at first. Until he told me he had a gf. He wanted us to keep in touch and I agreed to the “friends” card. The more we talked or spent time together, the chemistry was just crazy. He later told me his gf was pregnant and they were planning on moving in together. I was devastated. Long story short, I tried to get him off my mind in vain. We spoke a lot and he acknowledged that he had strong feelings for me too but couldn’t hurt someone who had done him no wrong. He was confused because he was sure he had found the one in his gf and was very surprised that he could develope such Strong feelings for someone else. We ended up kissing and although I wanted to take things further, he was v reluctant. He feels that sex is binding and given that we already have very strong feelings for each other, it may really hurt us both to add sex in the mix without any promise of a relationship. I insisted couple of times but he always very politely made me see reason. In my mind, I could get over him If I consumed the relationship.
    After about 3 months of trying to stay friends, we ended up doing the deed… Needless to say my feelings didn’t change. If anything I wanted him more. He felt horrible about it all because to him, this had complicated the friendship he hoped we could build as there’s now sexual chemistry involved.
    I tried to stay away. Told him the staying friends was impossible and he agreed to respect my Decision and did. But one month after, he’s been calling and texting. That he needs our friendship…
    I’m just lost. I was actually thinking I should be mature and civil. But after reading this, I am asking myself what that friendship will offer me. I do think he is a great guy and respect that he was not only honest about his situation but very dissuasive of a sexual relationship between us. I miss his friendship too, but not sure my feelings for him are completely burried. We always had things to talk about and could talk for hours…. Mid day chats, evening calls… And he is soo funny. Can we really build a non sexual frienship after this? I’m lost as to whether or not to stay in touch. Xo Leila

    • Bleed Blue

      May 22, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Sweetheart your connection with him sounds beautiful and from your story, he does sound like an amazing guy BUT….he is cheating on his pregnant girlfriend who has done him no wrong.

      YOU are the one he is cheating with.

      Please try and take a moment out of the we-found-our-love-in-a-hopeless-place romance and let that sink in.

      I know these things are never easy but I pray you find the strength to disconnect.

    • Puzzles

      May 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I’m sorry but it’s hard to feel sorry for you because you knew from the beginning that he had a girlfriend yet you continued putting yourself in his life, hoping he’ll break an innocent woman’s heart for you.

      If he had ended things with her, you’ll come up with a sweet love story for BellaNaija, forgetting the other girl who he admits had done him no wrong.

      The other lady is pregnant with his child, yet you’re still eager to get him for yourself. Most likely, he has begun to treat her badly and she’s probably wondering what she has done wrong.

      Women are truly their greatest enemies

      You’re a wicked person and as you do to others, so may others do to you.

    • June

      May 22, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Honey, as nice as this guy seems- take it from someone who had been there and done that a thousand and one times and then some- he wants to eat his cake and have it too. You will end up being HURT. He will live his life, build a family with his girlfriend and still have the comfort of you has his “friend” !! You might end up stuck in this crazy wishful , hopeful place with this man. And your will beat yourself about this whole situation when you think about the fact that he has a girlfriend , a pregnant one at that. It’s a viscous cycle. – DO NOT DO IT!! This kind of friendship , who is it helping? Walk away je je !

    • jjgiirl

      May 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      my dear you’re harming yourself leave him!!

  13. bae

    May 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I had to lock up on both my exs. One was because I didn’t want anymore emotional attachment and the other because he is a terrible person. I am not angry anymore,he tried to keep up with me, I was polite initially because I thought it was the mature thing to do but the constant chummy chummy chats and calls were becoming annoying and I hated the fact that he indirectly dissed his wife and was talking of regrets ,i ✂ cut all communications fast, My husband is enough for me. Wicked ex. Lol.

  14. shola

    May 21, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Sorry to deviate guys. Just left a girls night in hang out and the convo was reagrding the ‘ex factor’ I’m just wondering apart from the those guys who treat us badly or abuse. Do you not think many if us break up our realtionships too easily, over petty reasons. Our reasons for break up makes out like their is a mature guy/girl around the corner ready to embrace another relationship straight away. I wonder if many of us are even preparing for divorce through our various serious relationships. Rather than working through them. What if many of us worked fthrough the challenegsin realtionships the same way we would work through our marriages. Do you think many more of us would happily be in realtionships? rather than this constant wirlwind of break ups , just because we felt like it and we could. Thoughts??

  15. blah

    May 21, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    @shola yes relationships can actually be worked on if both parties consent to make it work..but in most cases one party gives up too easily even while the other is willing to make amends…if the two people involved are not on the same page to fix it, my dear there is absolutely nothing you can do to make it work.

  16. Halima

    May 21, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    So on point! You dont need to be friends if you dont want to.

  17. Alterego

    May 22, 2017 at 6:08 am

    A friend introduced me to him. The first day we ever chatted, it lasted for hours. The next day, he called, we were both chuckling after the call ended. My normally guarded self was open. Over foreign cuisine we bonded. He read books and sent me snapshots of places he that reminded me of him. He dared me to eat octopus and I did. I made him learn to enjoy yoga and exercise. There was a shine to my skin. He lost weight and his friends all complimented me. We were the couple who looked good together. He loved my glasses and said they made me look like a professor. He left his father’s business and started his own. I thought up the name for it. I encouraged him to leave the family and get his. He got an apartment and to get here we pored over colour swatches, designs, wallpapers. I told the kitchen should be done in yellow.
    We loved each other. Or so I thought.
    I found out he was getting married on facebook.
    She had been his ex. He said she was as dull as grass no they hadn’t anything in common.
    I didn’t cut him off then. I just retreated and faced my work.
    A month later,he sends me a message: I see you in the books I read, I hear your voice on the pages. I remember that you don’t like being tickled, that your cup of tea must be exactly half cup, that you love French subtitled films and you think you are jaded. But you are not. Your eyes widen then crinkle before you laugh. Oh and I remember your almost dimple. It shows only when you laugh. Please I cannot bear your silence. Let us remain friends.’
    That was the day I blocked him. On every platform. It was as though I was cutting off my own arm. I deleted everything. How dare he tell me those things!
    You can’t do wrong and expect friendship to remain.

    • Bleed Blue

      May 22, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Hot damn! I want to read more!

      Wait, yellow kitchen, French subtitled films ?

      I want to read more!

    • Alterego

      May 22, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Forgive the typos. Was drinking coffee and typing.

    • WAT???

      May 22, 2017 at 11:16 am

      @Alterego, did you try to find out why?? After all these Mills n Boonsboro romantic theatrics, I would have asked him why he was stringing me along all this while.

      This one should remain deleted. Forgive, move on but he remains on deletes and blocked mode forever!

    • June

      May 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      And we say the devil lives in some underground place called hell! Have a cocktail and a warm hug @alterego!

    • Ada

      May 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      My relationship was similar to this one, he rented an apartment because i convinced him to move, I chose the apartment and furnished the kitchen. Convinced him to buy land too, since he had the resources. He leaned on me this May and said “I love you but I have to let you go”. I didn’t go calmly, I asked questions, plenty questions, “Why? What? How?”, all the questions in the book. The last question I asked was, Will you not fight for me? His answer was “It’s not going to happen”! Friends ke? For what? No way!

  18. Strawberry Shortcake

    May 22, 2017 at 9:08 am

    @alterego sending you warm tight hugs* Unbelieveable and even if he wanted to remain friends he had to go the poetic romantic line after choosing someone else?really?wow!!

    My ex abruptly ended the relationship and a few months later was married but didnt understand why i had blocked him on social media..*chuckles*

    I think there’s a difference between being friendly and friends…and we tend to mix up the two.You can be friendly and civil but not necessarily buddy buddy. Even at that it would depend on the circumstances of the break up and how solid the friendship was before everything fell apart..

    If we had a vicious end how on earth would we be friends?All in all I doff my hat to those who are truly friends after the end of a relationship..it must take a lot of emotional energy and maturity.

    • WAT???

      May 22, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Maybe after 80 years when you are in a very good place,be civil when you have cause to meet. But in all honesty, don’t go looking for friendship with an ex to prove maturity or forgiveness.

  19. Whatever

    May 22, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Dated someone once………he even introduced me to his mama. Infact, he didn’t ask to go out with me but he just said will you marry me. Initially we were just friends until the marry me part took over.
    Then out of the blues, he stopped calling for no reason, at least that i know of. This is someone who would call every now and then. When i asked what the problem was he would say nothing. Then the WE NEED TO TALK came into the picture. I was practically begging to know what the issue was. I said to myself that i would give it one last try and then move on.
    That was it for me. i deleted his details from my phone and i said i have tried biko. i cried and all but i so moved on.

    Fast forward to few years later, Met my fantastic husband . Then out of the blues he calls asking how are you and do you still stay at bla bla bla. I responded saying i was in my husband’s house. He kept on calling and calling. At a point,i asked why he was calling and to stop calling because i didn’t understand what the calls were for.
    Any way, if i see him today i would say God bless . God only used you to behave like that so that i could give my husband face when we met.

    He would never have treated me right or even one quarter of the way my husband. ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD.

  20. Sex Education

    May 22, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Relationship can only work if there is commitment amd serious hardworj, respect, love and umderstanding, tolerance, etc.

  21. Alterego

    May 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    @Wat??? Yes I did try to find out why. Told you I found out about the marriage on facebook, right. Actually a friend called me and said ‘Eze is getting married to someone who isn’t you. It’s on facebook.’
    So i went to his page and there was feeling excited with him and the ring. My stoicism shocked even me. I didn’t say anything to him. He called me after a week. I picked, he was quiet.
    I cleared my throat.
    Silence
    Hello, I said.
    Will you ever forgive me, he said.
    Congratulations, I said.
    I’m sorry, he said. Very sorry.
    Why? You said she was your ex. How come you are now with her. Why not me? Why wasn’t I enough?
    He said: She has history with me. She came back. You are amazing. You are beyond amazing but with her I am sure. She is stable, she is where I know she will be. No surprises with her. She is safe.

    So there you have it. Apparently, I was too eccentric, too alive, I had no qualms about jetting off into the sunset. I also had no qualms about renting indoors, listening to jazz and lighting incense. I want to stop and look at flowers, I want to visit museums and galleries and drink coffee and eat ice-cream on the sidewalk and work hard and go on vacation and save money for retirement to do things I would love. I don’t want to bungee jump or fly a plane or swim the Atlantic or climb Mount Everest or walk a tightrope. Or even rob a bank. How am I not ‘safe’.
    Ass!
    P. S. I know I write too long a letter. It is the thespian in me. Apologies!

    • Bleed Blue

      May 22, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      BN, how can I meet this person called @Alterego?!

      She sounds like my kind of human. Set it up BN!

      And as for Eze, his loss abeg, if he can’t handle the YOU in you, then brother man should be going.

      There’s no harm in him not wanting you, it hurts but okay…ish happens.
      What I cannot understand is why he couldn’t just have a mature conversation and break off neatly before proposing to the ex and leaving photographic evidence on the world wide web. Why make you find out in such a cruel way?

      “Will you ever forgive me” kwa? Even me, I can’t forgive Eze oh.
      I say I cannot!

    • Leah

      May 22, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      If I was a guy, I’d ask you out right now. I wish we could be friends. You sound like someone who enjoys living life to the fullest. Don’t ever diminish you for any Eze out there. Safe ko, safe ni.

    • Wat?????

      May 22, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Safe, she came back. Meaningless!!!! So if she was all that, why did he start missing you? Maybe he was intimidated? Confused? After kitchen decorations? That’s like an unofficial confirmation that a ring is in the offing.
      Block him please . Even in your memory. If he makes heaven with you, still ignore him.
      You are one he’ll of a strong girl..

  22. Alterego

    May 22, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Please insert appreciate corrections
    *there was the fiancee
    *staying indoors

  23. Alterego

    May 22, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    @Bleed Blue…. I believe he was cowardly. I heard guys would rather lose limbs than sit with a female to have the talk. Maybe they think we would morph into alien, murderous creatures. Dunno. But oh yasss, his loss. And yeah BN should set up a meeting in case people would wanna meet. Yeah, they definitely should. Brunch at somewhere upscale would be fab. Take a break from Buhari, Nepa et all. I know I would want to meet Atoke the writer, Nkem Ndem, Mrs Kush. I definitely want to meet John. And Dr N. She sounds so intelligent and grown up. And California Bawler, and Nene. And the others. And you, yes you Blue. But perhaps it’s the anonymity that people crave. Dunno. See how I have digressed from the topic at hand. Lol

  24. OA

    May 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    BleedBlue and Alterego don fall in love oh. Te-he-he! (runs away)!
    @Alterego, you write so well. I hope a publication is in the works. I would love to read.

  25. john

    May 22, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    @alterego lol
    . u would love to meet me…I would like to met u and say it to your face that the real reason u boyfriend left you and I suspect more men would is that you give out this vibe as a trouble maker and a control freak no matter what ure real intentions may be..you took him to the gym and I trust women u must have nag and a made rude comment about his weight unconsciously or compare him to your ex ..then you took him away from his father and their family business..u made him found an apartment and decorated everything in it…u see where I am going with this …any intelligent man will be asking himself this ..what I am getting myself into ,this is how it all starts..maybe next will be determining which family members comes to the house or not..my dear, go and work on yourself first ..ur suffocation dey too much ..haba..no wonder he told you he needs a stable woman at least he knows where he stands with her….I always tell womem to never ever seek advice from your fellow women..they only know how to pat themselves in the back, deceiving themselves and telling themselves what they want to hear which is nothing but more delusions

    • Oye

      May 23, 2017 at 7:47 am

      John the Goat.

      Okay let’s say you’re right in all your wisdom of what women are and what men want, why couldn’t your fellow goat just break up with her so she can hurt, heal and be going?
      Why the wickedness of planning a wedding when she thought they were still a couple?
      I know you will still find a way to justify the guy’s wicked behaviour and still find a way to blame @alterego for that as well, no be you with your inherent stupidity?

    • Trina

      May 23, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Alterego, you will meet John at your own risk oh. The man child is filled with pre-conceived hate for the female population. And if you must meet him, pls wear a bullet proof vest.

  26. UZOAMAKA,

    May 23, 2017 at 4:29 am

    ‘So there you have it. Apparently, I was too eccentric, too alive, I had no qualms about jetting off into the sunset. I also had no qualms about renting indoors, listening to jazz and lighting incense. I want to stop and look at flowers, I want to visit museums, galleries and drink Tea, and eat ice-cream on the sidewalk and work hard and go on vacation and save money for retirement to do things I would love. ‘ Alterego- thank you for the Facebook post!

  27. Alterego

    May 23, 2017 at 9:43 am

    John has a lot of issues. It is a pity. Sees nothing good in anything or anyone, especially a woman. Yet a woman birthed you. A woman gave you life. You suckled at her breasts, she listened to you childhood stories, wiped your tears, celebrated your victories. Do you have sisters? Or nieces? Are you married? Do you have a wife or you married yourself? Kids? Daughters? What happened to you? Mummy issues? Wow. What a struggle.
    Helping a man grow, start his own business, encourage him find the courage to leave the fold and strike out on his own and SUCCEED….John has somehow found a way to taint all that. Help a man grow. That na wahala. Find a rich, already made man, you are termed a gold digger. Pick a struggle, John. Pick a side. What a joke! Must suck being you.
    @Trina, I will add a bullet proof vest, a crash helmet and a ten foot pole. Still, would want to see him. See what he looks like. Still I’m sure he wears shirt and trouser, walks upright, knows how to write legibly, gets a haircut, looks like a regular guy. Yet…….
    Yet…..
    Yet….?

    • Ezy

      May 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      @alterego you write so well I enjoyed reading every of your comment, most of which made me smile. You have a good head on your shoulder, you sound like a fun chick who doesn’t give a F***. you are my type!

  28. Dee

    May 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Lol, you’re so confident in your stupidity that it’s quite hilarious. Prosper in it.

  29. john o john

    May 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    John be giving BN ladies a run for their money.

    John o john.
    Are you related to john the baptist?
    dont forget his head was beheaded
    dont let BN ladies behead you o or dont meet alterego cos she will arrange for your head to be cut off.

    You all are characters.
    Nice having you all dou
    hugs and kisses to you

  30. yummymummycumchick

    May 24, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Trust me if you are truly happy, it will be seen. It must not come from you………………how i am right now.

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