Deborah Cox and RL said it first, and now Trey Songz has made a song about it – sometimes you just really can’t be friends with everyone you’ve dated/sexed/had some kind of relationship with.
I know that’s controversial to some people, but really it shouldn’t be. Most of us probably believe that everyone comes into our lives for reasons, seasons, and lifetimes. At least according to Facebook – enough people believe it, because I see some version of it on somebody’s status like every day. And yet, when it comes to our past flings/relationships/whatever, we somehow forget this and decide that everyone we’ve kissed can somehow go right back to some distorted relationship we try to label a friendship.
I mean, c’mon – really??
In a perfect world, yes. We’d all be able to sing Kumbaya and have perfectly healthy relationships with people who we once loved or people who we once loved screwing… but honey, this is no perfect world and those friendships don’t usually work out. We all try it though, and most of us have tried it more than once. Heck, I’ll be honest. I’ve tried it more than a handful of times and usually it ends up being a masterful disaster because either the two of you don’t know how to be friends anymore OR someone in the relationship isn’t really looking for a friendship, but is looking to simply continue having you in his/her life.
Both cases are a set-up for failure. I’ve seen it happen in my life and I’ve seen it happen in my friends’ lives and it finally hit me this year that we’re all loony if we think we can actually be friends with all of our exes. Actually – side note: I hate it when I meet a guy who says he’s friend with all his exes. ALL of them!? Every single one!? I don’t believe you; you need more people, because you know what that tells me? It means either you’re a liar or you don’t know how to let folks go – and neither one is appealing to me.
I’m not saying that you can’t maintain some friendships, because you can… BUT I think those circumstances occur less often than we attempt to put into practice AND honestly, they take time. One of my good guy friends who’s become almost like a brother to me (except we’ve had sex before, so yea… not that much like a brother lol) started out as a great friend, progressed to something more, and ended horribly. Like, as in he hated me for at least an entire summer (with arguably good cause, though I’ll deny it if he ever brings it up – so don’t try me lol). Eventually we were able to get over what happened and reclaim a large portion of our friendship prior to us getting together.
But that’s not something that happens with everyone. I can name way more guys who I’ve had the break-up conversation with and it ends in some sort of version of “let’s at least be friends” and either we both know we’re not actually going to call the other person again OR we try to be friends and it just.doesn’t.work. Here’s why it doesn’t work and why it worked with me and the guy above. First: it doesn’t work if any of the two people were in love. You can give me all the bull crap about having history with that person and wishing them well and wanting to keep them in your life even if it didn’t work out – but the fact remains that if you were in love with him/her, you’re going to need time before you’re okay with seeing them with someone else. Hell, you’re going to need time before you’re OK with just being around them and not wanting to be with them. Me and the guy above – we had two lucky things happen for us: We never fell in love and him hating me for a little while was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced us to have time apart from each other.
Second: it’s not going to work if you’re not honest with yourself and that person. So many people venture into “friendships” with their ex, because they don’t want to lose that person – and I get that, in a way it’s a natural reflex, but it’s just sooo wrong. It’s called a break-up because something about it was broken and if you don’t take the time to honestly determine if a friendship can work between the two of you, you’re totally setting yourself up for a fall.
And Thirdly (yea, I said thirdly): it will NOT work if you guys still want to have sex with each other. I’m serious about this! If the whole time you’re hanging out with your friend – what you really want to be doing is pinning them up against the wall (shout out to Phil and his song!), chances are that you will eventually slip up and there’s goes that friendship you thought you’d handled so well.
I guess the bigger question really is why so many people try this route? Short term relationships that didn’t work out – OK, it might just happen. But don’t most of us kinda already know if we can be friends with that person for real, and we just tend to ignore our instincts? What do you guys think? And have you ever successfully developed a friendship with a former significant other?