Friendships after relationships are tricky business.
A lot of people will say that you can't be friends with someone you slept with. Or had a relationship with. There's plenty of rules and definitely plenty of opinions on it. Ask one person and they'll say some of their closest friends are their exes, ask another person and they'll say that you could never be "just friends."
I've attempted to be friends with all of my ex boyfriends with varying degrees of success.
My first boyfriend just got married over the weekend---something I found out via Facebook. He doesn't answer my messages anymore and it's just as well. Looking back on our relationship, I don't know how much of it was rooted in the "friend" part of relationship. However, looking at his profile and seeing the words "married to" and seeing the photos... it still feels a little awkward.
I think in that situation, we were just too young, too scared, too new at the whole relationship thing to really make it anything more than puppy love. We've both grown up---some of us more than others and I think more importantly, we've grown apart. I'm happy for him, thrilled that he found someone to be nauseating with, write on each other's profiles about how in love they are, someone to play house with.
Cynic? Me? Never.
My second boyfriend and I talk sparingly and again with varying degrees of success, although that's more conversation to conversation. Knowing someone so well, for as many years as we did before we started dating I think makes it a bit more complicated. We know each other's buttons and there's a complex there that makes us want to push, push, push until it blows up. We're kids with firecrackers, seeing how long we can hold onto that fuse. Two cars playing chicken and seeing who blinks first.
Perhaps we're just too similar. Too proud, too sensitive, too determined, too righteous... We both need to be right and often find ourselves on opposite ends of opinions, not wanting to back down or admit the other person could have a point.
That always ends well right?
No? Damn. That explains so much.
My last boyfriend is probably the success story to the 'friends with an ex' situation. We don't talk on the same daily basis we did, however we do talk on a fairly regular basis. I would consider him one of my closest friends, always there with an ear to listen, a supportive shoulder. He's the guy who would show up to help you move--provided there was beer involved. Nothing's for free after all.
Perhaps the true test of any 'friendship with an ex' is when said ex moves on. It's all fun and games when you're both single, both available, neither getting laid on a regular basis and there's a bit of comradery in that. You think things are fine, that you can handle it. I mean, this is just like being in the relationship--minus the physical stuff right? There's always all those reasons you guys broke up in the first place, bright and fresh in your mind.
Then they move on and suddenly those "reasons" become a little more complicated, a little fuzzier, a little less concrete.
This is when things get more complicated.
It's typical wanting what you can't have. Maybe the grass over there really IS greener. Maybe that doll that your friend is playing with is cooler than when you were bored with it five seconds ago. Maybe she wasn't such a bitch. Maybe he wasn't so lazy. Maybe we could make it work again?
If you hadn't guessed by now, I'm meeting C's new girl. It's not serious, however it is the first time I've had to meet an ex's new lady friend. Sure, I've HEARD of these other girls. But talk to them? Meet them? No. Never.
Colour me nervous, anxious and a tad bit territorial.
Logically, I know that I can't be jealous of this girl. I can't react the same way as an ex would--we just don't have that relationship anymore. However, I don't know if I can solely act as a non-interested party either--and not just because I'm a judgemental bitch.
Obviously I'm thrilled he's found someone that he seems to genuinely like. I'm proud of him for putting himself out there--if anyone knows how crappy and scary the dating scene is, it would be me. And yes, I realize it's a tad hypocritical to feel these same feelings, the territorial one most of all when he's had to meet my new boyfriend--someone who I'm madly in love with and wouldn't jeopardize that relationship for anything.
However, logic and reason rarely factor into gut emotions.
I can reason all I want. Say that I've prepared for this, joked around with the idea, plan double dates. I can run scenario's in my head. Try to be on my best behaviour. I can remind myself all the time that we're just not in that place anymore. That we're not right for each other. That it wouldn't work even if The Boy wasn't in the picture.
All it boils down to though is that I want to show this girl what's up.
Petty? Yes. True? Hell yes.
I wish I could sit here and tell you I'm a better person. That I'm 100% thrilled for him and not at all a tiny bit worried about the state of our friendship should things get serious with this girl--and if not this girl, the next one. I wish I could say that my hackles don't raise just a little when I have to remember that I'm meeting her tomorrow. I wish I could say that I didn't become more interested in my friendship with the ex after this occurrence. I wish I could tell you I didn't spend the better part of the past two weeks planning the perfect outfit to show her up.
Unfortunately, I can't.
I can say I'm happy for him. I can say that I'll meet her and try not to be too judgemental--or at least, no more than usual. I can say that I'll do my best to meet her with a clean slate, as the friend who has no history with him, as the friend who's supportive and wants the very best for him.
But just because I can play nice, put away the claws for a night, doesn't mean I won't show up looking gorgeous and fully prepared to tell this girl what's up.
That's progress right?