Written by Zamara Perri
I used to think of my exes as really good friends.
But now I realize that I’m friendly with them. But I wouldn’t call those relationships true friendships.
Let me explain the difference. I don’t do casual friendships. There are people I know and there are people who I can call at 3 a.m. when my world is falling apart. I can’t do that with any of my exes.
When I think about friends, I think of women who are like sisters to me. I think of an open, trusting and supportive relationship where we can talk, laugh, share and support each other when needed.
I’m not friends with any of my exes.
When we were were all single, we could hang out, laugh and watch girls at the club or bar or wherever. But that wasn’t friendship. It was a lazy situationship. Things were convenient.
Can you be friends with your ex? Here are six questions that I asked to help me come up with the answer.
1. How much time has passed since the break up?
I think most people will always love their exes. The problem is when we don’t give ourselves time to heal. You can’t break up with your girlfriend today and expect to be best friends tomorrow. That’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes we need years to be sure that we aren’t confusing friendship with romantic love. My partner keeps in touch with ex-girlfriends from 20 years ago.There is no confusion. Those exes also live on the opposite coast and they talk maybe once or twice a year.
2. Can you involve your current girlfriend in the friendship?
None of my exes’ girlfriends like me. And because of that, I don’t think we can be real friends. If you have to keep your friendship a secret from your girlfriend, that’s a problem. It’s understandable that the new girlfriend may feel a little jealous or uncomfortable with you hanging with the ex-boo. I think if you see a future with the current girlfriend, then she needs to be part of the friendship with the ex. I’m not saying let your girlfriend control who you can and cannot be friends with, but instead be honest and open about your intentions and actions. So, no secret texting or talking on the phone, no making one-on-one vacation plans with the ex while leaving the current at home.
3. Do you live together?
So things didn’t work out, but you still have a lease together. At this point you’re roommates, but some people don’t recognize that. I remember hearing about a couple who lived together in the same one-bedroom apartment and swore up and down that they were just best friends. They ended up getting back together and getting married. That shit happened because they were too busy playing house to let anyone new into their emotional or physical space, which brings me to my next point.
4. Are you in a pseudo relationship?
Our pseudo (or fake) relationships with our exes can be nice. It’s comforting in a way because they already know us, we get built in companionship and they don’t demand much from us. The problem is if we are not careful, they will take the place of the relationships we actually want. Sometimes we allow our exes to have girlfriend-like status without the risk of opening up to someone new. This is fine for some people, but if that’s not what you really want, then you’re settling for not getting your deepest needs met. This is also the laziest way to break your own heart.
5. Was the relationship abusive?
Abuse can be physical, mental, sexual, emotional and spiritual. This one is hard because sometimes even though you may have escaped the relationship, most abusers are such expert manipulators that you don’t even realize that you’re not truly free. There is never really a good reason to continue to make contact with abusive people. As a matter of fact, in order for you to heal completely, you need to completely cut off all contact with your abuser.
6. Are you a psycho?
Seriously. I recently read about a study that found that people who remained friends with their exes are likely to have narcissistic, psychopathic and Machiavellian personality traits. The study found those people remained friends with their exes for access to sex and/or information.
With all that in mind, I’m thinking it might be better to be like Ciara and celebrate the break up and just be out.
Like this article? You may be interested in reading “Why D.C. Lesbians Date Their Ex’s BFF.”
Zamara Perri is the founder and editor of Black Lesbian Love Lab. She is passionate about sharing black lesbian love stories. She also loves mangoes, stray cats, natural hair, writing trashy romance novels, cooking for her sweetheart, giving unsolicited advice and hiking. She has had more than her share of drama-filled lesbian relationships and is now happily u-hauled with an adorable tomboi.