Friends or Not?

This started out as a comment to Tracy’s entry today about how she finds it strange to be friends with her ex. Turns out I had a lot to say, so I’m posting it here instead.

I was almost always friends with ex-boyfriends. Fortunately, I haven’t had to test the waters with ex-girlfriends since I’m still on my first and plan to keep it that way.

However, having Mel’s ex around was certainly a challenge for me in the beginning of our relationship. Now, it’s not so bad. When CJ visits they can go off and do things together that I don’t particularly like to do. One of my straight friends was just shocked by this when I told her on the phone one night that Mel was out with CJ. She was concerned for me, they might be plotting to get back together. After a good laugh, I told her I was secure in saying there wouldn’t be a snowball’s chance in hell that would happen.

My parents split when I was 17 and divorced about three years later. My mother was bitter for many years, though she was the one that left. It took years before my mother finally let it go. She and my dad don’t talk very often now but there’s no hesitation on the part of either of them if they need to. They’ve been in social situations together, graduation parties and the like, and have done just fine. Been friendly even. My dad invited her to a 4th of July celebration a few years ago and she came along with a friend.

Bottom line is this: Presumably you liked the other person well enough before you slept with them (and one, or both of you, screwed up the relationship). It stands to reason you might still like them after the relationship is over. If you’re mature enough to bury the hatchet over the ‘heinous transgressions’ and grow past the hurt, then you might end up being friends. I think it’s especially important for younger kids to see that happen.

The key, obviously, is time. Sometimes that time frame is short, sometimes not. From my observation, the time frame with lesbians seems to be shorter and the resulting friendship better than for the majority of straight couples that split up and end up as friends. It’s an interesting phenomenom. Are we just better communicators? Somebody else will need to enlighten me.


  1. It’s a really easy formula.<br>If you liked your ex as well as loved her, chances are there can be a friendship afterwards.<br>If you loved her but didn’t like her: poof, she’s gone, thank God.

  2. Having read both your and Tracy’s blog on this subject, I have to add that I am reluctant to believe that lesbians are more likely to be friendly with their exes than other types of couples. In fact, I think there are some circumstances particular to gay or lesbian break-ups that can lead to lasting enmity. For example, the lack of any legal contract between gay "married" couples can lead to many difficulties during the process of separation. And whether you are gay or not, there are some abuses and betrayals that are lasting, and which may exist regardless of the love you felt or perhaps still feel for someone. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Not that I’m bitter. I certainly wouldn’t want to give that impression.

  3. Bingo. Karen hit the formula right on the head. And sharing pets/vistattion will keep you together.

  4. I have to say that the people I’m closest to are men that I have gone out with in the past…….but then some of the most hated people in my life are also people that I went out….which goes to prove….er, mmmm….like u say, if the relationship is a good one then there’s no reason to lose the friendship just cos you’re not sleeping together any more. And if it was a bad relationship then why have those people around any longer than necessary.

  5. it’s been my experience that lesbians don’t just communicate more; we have less to fall back on, and often makeshift families grow out of former lovers.

  6. karen’s got it.<br><br>i’m friends with just one of my ex’s. she lives on the other side of town, and we and they often hang out together at parties… i’m not friends with one ex that lives locally, as she majorly screwed me monetarily and emotionally.<br><br>physical abuse will nix any future friendship as well…

  7. The other thing is, with lesbians, we tend to hang around in groups, particularly in a small town where gays have to kind of circle the wagons a bit to have a social life. You don’t want to alienate someone who could potentially end up being your friend, because there just aren’t that many of us.<br><br>But what do I know? I married my first girlfriend. Heh.

  8. I think you all really hit it on the head – makeshift families to replace the ones who are possibly no longer close, generally _liking_ the person you’ve been with, and THE PROCESSING. Good LORD, it’s as if you’ve counseled each other – so much history, so much growing (in my case)… you don’t stop a relationship that has often helped you grow up in some way.<br><br>Plus, why not have more friends than less?<br><br>This reminds me of a show I was in once, called GayCo – they do a lot of slice-of-life sketches on gay/lesbian life. They had this one sketch where a bunch of lesbians were sitting around talking about their ex-es, slinging mud and ripping on them, only to have you realize at the end that the whole group was talking about someone else in the same circle. Oh, art imitating life.

  9. ‘Fraid I’m a, "Get out of my life,"-er. Once the relationship has soured it’s because the underlying friendship has, first. It’s the worst with my womenloves. The men I seem to eventually forgive if only because of their being the weaker sex. Erm. [heh]

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