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.