Do you stay friends with your exes? Are there certain exes you’re able to remain friends with, and others that you’re not? Why?What constitutes a “bad ex” -- someone you simply have to sever all ties with, from a “good ex” -- a person that, though you no longer work with romantically, you deem to be a good person, and a friend you want to hold onto?After every failed romantic relationship, I think about this: will this be a guy I’ll stay friends with? And usually I know the answer – the correct answer – immediately. For me, it depends on a few things, the first being whether or not we ever had an actual friendship. Whether he was my friend first, or we just managed to build a solid, special bond during our time together, when genuine friendship underlies the relationship, I find I don’t want to wholly eliminate that person from my life. Though difficult, and oftentimes painful – especially if one, or both people, still has feelings for the other – in these circumstances, I always try to gently, carefully, peel away the layer of romance, leaving only loving friendship in its place.The other factor that helps me determine if I’ll stay friends with an ex is whether or not I truly respected him as a person. Sure, he might have seemed wonderful during those first few stages of crush-dom – those eyes, his curls, that deep, sexy voice! – but a few months later, if I found that those were his only redeeming qualities, and his other qualities consisted of yelling at waiters, belittling me and my friends, and publicly humiliating me…at least once a week, it was a pretty sure thing I was going to completely boot him from my life.Fortunately, I’ve only ever dated very few people I didn’t respect, or who I didn’t build sincere connections with. And, as I’ve come to realize throughout the years, I had to date those completely wrong-for-me guys to learn what it is I do want, and deserve, in a mate. Plus, I credit them for teaching me about standing up for myself, learning to realize that it’s their own insecurities and problems, not mine, that make them treat others so heartlessly.That leaves the rest of my exes. The majority. The good guys, who, for whatever reason -- bad timing, lack of chemistry or passion for the other, opposing values, distance -- despite their “good-ness”, I just didn’t work out with romantically.They are still my friends. For the most part, anyway. And no matter how often, or how little, we talk, I feel enriched by their presences in my life. They’ve all had a hand in shaping me into the person, and most certainly the romantic counterpart, that I am today.
They’ve prepared me for A, my true love; the guy that I hope to be with always. I can guarantee if I’d met him even a few years ago, before some of these pivotal relationship experiences, I wouldn’t have been ready for him. Though I am not perfect – far from it! – I am at least now a version of myself that works well in this healthy, communicative relationship; I am able to communicate openly and effectively, something that, until a couple years ago, I was not able (or aware of how) to do.Most of these exes have moved on to find their loves, as well, and that thrills me. And the ones who haven’t I have no doubt soon will. After all, they are the good guys. And I’m sure I had my hand in shaping and teaching them a thing or two as well (I hope!).So what about you? Are you able to remain friends with your exes?