A Greater Love … The Ex Files …


“Life after love…

I wasn’t ever really sure that friendship post relationship was possible. How do two people go from being romantically involved to being purely platonic? I asked a friend of mine this question and her answer was, “with great difficulty!” The truth is, that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I think it depends on whether you wanted to kill the person you were with at the point of break up, and if that’s the case it’s probably best you stay away from each other, or in most circumstances you just lost the love. You don’t really lose the love though, like your house keys, you just misplace it and it turns up in a slightly different place than you expected it to… in the friendship drawer. The funny thing is friendships are far more important that romantic relationships and it’s very often these friends which will see you through to the end of your life, because they have seen you at your worst and hopefully your best.” ~ Ru Kotecha

I agree with Ru. I don’t think lover ever dies. Once you love someone from the truest place in your heart, you’ll always love them.

But can you really demote that intensity to friendship even after you’ve both moved on? I’m not convinced. I’m not talking about someone you’ve dating for a few months, but a person who you’ve spent years with. Someone, who you’ve built a partnership with, spent your life with, through good times and bad, which for whatever reason has had to come to an end. Should you remain ‘friends’ with that person? … Well there’s certainly a lot of talk about it at the moment.

I read this month’s Psychologies Magazine article on ‘Should You Stay Friends With Your Ex?’ and BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour piece this morning on ‘Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?’ with journalists Kate Mulvey and Carol Sarler sharing their views and experiences.

My reaction to both pieces was an interesting emotion ….. jealously. 

Yep I was jealous of the people who have been able to turn long term romantic partnerships into ‘best-friend’ relationships so that they still have a sense of continuation in their respective lives. They still mean something to each other. These aren’t the people who’ve had to maintain a connection because of children or other obligations, but people who still care about each other to want each other in their lives.

I’m not in touch with my past. I’m happy for him in his new life and if our paths were to cross then I’d gladly say hello and be interested to hear how his family is doing. But that’s all that’s left.

The thought crossed my mind as to we whether we missed a trick in not trying to cultivate a new friendship so that we’re in each other’s lives more. 

Like I said above, love never dies, it changes, if you love someone from the truest place in your heart you’ll always love them. But here’s where I become inflexible and the ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be friends’ thinking diminishes into nothingness;

Love doesn’t die, but people and relationships do.

As people it’s natural for those we love to become part of our lives and shape who we are. But at the risk of being macabre, wanting to create a friendship from a lost love is like keeping a body warm on life-support or living with a ghost rather than accepting death. “Living in the past, means a life without a future” ~ Truly Madly Deeply (1990).

At some point you have to choose between someone you once Truly Madly Deeply loved and someone who you can be Truly Madly Deeply alive with… You have to choose life over death.

Close friendships are important. I am blessed to have a circle of friends and family that truly care for me. It feels good and right to have them in my life, knowing they’ll be there for me and I’ll be there for them. But an ‘ex’ can never be in those shoes, because no matter how platonic the new relationship is, it will always be less than the intensity of the two of you when you both loved each other.

Being detached and indifferent with someone you once nursed back from a fever with chicken soup is too sad for words.

If your relationship matters and you love each other then you should be together and you’ll find a way to re-ignite those flames. If you don’t, then it’s important to have respect for your memories, accept the love and death of that relationship and care enough about each other and the love you once had to move on.

Don’t settle for a fake watered down imitation of what you once had, that’s in insult to your memories as well as cowardly attitude to life and love.

One Radio 4 listener called in and said his ex was his best friend, they spent time together and when on holiday together. He also remarked that probably was the reason he was still single and hadn’t moved on.

On that note, I for one am won’t be saying ‘isn’t it fabulous that my ex and I are best friends’ …. I’m glad I made the right decision. I’m too Truly Madly Deeply in love with life to accept anything less.

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