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Friends or ex-Lovers

It is opening night of the new hit movie Cruel Intentions. The movie theater is packed, and the line is wrapped around the building. I have not been to this movie theater in about a year, and it is fate that has brought me here tonight.

As I am waiting for the doors to open, who should walk around the corner, other than my ex-boyfriend. My palms begin to sweat as I call for him to come over and talk to us. I cannot even remember my own name at this point, and I do not know why I am feeling like this, after all we are supposed to be friends.

Friends do not feel this way about one another. It is because of these feelings, and because of the multiple times my heart has dropped into my stomach when seeing him, that I believe ex-lovers cannot be friends. When communicating with the ex-lover, there will always be lingering feelings of love, hate, jealousy, or blame, which get in the way of true friendship.

According to Dr. Ruth, professional relationship expert, one party will still be in love with the other, due to the fact that they did not see the break up coming, or they did not even want the break up in the first place. This is the underlying problem that everyone overlooks.

The one who breaks up with the other, always thinks that the other feels the same way. The “erasure of sincerity”, feeling as though you never meant anything to the other, is not something that we can control and makes us slightly hysterical. It is hard to believe that the one who just broke your heart honestly meant it when they said, “I love you,” and now they cannot even say hello to you.

Some people believe that nothing will change; you will still see one as often as you did before, and spend as much “quality” time together as before. While this might work for awhile it is not long before the two of you drift apart, begin dating others, or even begin dating one another again.

The time commitment problem with remaining friends, is that you are never quite sure how much time to spend with one another now that you are no longer together. You always end up spending too much or too little time with them, and in both cases give mixed messages. Too much time means that you want them back, while too little time means you would rather spend no time at all.

When breaking up, I believe that you should just spend a lot of time apart, and don’t plan on being friends. As my good friend once said, “The four worst words are ‘Let’s just be friends’.” It is difficult to decipher exactly what that means. Where is that line which you crossed in the first place to become more than friends?

It is difficult for me to believe that men and women can be friends after being lovers because I don’t believe that men and women really have the capability of being just friends in the first place. Men cannot think of a woman without thinking of how she would be in bed, while women cannot relate to a man without trying to seduce him.

Women need to prove to themselves that they are sexually desirable to every man. Now, with this problem already in the way, try attempting to be friends with someone that once thought the world of you, and now you are just a stepping stone to moving on to better things. This would immediately trigger a twinge of jealousy, which is perfectly normal.

No one wants to feel as though they were just a stepping stone in this person’s growth. They do not want to be looked upon as a life lesson of what not to look for in the perfect mate.

I have also found that men seem to put up a wall after breaking up. They never let their true feelings show through, for fear of not looking “manly” enough.

It is very rare that a man would come riding in on their white horse and proclaim his love for you. Announcing to the whole world that you are the only one for him, and that he loves you more than life itself is not something likely to happen in the near future. That is why in our culture stories like this are called fairy tales.

Instead, it has been shown that men hide. They will devote themselves to their work, spending more time with friends, etc. This is demonstrated most clearly in the hit TV Show, Friends. When Ross and Rachel break up, Ross depends on his friends to occupy his time; taking him to strip clubs, hanging out, going to sporting events, and other activities that will keep him from thinking about his misery.

This way there is never time to think about what they are really missing out on, or if the best decision is being made. They just put it in the back of their mind and vow to never think about her or their relationship ever again.

While some people might believe that if both parties agree on the break-up then it is possible to be friends, they forget there are always underlying emotions. Whenever ex-lovers attempt to be friends, emotions are constantly strained.

We end up falling in love with the person all over again, or wishing that we had never met them, and that is when it becomes difficult. Whether it be a drunken night when neither of you are thinking clearly, or just a midnight rendezvous, at some point it is natural for the sexual tendencies to return.

After all, it is most people’s belief that “it is nothing that we haven’t done before”. It is a comfortable situation until the next morning when you wake up and do not know where things stand all over again.

Remaining friends with the ex-lover is also a complicated situation when having to meet their new significant other. One immediately turns to thoughts of, “That used to be me,” or “He/she is not good enough.” Trying so hard to pretend that you are happy for your ex-lover is much too difficult of a situation. One that no one should have to go through.

In conclusion, it should be said that it is a natural instinct to try and remain friends with someone who has meant so much to you. However, to save your own sanity, and the sanity of all those around you, it would be wise to accept that you will never “just be friends,” and vow to never see one another ever again.

Run into them in the grocery store or bank, at a crowded movie theater or bar, but do not plan on making dinner dates and going out and partying because when doing this… you will be right back where you started.

© Colleen Kerwin