Saturday, June 27, 2009

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

Or, You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About You

Quick question for you, Gentle Reader. Are you friends with your exes? Is it possible to be friends with them? Do you want to be friends with them? What kinds of friendships do you have?

I haven't had many relationships, so my pool of experience here is pretty small. I've also been the instigator of the break ups in both cases, which I imagine alters my subjectivity on the matter. I think the answers to the questions above depend on a lot of things: The characters of the people involved; the length and depth of the relationship; the terms on which the relationship is ended. For me, these factors have always lead me to a single conclusion: friendship is not an option. I'm an intense person in a relationship, and I genuinely believe that after a certain point, you can't unring a bell: the possibility of friendship is, by necessity, gone.

Unfortunately, the exes don't always see it that way. "Why must it be awkward between us? Why don't we have anything to say to each other?" one asked me last weekend. Sadly, I was sober at the time, and was unable to indulge in a drunken tirade that would have put paid to such idiocy once and for all. As this conversation took place in a public place (a mutual friend's wedding reception), I didn't say any of the things that I wanted to say, which would have included the following statements:
  • We are not friends because I don't actually like you
  • It's awkward because making small talk with people you don't like is awkward
  • the details of my personal life are none of your business
  • Don't hug me and pretend to be happy that I'm engaged
  • We can't be friends because I haven't forgiven you for the way you treated me while we were dating
  • We can't be friends because I haven't forgiven myself for letting you treat me that way
  • What possible benefit could there be to anything beyond being superficially polite?

Thankfully, this was the last of our mutual friends to get married, so our paths shouldn't cross again for some time. If we do, though, I've promised myself that I will explain the above points to him, calmly and firmly, and continue to maintain my distance.

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