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Can’t We All Be Friends?

Most of the guys I date are divorced. It’s not a matter of , just demographics. I mostly date older guys (and I’m 40). And a pretty high % of single guys in their 40s and 50s are divorced.

So, that said, I’d much rather a have a decent relationship with his ex. Especially if there are kids involved. If not a decent relationship, then at least not a hate-filled one. Especially if there are kids involved.

I know this from experience. I’ve dated guys who claim to be ‘best ’ with their . Guys who had amicable break-ups and are friendly but rarely speak to their , and guys who were actively at war with their .  I honestly don’t think I’d ever want to put up with the drama of a guy who was actively engaged in a bitter with his ex again.  Regardless of how their relationship got to be that way, it’s lousy for whatever relationship you’re trying to build. In my experience.

Anyway, here’s one thing I’ve never mastered and I wonder how other people have dealt with it or would deal with it – what do you do when your new guy (or woman) is best friends with their ex?  How do you manage/negotiate your relationship with said ex?

I know people who’ve built great friendships with their s/o exes.  Which I think is amazing. Incredible.  However, I’ve a hard time seeing/putting myself in that position – BFF with the ex.

So today’s post started out (weeks ago) as a poll. In my mind. But it never quite got there.  So instead I’m just gonna be lame and ask you what you think/have done in the past?  How do you deal with the ex: make friends, play peacemaker, stay out of the way?


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9 to “Can’t We All Be Friends?”

  1. Pet says:

    A question tailor-made for me. I try to remain friends with my exes. So much so, that my ex-hubby and I actually share the same home now. Yes, I know it’s strange but we have a son together and when I bought my home, it was large with lots of rooms and the ex asked if he could move in and share expenses and then my son started asking if daddy could live with us and the appeal of having a second grown-up in the home grew and ta-da, almost two years later, he lives downstairs in our bi-level home.

    It has been a non-issue up until now. But now that I’m seriously involved with someone, my ex, who is one of my closest friends, has made it plain that he does not like him. Too freaking bad. My ex is an ex for a reason. My new man is incredible and possibly my future. One will not be allowed to compromise the other. So yes, it’s best for all to not have a contentious relationship with the ex, but it’s also best to not allow the ex to damage your current relationship.

  2. Ed says:

    How you handle the ex will totally depend on 1. What you want from the relationship with your boo. Do you see this as a short summer romance or a long term thing. 2. the nature of the relationship between your boo and the ex. If your just in it for the short term, just stay clear of ex. If your in it for long term and ex is a real part of boo’s life, you have to be a part of that life together with them to the extent all three of you are comfortable with. If children are involved and its a war like atmosphere, do nothing that would make the kids hate you. Your future with boo will be threatened if kids hate you. If your boo and ex can keep it positive, there should be no reason you can’t do the same. Just be sure to communicate clearly to your boo your concerns and what you are comfortable with. Boo must take measures to show the world your the one he is with so as not to confuse the ex and threaten what you have together.

  3. Annie B says:

    Boy – it soooo depends. It depends on what you want from the relationship. And on what the other two people want. Or think they want.

    If they are friends because of kids, that’s good. If they are friends because one or both haven’t cut the intimate spousal connections, that’s not so good. I’ve known men who have been the man who fixes things around his ex’s house, accompanies her to events if she doesn’t have a man at the time and is part of major holidays. They have a lot of the marriage, without the mess of living together. No wonder they’re friends.

    I recently turned down a invitation at a chance with a relationship with a man I really liked because that’s where he is. I pictured myself sitting alone at home fixing the sink while he was out fixing hers.Uh. Already doing that, thank you very much. Or having Thanksgiving dinner with him, her and theirs. Yeah, no. If you don’t mind being a Sister Wife, that kind of thing can work out I suppose.

    Once you are serious with someone, I think it is the wise man or woman who puts their foot down and demands to be Number One and Only, even if their new person’s ex is hanging around. My second husband’s wife did that years ago – I think it was a smart move on her part. If she hadn’t, I’d probably still be phoning him at work to talk about our son and keep connected. It didn’t end the connection with my ex and his kid, it didn’t add any tension. It just confirmed that we were not married and they were.

    Maybe it depends on whether or not you think your partner would be cheating on you if they had a close, non-sexual relationship with someone else. And then add in the ex-spouse, ex-sexual partner factor.
    Annie B recently posted..The Worthless SingleMy Profile

    • Lennie Ross says:

      “If they are friends because one or both haven’t cut the intimate spousal connections, that’s not so good.” I think that is a great call. It is one thing to be friends with an ex but it is another to have that friendship replace the hole left from the relationship in almost every way besides sex. I guess I would label these “intimate friendships” and its not a good sign if the guy you’re dating has one of these with his ex. Amicable on the other hand is a great sign.

  4. Lara says:

    I’m on friendly terms with my ex. If we didn’t share a daughter, I’m not sure he would be part of my life at all, but we parent together and communicate as much as we can because it’s about keeping our daughter healthy and secure. I think relationships that were full of passion – whether that is intense love and/or hate – often ended passionately. In contrast, mine fizzled to an end, so it isn’t terribly difficult to have a respectful relationship with him now. I wish him the best life has to offer, and when he meets the match of his dreams, I’ll be the first to offer my blessing.
    Lara recently posted..moving onMy Profile

  5. Jenn says:

    I was/am in this exact situation – my boyfriend moved to this city in order to stay close to his daughter and he not only co-parents with his ex but was sort of ‘adopted’ by her family (he knew no one else in town at the time). He not only described the ex as ‘one of his best friends’ but his other closest friends her are all related to her in some way. However, he also made it crystal clear from Day One that she was not a threat to me or our relationship and for the most part, he has been good about making it equally clear to her and her family that I am a priority for him. I have to say that the first year was rough – it was pretty obvious to me that he had been her stand-in boyfriend (in all ways but sex) and even though she has never been overtly hostile to me, she also has never gone out of her way to get to know me or make me feel comfortable. The upshot is that my boyfriend and his ex have grown apart and now, other than the conversations they have about their daughter, she simply isn’t a part of our lives. I used to feel sort of bad about that but we continue to hang out with other people in her family, who HAVE welcomed me and made efforts to include me, and that just reinforces to both of us that she wasn’t really a true “friend” to him in the first place. So I have to strongly echo the previous comments about communicating clearly and putting your foot down about being Number One. From my perspective, if the ex weren’t still unhealthily attached to my guy, she would have had an attitude more like Lara’s – a true friend would have wanted him to be happy and would have wanted to get to know me because I’m important to him. The very fact that she has had no interest in being friends with me tells me that from her side of things, they weren’t really “just friends” in the first place.
    Jenn recently posted..ChemistryMy Profile

  6. Jill says:

    As a generation of kids who are the product of divorce grows up, there will be more of us who will work to have good relationships with our exes. I’ll admit, my ex is still my BFF, but I struggle with what that means sometimes. It’s important that we stay friends because of the kids, and I’ll admit to letting him fix stuff around my house if he offers, but I draw the line at letting him comment or judge who I date. Fortunately, he’s usually smart enough to know when to keep his mouth shut.

    We’re just six months off the final judgement, and although he’s already moved on to another woman (one of the reasons we got divorced – he really thought he’d be happier with someone else, and I agreed), I’m just starting to play the field. Once I have someone serious in my life, I can’t imagine that the ex will still show up to fix the sink or have dinner with the kids like he does now.

    It’s nice to know there are other people out there who manage to navigate the divorce process without all the defensiveness and vitriol.

  7. Vanessa says:

    I’m going to be brutally honest but I can’t deal with exes. I can deal with the fact of hearing the word “my ex” but I’ll prefer never meet the ex in person and is not because I have too many insecurities is only because I feel innecesary to have a friendship with a person who I don’t care about it and talking about myself I don’t have any communication or any form of contact with my exes because I feel like they belong to my past. I really admire how some people women or men can deal and even have a healthy relationoship with their partner’s exes.

  8. saleema says:

    im going out with a guy and i love him so much but e still has interest in his ex even though he loves me s lot.i want to befriend his ex so he doesn’t hide any secrets from me since i turn to get jealous anytime i hear of them meeting up, how do i make him give up his ex completely without hurting any of us cos i really do love him