I have three long-term ex-boyfriends who I spent several years of my life with. There were reasons why we dated, and I cherish my memories with them.
They taught me valuable life lessons that I will carry with me forever. The heartache I suffered then has made me stronger. The experiences I had with them made me realize what I DO and DO NOT want in a partner. One helped me secure my faith. Another helped me discover my independence. And the other helped me become more creative. All of these traits are dear to my heart and have latched themselves to my core being.
Just because people change and don’t work out doesn’t mean you have to completely slash someone from your life. Now, of course there are instances where this might be healthy, but there are some where it’s not.
I may go months without speaking to them, but that’s ok. I know that if I called them up, they’d answer.
There are a few rules.
Know your boundaries
Especially if you have a new boyfriend. It’s not okay to talk to them all the time. And it’s not fine for them to still be your first call when something goes wrong. This should be a sign that you are still too connected.
Limit your conversations
Spending hours on the phone is unhealthy, especially if they are still attached to you. Keep it short, but make it effective. Skip the small talk and get down to the real conversation.
Stay away from the L word, even if it’s platonic
Also, don’t tell them you can’t stop thinking about them…or comment on their attractiveness. You may think that new haircut you saw on Instagram was hella cute and they should have adopted that style while you were together, but keep those thoughts to yourself.
Jealousy is the cousin of greed
You didn’t want them then, so don’t be jealous when they move on. It’s the circle of life, homie. Get over it. Let them be happy.
Be careful with the family
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a close relationship with at least one of your ex’s family members. Staying overly connected to them can hurt your ex, as well as hurt whoever you choose to be with next. Don’t burn bridges, but maybe just put them under construction for a while.
Honesty is key.
Don’t hide things to spare their feelings. If you have a new boy and they ask, tell them. If they ask how you are doing, tell them great if you’re great and not so great if you’re not. Honesty is crucial to making any relationship work, even if that relationship is one that shifted from romantic to platonic.
Above all else, be kind.
Don’t be mean. In the end, it only causes you pain. Remember, you had a bond with this person at one point, so try not to be cruel. They may lash out depending on how the relationship ended or on how they are dealing with their emotions, but that doesn’t mean that harshness has to be reciprocated. Don’t let them run over you, but do remember to be kind.
Although you may disagree with me, I stand firmly on this subject. These people were most likely your best friend at some point, so why abandon them now? I want nothing more for these men to find the happiness they deserve. I want their lives to be fulfilled, and I want them to be successful. I don’t want them to regret our time together. I want them to grow from it. I invested years of my life to them, and I want that to be meaningful.
So, thank you, exes, for helping me be me.