Is She Friends With Her Ex?
Dating a girl who has remained friends with her ex is not an ideal situation, but it is one that is best handled with honesty and tact. You must first acknowledge that you are jealous—irrationally, irrepressibly, wildly jealous. This is a perfectly natural response. She is with a man who used to be inside her regularly—with a man who she once shared her most intimate thoughts and body fluids with and he with her. You may not think in such explicit terms but these are the latent ideas that are driving your jealousy and it is best to recognize them.
There is nothing you can do about your jealousy, but you can control how you respond to it.
Friendship among exes is not an uncommon thing. In fact, more and more of the couples who split up maintain some kind of regular contact afterward. Why? It owes to the increasingly fragmented nature of our society.
We are becoming more tribal as a nation. It is not the religious, racial, and class divisions that characterize society nowadays, but the myriad socio-cultural subsets. For example, if you went to elite schools, and then straight into a high-end profession, and not live in a particular neighborhood, you will automatically be connected to a network of people who have a similar background; and you will tend to befriend, associate with, and date those people—and those people only.
Your girl may be in your tribe, in your network, and her ex may be as well. You may not have come across him yet, but he is probably very much like you in education and social background. She may see him all of the time or may even have to work with him. And for this reason her desire for friendship may be both genuine and practical. It may not be possible to cut her ex completely out of her life even if she wanted to.
Here are a few tips on how to deal with the situation:
He wants to fuck her. He’s dying to fuck her. He doesn’t want to date her again. He just wants to have a fling. He is as jealous of you as you are of him. The fact that she is with a new man has aroused his instinct to reclaim a woman he considers rightfully his. None of this has anything to do with love, affection, or romance of course. These are primitive feelings that are hard-wired into the limbic part of our brain.
Assume that the ex is guilty until he’s proven innocent. Assume that his requests to have coffees, lunches, and even the occasional drink with your girl are attempts to seduce her for a moment’s pleasure.
Every girl wants her guy to be on good terms with her best friends. You should indulge this request if your girl makes it. But if she is friends with her ex, he must be your first priority.
There is much truth in your old cliché: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. To figure out what he is up to you must make some sort of connection with him. Invite him to dinner with you and your girl. Propose that you all have a night out on the town. He will of course try to present himself in the most non-threatening manner. Don’t fall for the act. He is a threat to your relationship until he proves otherwise.
Indifference to the relationship is the attitude you must take with your girl. Do not badger her with questions about where she went and what she did. And for goodness sake, do not be impertinent: do not suggest that she has slept with him or wants to just because they see each other often.
The less you mention him the more she will come to see the contrast between you. And the more she will realize why she is no longer with him and has chosen to be with you.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.