Thursday, December 29, 2011

People wait their whole lives to see an ex when things are going really good.

I have ex-boyfriends. I'm still friends with some of them. Recently I saw an episode of a sitcom in which the main character proclaims in infinite wisdom, "Never invite an ex to your wedding!" He even goes so far as to not invite his, currently still good friends with, ex. How many of us still have this kind of relationship with a serious ex boyfriend or girlfriend?

A year ago I would have called one of my exes almost a "best" friend, but, like most ex/ex relationships, it went one of three ways. There are three possible endings for you and an ex: a) you stay friends until one of you meets someone meaningful and then drift, b) you don't stay friends, c) you get back together and it ends happily or badly.

OK, some of you might be saying to yourselves, "What about the 'friends with benefits' route?" One of the only reasons you have sex with an ex, is because, if you're being honest with yourself, there are unresolved feelings. If it's not on your side, it's probably on his side then, but it's probably your side.

So, what about staying friends? "I'm SUPER good friends with MY ex!" Well, are you single? If you answered no, then you qualify for stage 1, and haven't met someone better yet. If you answered yes, and are seeing someone and you're still BEST friends with your ex, then you have a very patient significant other, who unfortunately isn't significant enough for you to drift from your ex. Bummer, sorry.

Maybe it's not that black and white, these days where communication is running rampant, we are finding more gray areas with the relationships in our life. The exes that are still in my life are guys that I found very easy to talk to. They are in my life in a Christmas card capacity, mainly because of distance, but ultimately, since getting serious with A, our friendships have dissipated a bit.

How many of our exes do we keep around because of the possibility of "what if?" You enjoy spending time with them, talking with them, but for whatever reason, it never worked out. It's hard to let those people go if the relationship didn't end on a sour note. Besides, as humans, don't we love to try to play fortune teller and predict, what if? It's kind of exciting to see the varying paths our life can take. So much of that path can depend on the people we date, or dated.

Going back to the fundamental question, "should you invite your ex to a wedding?" My theory takes a slightly different, more optimistic turn. In the episode I watched, the bride wasn't over her ex, which is why she avoided him. So maybe being able to confidently invite an ex to your wedding shows the level of your commitment to your husband/wife. So maybe you aren't the best of friends, but if you have an ex in your life that you speak with enough to call them a friend, why not invite them to your wedding? If it's for any reason other than getting an extra present or for friendly support, then maybe you should be re-evaluating your current relationship.

Exes might serve as a helpful barometer for your current relationship. There's always that one ex that might get under your skin, but, if you are truly happy with the relationship you are currently in, then eventually you stop playing the "my girlfriend/boyfriend is hotter than you" game.

Although it's always more satisfying if you win that game. We're only human after all.

Title Quote from movie Music and Lyrics