Should I Be Friends with an Ex?
Am I a psychopath?
I have always fervently believed exes shouldn’t be friends. I’ve made it clear in no uncertain terms before, dividing opinions and pissing a lot of people off. But then I guess that’s my bad. Who knew implying some people might be psychopaths just because they remain friends with an ex could make anyone so rilled up?
In any case, I stand by everything I said: remaining friends with an ex isn’t necessarily a sign of maturity, but more likely a sign that you lack the ability to set healthy boundaries. It isn’t a sign that you have forgiven whatever that person did to hurt you, but a sign that you don’t have much criteria when it comes to choosing your friends, or that perhaps you’re insecure, and the idea of being friends with everyone gives you the illusion that you have no enemies — you’re universally liked.
Some even say that remaining friends with your exes might be a sign that you’re a psychopath — or that you at least have a few of the defining characteristics, most notably, a narcissistic personality.
Believing all of that, however, doesn’t help me with my current predicament: I have a brand new ex-boyfriend, and I have never missed talking to anyone else like I miss talking to him.
So I feel the urge to remain friends with him like I had never felt the urge to be friends with any other ex before.
Back when we were still together, we would text every day, have two hour long phone calls, and see each other as often as possible. I don’t really feel the urge to hang out anymore — that would be weird — but I do miss the texting and the conversations.
I miss talking about life, and I still sometimes feel the impulse to tell him my plans, even if they don’t involve him anymore, just like I want to hear all about his. He has an amazing voice, and I just miss hearing it on the other end of the line. I could listen to that voice go on and on forever, talking about anything, reading me a story from a children’s book even, I don’t care. (No, we never did that when we were dating. It would be weird. Right?)
He’s better at setting boundaries than I have ever been, so he’s asked that we don’t talk unless absolutely necessary, in case of an emergency, or a life or death situation. So far, respecting his wishes has been challenging, but doable. One day at a time kind of doable.
A couple of days ago, I caved. He was nice enough to entertain me, replying to my texts for a half an hour or so. He did say he misses talking to me, but that it doesn’t help him move on.
He sounds like he does want to move on.
Meanwhile, I’m stuck here trying to figure out if I miss having a friend, or if I miss having my go-to person. The person I know I can text any time of the day or night and get an answer. The person I know will hear me rant about all of my frustrations and anxieties. The person I don’t hesitate to share my most ambitious dreams with.
Trying to remain friends with an ex for the first time would not only go against everything that I have always believed in, but will be an imposition on someone who’s clearly asked for some space. And it might be against my own best interests. It might give me the illusion that I can hold on to the best parts of our relationship while still moving on from it. Having my cake and eating it too.
It turns out that’s not exactly reasonable.
Breakups hurt like hell, and the lion’s share of that hurt comes from losing the best parts of the relationship. It would be selfish and childish to want to hold on to the good while scrapping off the bad just to make it hurt a little bit less.
That doesn’t make me want to do it any less, though.
Perhaps that means I’m a psychopath — or that I at least have a narcissistic streak, claiming for me to have my needs met despite anyone else’s. My need for attention, emotional comforting and connection. My need to feel loved.
Or perhaps — and this is the perhaps I want to face the least — I’m not over him yet, and this desire for friendship is part of my being in denial about us being over.
Perhaps it’s how I’m trying not to forget him, and how I’m trying to make sure he doesn’t forget me — and doesn’t get over me either.
This desire to stay connected with someone I was once in love with is so new to me, it makes me confused in one way too many. Confusion is not a feeling I’m fond of — it feels too much like being in love, not knowing if I’m loved back.
As I try to separate my desire for a friendly connection from whatever feelings I might still have for him, the best I can do is stay put. And write about it in the hopes that’ll clear my head.
I’ll let you know once I finally write the sentence that does the trick.