You’re divorced, for cryin’ out loud! Why would you want to be friends with your ex after you finally got away from her? Is the hot rum and Auld Lang Syne messing with your head? Man, what are you thinking?
Listen up. If family obligations and holiday events are bringing her back into your orbit, here are the pros and cons you need to know before getting sucked into becoming friends with your ex-wife.
Don’t Kid Yourself – She Hasn’t Changed
Three weeks after my ex-wife and I decided to split, we went on our previously planned vacation to Ecuador and Peru. The entire trip had been pre-paid, and we thought this could be a great final hurrah! It wasn’t.
The feelings were too raw, and the concept of being friends with the women who had monopolized the better part of my last decade was a too much. I spent the entire three weeks thinking I would rather travel with someone I could enjoy and appreciate.
While it was still a great trip, my favorite memories came from the week I traveled by myself. Visiting the village off Lake Titicaca, I made new friends, had amazing experiences, and felt completely at ease traveling alone.
According to a 2004 NBC.com poll, approximately 48% of people surveyed said they stayed friends after the breakup. I have never met that 48%, but mazel tov to those who can do it.
I guess I fall into the 18% who tried to make it work and failed. My personal experience had led me to have a personal bias against staying friends with your ex. If you want to go there, look at it from all sides.
Co-Parenting Does Not Require You To Be Friends With Your Ex
Protecting your kids from drama doesn’t mean you have to be buds with their mother. Of all the reasons why you should remain cordial, the best one by far is for the kids. Your role of Dad is important, and you need to do what is necessary to protect your relationship with your kids.
Make sure your children have a positive memory of their parents that does not end in he said, she said. Be polite, be cordial. Be as diplomatic as hell. You can accomplish all this without becoming friends with your ex.
A guy I know has three kids with his ex. The couple made the mature decision that since they both have 50% custody of the children they would create an annual budget where each of them put in 50% of the funds up to pay for the kids’ needs and wants.
This way they could tap it to get clothes, feed them, and do other items without resentment from the other side. It works well for them, and the kids aren’t caught in the middle of constant bickering.
This might not define friendship, but it is more amicable and collaborative than many of the parent out there who have let thier divorce harm the children.
Why Keep Going Back For More
Some people really are better friends than lovers. I get that. Maybe it is a sign of maturity, that after you get rid of those negative feelings, you can hang out together. However, even if you’re willing to take a shot at different relationship with your ex, you need to get some separation before you begin to explore friendship.
Some exes truly are better friends, so I’ve heard. From what I’ve seen, going back for more misery from the ex, doesn’t rate as a mature, well-thought out strategy for a better life. Why set yourself up for that?
Only Psychopaths Are Friends With Their Ex
Well, maybe not everyone. However, according to a recent study out of Oakland University, a lot of exes want to stay friends for some pretty sketchy reasons.
Sometimes they kept the ex around for sexual purposes when they wanted a familiar quickie. Otherwise, there were a host of non-friendly reasons to keep the relationship going.
You might have other services in mind, like leaving the cat with your ex for the weekend, or your ex might want help fixing that sink that broke while she’s in a financial pinch. Neither of you are motivated by friendship.
Just because an ex needs her sink repaired does not mean she’s a psychopath. However, the ones who try hardest to be friends with their exes for strategic reasons are the ones most likely to have dark or psychotic tendencies.
Kind makes you regret even more being with her in the first place, huh?
Why It’s Best To Break It Off – Again
Being friends with your ex is like continuing a bad habit you know you should stop.
Every instinct tells you this is just not good. However, you get so comfortable you fall into the same old traps.
Avoid the Morning After Headache
You are at most risk of getting sucked back in during the holidays, when family is pushing you to try again, or the kids are making you feel guilty.
However, often the re-connect is just a bit more…hormonal. The angst of being so close to each other while not being able to express yourself fully plays itself out. A little holiday booze, that one little touch ignites a hot passion you both thought you lost.
That is, until the next morning when you discover this was not a re-connect. It was a one-night stand that you are already regretting!
You Don’t Want To Be Her Bestie When She Has A New Guy
Let’s flip this. What happens if you are not the one your ex hooks up with? How do you feel then? I bet you are not shouting “go get that guy” to your ex! When my ex started dating a guy two days after we split I was not happy. That is for sure.
It brings up a whole new round of feelings that are best not described in this article. However, it is a major reason not to try being friends with your ex. Why hang around for that misery and despair?
Dating Is Better Without Your Ex Over Your Shoulder
Getting some distance from the ex allows men to move on with life after divorce. Think back to all the reasons your marriage failed. Is your ex-wife someone you trust to offer opinions on your new friends? On your new sex life?
When it comes to dating, not too many women will be eager to continue a relationship with a guy whose ex-wife is hanging around taking a “friendly” interest. Think about it.
Take it from me, the best divorce advice for men I can give you is, holidays or not, if you are tempted to start hanging with your ex, run the other way!
Have you managed to handle being friends with your ex? Or was it a walk down misery lane? Share your experiences in the comments below!
No question, a difficult breakup can mess with your head. TJ Carver explores the emotional impact and asks Can A Bad Marriage or Divorce Cause PTSD?
Want to break the habit of circling back to your ex? Check out Alicia Mejia’s encouragement to Find Your Comfort Zone … Then Leave It!
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