Why Can’t We Be Friends: The Black and White of Relationships

Why is it that when I walk into a crowded room and see my ex, I have a mini freak out and decide he’s the last person I want to speak to? I mean, this guy likely knows me better than anyone else in the room knows me. He’s seen inside of me for God’s sake. He knows my deepest fears and darkest secrets. He once promised to love me until the day I die. So how can I tense up at the sight of him? How can it be easier to talk to a complete stranger than walk over to the most familiar person in the room, and spit out the words “how have you been?”

Do the relationships with the people that we used to love, and those who used to love us, have to be so black and white? It’s been 4 years, yet we still must either love each other or despise each other. Where is the middle ground? People question life after death, but I’m wondering is there such thing as friends after lovers?

A couple weeks ago I ran into an ex while out with my friends. I was drunkenly ecstatic to see him (any other time we’ve run into each other, it’s been an awkward series of question & response). We got to talking and when 2AM closed the city, I walked with him back to his living room. We spent another hour reflecting on our past – the beautiful, the ugly, what we miss and what we don’t. I told him about my new man, and he told me that he’ll never love anyone else the same. We shared old laughs and tears and promised to remain friends. I left and that was that. But the next time we saw each other sans alcohol it was back to that familiar slightly-forced friendliness.

I’m wondering – what does it take for your ex to escape the label of an “ex” and simply become a friend?


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