When the relationship ends and a platonic friendship is on the table....could it work or is it better to remove this person from your life? On this week's brunch talk we're talking about if you can stay friends with an ex, what boundaries need to be in place, and how to determine ultimately what is best for you. This is a tricky one but we dissect all the ins and outs so you can use this as a guide to assess your own situation.
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#brunchtalk: Can you stay friends with an ex?
00:00:01 - 00:05:08
The dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host UA Shu, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Brunchables, welcome to another episode of brunch talk by the dateable podcast. If you're new to these episodes, we have an episode that we do during the week, and then we have one on the weekend where we can address some of the questions that you all have sent in. And we've gotten so many questions in. It's so great, but you can still keep sending them in. We love brunch talk and we love all the topics that you are all asking us about. This is like the little side dish that you get. The extra. It's like when you have to pay extra for that avocado. We're giving you the free avocado. Fuck. Isn't it the worst? It's so savage. When they do that, it's like, brunch is already not that cheap. And then you add it on avocado, which is like sometimes $3 more. I don't understand. You just BYO avocado. Yeah, but they're like $3 at the grocery store too. It's always so ridiculous. That's really hard, but they're so damn good, which is what kind of justifies the costs. That's always that mental calculation. Is it worth it? How much better will it be with that avocado? I would recently heard someone talk about value versus price. And he's like, the price is what you pay, but the value is what you get out of it. So if you're paying for something that brings you a lot of value, it's worth it. Totally. So he's like, whatever you add on extra, think about how much value that brings you. So I think avocado does bring a lot of value, especially during brunt, just seems like the go to brunch side dish. It's crazy, yeah. Isn't that the same with dating though, right? How much value are you getting? Is it your like, I'm going on this date, two drinks would be like 40 bucks, $10 to take it, Uber, but they could be amazing, right? Right. Yeah, and sometimes I have to get a little wax, you know? Get the heritage. Look at the nails did and ends up being like 500 bucks. It has a worth it. That's my video dating is so much easier. Yeah, that zoom filter is a free 99, so. You can use it all to fake makeup. So much better. I used to think of dating as because it does add up. I know a lot of guys say that men spend more when it comes to dating. It's not true. Women spend equally as much. If not sometimes more, just a lot of it is even in the prep work. But I always thought of the price tag as the price for admission for a show. You're either gonna meet someone amazing or you're going to watch a very entertaining show. And I would pay that much for a play or a musical. So why not get that one on one experience? Immersive experience. Immersive for two. Really good experience for all. So let's get to the question. This one, we've gotten a lot of different variations of this question and we finally decided to do it because we kind of received another question this past week that was the cherry on top for it all. So let's get to it. The top line of this question is can you stay friends with your exes? Yes, and some more context that we got from the last one. Like UA said, we've heard differing levels of this question. Time and time again. But this one said, I've tried to remain friends, but it's often pretty hard in the friendship in quotes, usually fizzles out. However, my last ex genuinely wanted to remain friends. It has been a good friend in the sense that they give sound advice and has helped me out with various things, acting much like my other guy Friends. What do you think? This is a tricky one. I've even following us for a while. You know that I have a very strong stance on this. I mentally murder my exes. It's just not going to happen. I'm not going to stay friends with them. And recently, when I was thinking about why that is, I have two main reasons. One is I just feel like my ex is represent a different side of me, a past me, a chapter that I want to close. So that's the only way I can really progress forward. The second main reason is because I don't think it's fair for my future partner or their future partner if we remain close friends. Now I'm talking about close friendships here. Sure, you can remain acquaintances. I mean, I still say like a little high there here and there on Facebook or on Instagram with some of my exes from like ten years ago, sure, but we're not like having one on one coffee conversations or talking about life and we're dating.
00:05:08 - 00:10:02
That's just, in my mind, impossible. But that's, again, that's only for my experience and that's what I'm most comfortable with. You mean you don't invite all your access to brunch every week. You don't do that. I do, but they never show up. So I stopped. You know, I'm very conflicted on this one. I used to be pro staying in touch with exes because I felt that, you know, there was a reason why you liked them in the first place. The reason why you had the relationship that you did and pending there wasn't a reason this person severely hurt you. I think being treated poorly is reason enough not to keep anyone in your life, whether you were romantic or not. But let's say, for all intents and purposes, it ended civilly. There were some reason, maybe even outside of you two that caused this relationship to end. I did feel that you should keep this person in your life. That being said, over the years, my tune has changed a little, and I think ultimately comes down to is this person holding you back from meeting someone that is a better fit. Even if this person was freaking phenomenal, there's a reason why your relationship ended, right? Someone or both of you did not feel like it was compatible, didn't want to keep committing, didn't want to make it work. Whatever that may be, there was a reason. And by that definition alone, there's someone better out there for you. Someone that will be there with you to make it work. So I think if this person is holding you back and sometimes it's not super apparent, it could even be that you don't have feelings for them, but maybe they're your plus one to the wedding so you don't have to go alone or maybe they're you're de facto dinner date or you do things with them like I don't know just to avoid loneliness. That could be holding you back, not making the space for someone that will actually be your all. So I think that's first and foremost, how is this person affecting you? How prominent are they in your life? I also think it's very different checking in via text once every couple months versus you're hanging out with this person every week or texting all day every day. I think those are all very different scenarios. And not to say that this is completely impossible, I've definitely heard of Friends who've become very close friends with their exes, but it took time. And I think that's that. It takes time for you to get over each other romantically. And also it takes time for you to get over the breakup, too. So give it that time, and if you feel like you're in a good place to have a platonic friendship with your ex, I think it's worth revisiting. If you really feel like you want this person in your life, I know it gets a little tricky if you were friends first. And then you became romantic partners, and then you feel like you lost a friendship. We've heard a lot of that too, but it again, it takes time. You can't just dive into it. And kind of a good rule of thumb is you almost have to be in a good relationship yourself before you can open that door with some of your exes. I was gonna say that I feel like I'm like, could I stay friends even with most serious acts that you ultimately I basically had a sever, the friendship. But could I have if he had moved on and I'm where I am now? Would that work? I don't know. Maybe it would. I don't know, but I also am like, does my new partner do to go to brush with my ex? Probably not. It's kind of one of those things that if it just happens to be that way, but I would also go back that there's many shades of gray here too. It's like how serious was this relationship? How, you know, I think if you were friends first, it was more of a friends with benefits thing, both of you weren't super invested. I think that's very different than the person that completely broke your heart, right? So there is a very wide range that we're talking to here. So ultimately, you know you, you know your situation. I think a litmus test is when this person texts you, how do you feel? Yeah. Are you super giddy and excited? That might mean that there's still some feelings there. Are you almost like angry that they texted you? Also could be some feelings there, or are you very neutral? Because I think that's the big difference. I feel like, what is it the opposite of love is not hate it's indifference. So if you feel just very calm and collected when this person messages, do you know big deal, then that's a sign that maybe you could make something work. I'm not gonna lie. There are certain exes in my life that if I were to get a text from them now, it would bring a little something something to me. I don't know, a little tingles, a little butterflies, not that I want to be with them, but it does bring up the memories from that time in my life. And so those are the people I don't want to open the door with. I feel like it could be very much in the danger zone. But if you do feel that sense of love in a very platonic way of this person, like I care about them, I want to learn more about them and hear what's going on in their life.
00:10:02 - 00:15:00
Maybe that is more of the safe zone. But like Julie said, I think there's so many layers to this. If it's just a hookup, then maybe it's a different scenario, if it's like a very significant relationship, is a different scenario. You just have to gauge it the way that makes sense for you. Now, for me, if my current partner brought around his ex and was like, we're totally platonic. She's a really big part of my life. She's good friends with my family. I don't want to see my pogo sisters like, no. I don't need to share that, you know? I'm sure he doesn't want to be Eskimo brothers with some of my friends like, I don't want to be part of that, okay? I don't want to be in this tribe. So to me, I'm like, what I like that if my partner did that to me, no, I wouldn't. So I just don't think it would be very fair. That's a really good litmus test. I think, you know, I have two exes, one. I engage with every so often. It's very infrequent. I would say maybe at this point, once a year, it's really infrequent. Also helps that he lives in a different country. So that's another factor that helps. And we didn't date as long either. So there's that piece too. And we did a video call over COVID and this was before I met my current partner. And there was no feelings whatsoever. And he didn't really, you know, maybe if I had made a move, he would have advanced it to be more flirtatious, but he didn't either. So it did not feel bad. It felt very platonic and I think that person, if he lived here, I probably maybe could talk to every so often. I don't know. Again, I don't know how much I'd want to hang out because I have a partner now. And it would really come down to his comfort with it. But I could see it potentially being someone because there's just no feelings there. Right. My other acts on the other hand, I had to essentially be like, I can't do this anymore. Even texts or anything because, you know, there were still, I didn't have feelings similar to you, you, it's not like I was longing to get back together, but it was still illicit things for me. And you were in them. And I think that was the big difference too. It's just like my feelings in general, the amount of time. There were so many different factors of the two. And you know, also he hadn't fully moved on, I don't think, so that was like another piece of it. So it's just situation wise, I had to think about myself. What is best for me? That's where I had to go. I was like, what is best for me? And what is best for my present? Not my past. And sometimes that's a hard answer and sometimes the answer is not this past person. There's a reason. Again, that this person is from the past. And even when you were just bringing up the other less serious ex, I also want to be like, Julie, you have plenty of Friends. I can't imagine you being like, I'm going to carve out time just for this guy. When you have so many other friends that you can hang out with that you would rather hang out with. It's like, yes, maybe, okay, sure. No more feelings. I could hang out with this person, but will you ever make time? Probably not. Right. This is a random side note of running venture if I told you this UI, which means that this is not even a big deal. It's not affected me. My past X and I've taught them on the about him on the podcast had to leave and go back to the UK. So that's why we broke up. And he was actually back in San Francisco visiting. I want to say like, I don't know, November, October, November of last year. And he messaged me through WhatsApp, multiple times in none of them went through. Ed, I messaged him because I had to talk to but a lot of time over the holidays because that's usually like when we would catch up and he's like, oh like I messaged you never responded. What a sign in I said to a screenshot of bi messages that did not include his adhesive set me a screenshot of his that included multiple reach outs and tries. He's like, oh, I thought you were just ignoring me. And I'm like, maybe this is a side because I probably would have been like, oh, I should meet up, and then it would have been awkward. And then I don't even know if I've actually even told him I have a new partner because we don't talk that much. At that level friendship. Right. So I think this just worked itself out for the better. I didn't even have a decision to make. So maybe that's what people do is just send a message to your ex over WhatsApp and see if it goes through and have what's app decide. If you should reconnect with your ex or not. I like this. Easier to make it that decision. Yeah, leave it to technology. Yeah. But do you think you would have hung out with him if those messages? No, I probably would have, because or I would have at least had the conversation with my current partner and I think he would have been open to it also because he has a past ex he still keeps in touch with. And I've become okay with it. And again, it's not like a frequent thing. I think the frequency is a big piece of it too.
00:15:00 - 00:20:04
But do they hang out one on one? No, it's more in a group because they were in Friends group. Yeah, it's very different like you said you would maybe hang out with him if the messages went through. But you meant like not one O one, right? Yeah, I mean, that's what, but what would the option be that I just bring my car and partner to? Yeah, it's very strong. It's just awkward all around. I mean, that's what makes it challenging. And that's why it depends on the situation. Like if you or your ex were in the same group of friends, it makes it a lot less weird, I think. Yeah, yeah. It's all kind of weird. It's all kind of weird. I think there's only one X I would be willing to see and that's my ex of 5 years who's now married with a kid. 'cause you both moved on. We moved on and it was so long ago we dated over a decade ago, it's just like totally different lifetime. So that's the only person. I can see a lot. So let's say he called you up and he's like, I'm in LA right now. Would you want to meet up? Would you go one on one or would you bring your partner and have him break his wife? Oh, it would definitely be a double date. And one on one. Yeah. Again, it's my time allocation. Why would I allocate it to someone? I haven't really had a relationship with in so long. I would definitely do a double date. But I think this is good. It's like all these boundaries are also important because there isn't a one size fits all answer to this at all. I know the person that wrote us in was hoping for a very cut or dry yes no. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We do not know your situation well enough. We do not know how you operate well enough. So there's never going to be a cut and dry. I think the other thing for me that helped was what are the boundaries, like with my other ex chatting on the phone or seeing each other in person was a definite no. Chatting on the phone brought shit up for me. Text was like text is the only way I'll interact with him now. We've kind of we haven't talked in a long time at this point, but if he were to reach out now, I would maybe engage back in text, but I would not go any further than that. That would be the ultimate max of where it went. So I think that's also important to know is what's going to bother you and what can you kind of roll with a little more. And maybe it's even like they talk about, you still have a boundary too. We can't talk about our relationship at all at this point. Like we've already sealed this up, like we're not revisiting good times, we're not saying the I misuse and all the shit that's very lovey dovey. Like that stuff is a boundary too. So I think that's a huge way that you can preserve something, but then ultimately you need to ask yourself, what am I really getting for this? Friendship has all these rules around it. That's the other side of it. Yeah, seriously, what's the point? I think we just have to be so honest with ourselves and ask, what is my intention here? Because I can see because I've definitely been there. I want to keep in touch with this ex because I'm hoping that maybe we could reignite things later down the line. Or I want to hear my ex tell me that they miss me because I need that validation. So let's just be super honest and ask, what is my intention here? And I think that's the ultimate test of all is, like, just be honest with yourself. I mean, that is what it comes down to. I think looking back on it, I never was really Friends with my ex, and he was never really Friends with me. Like the one that to this day, I still would struggle being friends with. It was almost like a fake way that we could keep talking. Yes. Allow the relationship to continue without being in a relationship again. So ultimately, both parties need to have the most pure of attention and then really it needs to come down to also what is it that what value are you getting at the end of the day? You know, we started this with the value equation and I don't want to equate every last person to what value are they giving you. It's not like that. But there is an opportunity cost of spending time with certain people for every person, especially in dating when you're with the wrong people, you can not be with the right person. That is a fact. So ultimately asking yourself, what is it that I'm getting from this person? I think it acts as probably the one person that it's okay to ask that. Everyone else, maybe not so much, but in this case, because you had a history, it didn't work out. You're looking for ultimately what this person couldn't provide you. It is important to have that conversation. Yes. Agreed. I think the other part that I want to address is on this person wrote in and said, this person's been a good friend in the sense that he gives sound advice and has helped me out with other various things, acting like my other guy Friends. I think this is interesting because ultimately, one, is there a unique take that you're not getting elsewhere, especially if you do have other guy Friends and again, we don't know the answer to that.
00:20:04 - 00:23:53
Maybe there is maybe there isn't. But I think that's important to ask yourself and then two, how much can you talk about future relationships without getting a biased answer? Realistically, even if there is an inkling that this person has some feelings for you, you might not get this unbiased responsively. Yeah, I think we all have a romance bias where we listen more to our partners than we do other people. We actually put more weight on their advice to us. So when an X is giving you a vice, maybe it's not new advice, it's just a you're listening more carefully, too. And sometimes we equate that to a close friendship or a connection when you're just putting them kind of on a pedestal above other people in your life. That's a really good point, because I think also to sometimes you need to make space. We were talking about earlier if you're always relying on this person that what's really the motivation to find that new partnership. I think times when you felt a little lonelier and you've craved that connection that almost causes you to act a little more to get to what you're ultimately looking for. This is a tricky one, though, and like we set up front, there's no one size fits all, pending you want a relationship, current day, and this person couldn't provide you with the relationship. There's all shades of X's. There's all shades of where you are current day. So again, it all comes back to how do you feel around this person when they reach out to you? Yes. Good luck with that. It can all relate. So tread carefully, and we are here to support you. And if you have other questions, you would like to ask, we are taking all the questions for brunch talk, you can email us at hello at dateable podcast dot com or you can DM us on Instagram at data podcast. Awesome, see you next week. Bye. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network. Find more podcasts you'll love at frolic dot media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tag us in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those posts. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos, and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect, analyze, and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to stay dateable. Introducing Under Armour's infinity high sports bra, it's ergonomic design is molded to support the natural movement of your body. With cord out padding, the better breathability eliminates extra bulk without sacrificing support. And quick dry padding is Under Armour's fastest drawing padding yet. When you're lifting heavy, running fast and pushing yourself further than ever before, you need a bra that will help you go that extra mile and make you feel your best. Shop the infinity high sports bra now at UA dot com. Buffo is active recovery footwear helped veteran quarterback Alex Smith get back to the highest level of football. We all have obstacles, challenges, at different points in life. I still push myself every single day. The first time I put on a pair of it was like someone released the pressure when you are recovered that has a compounding effect on all aspects of your life. Stepping into a pair of their truly one of a kind. Try U foes for yourself at U fo's dot com. That's dot com. Dot com.