From COSMO Magazine
Should You Be Friends with an Ex?
When a relationship ends, it’s hard to know where in your life to relegate your old beau to. Our miniquiz will help you organize your ex files and figure out who is wise to keep around.
In other words: You want to take charge of the situation. To suss out if an ex-boyfriend should be a friend, a fling or forgotten forever, read the following descriptions. If you check off three boxes in one category, you’ll have found a previous partner’s proper place.
Apparently, men are the ones who can’t let go. According to a Public Opinion Strategies poll, 50 percent of single men still pine over an old flame compared to just 27 percent of single women.
The carnal chemistry is d-e-a-d. After a night of drinking, you still wouldn’t sleep with him.
Even when you were together, the relationship always felt more brother-and-sister than it did hot-and-heavy.
You have no problem hearing about his new girlfriends and would consider setting him up with one of your friends.
He’s a great pal to everybody in his life. You know you can talk about anything with him.
It is possible to be “just friends” with an ex, especially if the relationship was mostly platonic anyway. “Even if a romance loses its spark, you can still enjoy each other’s company,” says Patricia Farrell, Ph.D., author of How to Be Your Own Therapist. Plus, he remembers why he fell in love with you and can give you an ego boost when you need it.
One caveat: “If you’re both still single, you may not bother to meet other men because you’re so comfortable with the same safe guy,” says Elena Michaels, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist in Santa Clarita, California. Make sure you’re not shutting out any prospects that pop up.
The sex is fantastic, but your feelings don’t run deep.
You don’t want to go to dinner or do anything social with him.
The day after a booty call, you feel just as good about yourself as you did the night before.
If he told you tomorrow that he couldn’t sleep with you anymore, you’d be okay with it.
Hey, a single girl has needs! And recycling a stud from the past can feel a lot cozier (and safer) than picking up a random dude in a bar. As long as you’re just in it for the fun, sex with an ex can be a positive. “Not only are you already comfortable with this person sexually, but also there’s little at stake since the relationship aspect is over,” says Tina Tessina, Ph.D., author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again. But ex sex is tricky. “Even if you don’t want to date him, you may wonder why he’s not into you, which may ultimately hurt your self-esteem,” warns Levine.
You care enough to keep in touch, but you don’t need to hear about his daily life.
He has something to offer like stock tips, career connections or cool friends that you’d rather not lose forever.
You don’t feel an emotional pull toward him, nor do you have any urge to sleep with him.
You get an occasional pang of regret about the breakup, but after seeing him, it’s clear why he was Mr. Not Quite Right.
Relationships rarely end well, but sometimes they end amicably enough that you can afford to keep the guy in your life in a semidetached way. “Because you’re not involved in each other’s lives, you can get some distance from your feelings and start to see him as a person, rather than an ex who only inspires heartache,” says Levine.
Think of him as a remote, nonthreatening reminder of what you want and don’t want, which will enable you to home in on the qualities you need in a new guy. And since your feelings are nonexistent, you can catch up over dinner or call him for job leads without doing any emotional damage.
Just the thought of him with someone else can bring you to tears. Actually, the thought of him alone can, too.
You lie to your friends about seeing him or even thinking about him because you know they won’t approve.
You spend so much time obsessing over him that it’s getting in the way of your job, your friendships and even your current relationship.
You’ve broken up and gotten back together more than twice or have been on and off for years.
Some exes serve just one purpose: to torture you. If any of the above scenarios sound even slightly familiar, banish this bad-news boy from your life for good. Trouble is, the most destructive and unhealthy habits are usually the hardest to break. “Certain people can become like a drug to you, literally,” explains Levine. “They can elicit a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing endorphins, adrenaline and oxytocin. You become physically and mentally addicted to them.”
What makes the relationship even more seductive is the inconsistency. He may call you three times a day for a week, and then you won’t hear from him for months. As a result, you experience a withdrawal of sorts and wind up wanting him even more.
Also, in some cases, the toxic ex just won’t go away. “He may be just as addicted to you as you are to him,” says Levine. “He won’t give you what you need, but he doesn’t want to lose you either because he gets off on your adoration.” Keep reading for tips on disentangling yourself from a destructive ex-beau.
Sometimes an ex can become an addiction, no matter how wrong the guy is for you. To kick the habit, crib these tricks.
Your first step is to quit obsessing. When he pops into your brain, say the word stop to yourself and don’t even allow yourself 30 seconds of rumination. If that doesn’t work, wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it. The ouch factor will serve as negative reinforcement.
For those horny or alcohol-fueled moments, try this: Leave his name in your cell, but reprogram the number so that when you speed-dial him, you get your best friend instead. Also, block all of his phone numbers and email addresses so he can’t reach you either.
Make a list of his five most irritating qualities and keep it in your wallet in case of an emergency (e.g., a stranger walks by wearing the same blue sweater you bought him). As soon as the first missing-him pang strikes, whip out your handy list to remind yourself how much he sucks.