07 October 2008

It's Over, But I'm Not Supposed To Talk To You.

Lately, I have had the great joy of rediscovering something I never even realized I'd lost:  My very best friend.  Otherwise known as the Ex (whom I'll call S). 

Why is it that, after a break-up, all of our friends tell us to stay away, not talk to the bastard, to act strong and happy and carefree?  Good riddance to him.  Stay away.  And above all, don't you DARE call him crying and asking what went wrong and askingwhy can't we be together and saying I still love you. DO NOT DO THIS.

But what if blowing off the recent ex means that you also have to say goodbye and break ties with your best friend?  Yes, I lost a boyfriend--a relationship, a companion, a person I could envision growing old with--but losing the friendship?  To me, that's the unbearable part.  I just cannot say a forever goodbye to the person who has been my confidant for the past five years and who knows the real, true Kate. 

I've received a lot of slack from friends for my continued relationship with S.  We still talk almost every day--I call him when I'm upset, I ask him about his job, we talk about the election, etc.  All the same things we used to talk about, but without the pressure of trying to make a relationship work.  And somehow, with that big, fat stress-bomb out of the picture, we've regained our friendship.  I could not be happier.  After all the drama, we finally found our way back to us.  S & K:  secret junk food eaters, nature lovers, travelers, amateur chefs, long drives with great conversations, best friends.  

So why do people keep telling me to cut him out of my life?  I realize that S and I's past track record doesn't make us overly trustworthy (on, of, on, off, but i still love him, never again, etc.).  But no worries, dear friends.  I'm not crawling back to him.  I am not delusional enough to think that it just-maybe-might-work-again-just-one-more-time.  I realize that it is over.  What I cannot realize, or accept, is that I am "supposed" to not want to talk to him or turn to him.  

This is the only way I know how to explain it:  He's my person.  

Soul-mate, schmoul-mate, but S is the one person who truly, 100% gets me.  And I can predict his every move before he even thinks about it.  I can truly tell him anything, whether it's that I think Mike Rowe is really hot or that I'm out of clean underwear or that I miss him.  No judgments.  Just understanding.  

It's no secret that the past month has been a rough one for me.  Through it all, one person was consistently and unfaltering there for me:  S.  He was there at 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. and 5 p.m.  He let me babble about anything.  He let me cry, whine, bitch, yell, sob, curse, and cry even more.  Not only was he there, but he was supportive.   He suffered a similar loss while we were in college, and it is beyond comforting to talk to someone who understands what happens when emotional roller coaster meets 2 papers, 1 research job, 1 internship, 5 classes, job searching, and Lucy-dog's attitude.  When most of my other friends flaked out (admittedly, I'm not big on asking for help), he was there.

Pardon me while I break the break-up taboo.  I will not hate him, I will not call him names, and I will not bash him to my friends.  I haven't forgotten why we broke up, but I do remember why we were great friends before we ever dated.  I realize that not all break ups are this amicable, but I am so grateful that ours is.  I'm so incredibly grateful to have my best friend back.

I realize that things will change once we start dating other people, but for now I'm relishing the return of S & K, the BFF edition.


LucieLu said...

It is so funny that as I am reading this I am watching the episode of SATC when Big tells Carrie he is marrying Natasha, Miranda doesn't want to see Steve after the breakup, and Carrie ponders if exs can be friends.

I, for one, am I huge fan of exs as best friends, or even god fathers to your child.

Lauren said...

I just watched that episode of SATC not too long ago myself when pondering a similar question. I've often pondered the age-old question, "Where does the love go" in the end of a relationship. You seem to have found an answer that works for you and S. Bravo!

The only ex I was ever true friends with ended up abandoning me when his new girlfriend laid down the kibosh on our friendship. I'm glad your ex is a better man. I'm a fan of exes as friends in theory--it's just never worked for me in practice.

Katie said...

that is my big fear. both of us are resistant to the idea of dating already, but i know it's going to happen and things will probably change. :( i'm reveling in this stage before that b.s. starts to happen...

Little Bagel said...

I have an ex that I'm still bff with after two years, but the hardest part was when I started dating a new guy. Because we were bff & I knew just how badly he would take the news, it took me a good two months to find the courage to tell him about the new guy. That did not go well and almost ended the friendship. Enjoy the lack of complications while you have em!!!

heather said...

A college friend of mine recently posted her fb status as "N. is wondering whether to accept her ex-boyfriend's friend request", and was soliciting opinions on the matter. My response was simple: "if you'll be alarmed by his relationship status, don't friend him."

I think this is pretty reasonable advice, all joking aside. It's really normal to be friends with exes after the time and distance requisite to heal the cliched wounds. Until then, I think that it's a huge hinderance to both parties' emotional well-being to continue any contact. It really puts you in a slippery-slope of emotional/relationship purgatory.

R. and I were at a conference this summer and stopped in for one of those deathly boring lawyers' happy hours; we found ourselves in a circle of conversation that included, among others, my ex, the two of us,an ex of R's, and his ex's new husband. It was actually pretty comfortable for two reasons -- over five years had passed since either of us was involved with our respective exes, and we had all moved on significantly. My ex was showing pics of his child and letting us know that his wife is expecting a second, while R's ex was introducing us to her new husband. Under those circumstances, it hardly seemed awkward, but we had the luxury of time and distance. And plenty of booze. ;)

Good luck.


Mandy said...

Good for you! You can be friends with an ex, I've done it for several years. We are both important people in each other lives. We were miserable not being in each others lives. The romantic aspect of our relationship is over, but what remains is a mutal respect and love.

Little Bagel said...

Hi Miss Kate!

I saw this blog entry this morning and it made me think of you. I don't know much more about the blog (stupid Trusts & Estates midterm is getting in the way of checking fun new blogs :( ). But on the surface, he seems like he has the male perspective on this same issue.

Happy Friday!