I used to think that when a relationship ends, there’s no reason to see the other person again, other than in casual public settings. After all, it’s called “ending a relationship” for a reason. All of that changed when I dated one of my long-time friends. She’s excellent. When things didn’t work out romantically, we sort of effortlessly switched back to making fart jokes with each other, almost as though we’d never seen each other naked. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that we ever did. I need to buy a camera phone. Anyways, I now realize that there are some great benefits to being friendly with an ex, as long as there aren’t any more sexy moisture-time feelings between the two parties. However, there’s an added hitch: the jealousy of your new partner.
I’m lucky enough (or choosy enough) to date very open-minded women who don’t mind when I talk to an ex, but for many couples, jealousy’s kind of a big thing. If you’re spending time with your ex-boyfriend, your current boyfriend is probably going to get jealous because, hey, we’ve all watched that one episode of “Degrassi” where the one girl gets back with the one guy behind the back of the other guy who had no idea what was going on, and many guys are terrified of their partner’s infidelity. If you’re planning on spending some time with an ex-boyfriend, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Don’t invite your boyfriend along just because he looks jealous. If you mention to your boyfriend that you’ll be hanging out with an ex and the vein in his neck starts to pulse, don’t try to calm him down by inviting him along. We know that you don’t really want us to come along; you’re going to hang out with a friend, and there’s a reason why we weren’t invited in the first place. Suddenly inviting your boyfriend isn’t going to make anything better. He might think that you’re trying especially hard to hide something.
Choose your hang-out with the ex carefully, and don’t look too awesome. Don’t go to get a beer with your ex in your nicest clothes if you’re not trying to make your boyfriend jealous. Grab some lunch or something. If you make it look like a date, your boyfriend will probably get pissed off, and who can blame him? You’d probably get just as mad if he did the same thing, because you’re not talking about two old friends—you and your ex have a history, probably with some nudity involved. Don’t bring that up unnecessarily. You don’t have to leave the house looking like a nun who got hit by a train, but guys are touchy, and it’ll help our egos if you don’t look like you’re trying to impress your ex. You can always touch up in the car.
If things are innocent, you’ve got a right to keep a friendly relationship with an ex. If you want to go meet your ex and your boyfriend’s being a jerk about it, talk out his concerns. If he’s still being a jerk, explain that you’ve got a right to have male friends, even if some of those friends have bigger penises than him. Actually, that might be a bit harsh. But remind him that you’re in his corner, and maybe re-mention why you’d broken up with the ex to begin with. Keeping in touch with your ex doesn’t have to be a big deal, so don’t make it a big deal—your current boyfriend will learn to handle it if you stand your ground.
Originally published on The Frisky