The elusive “Ex”

“But I hope we can still be friends.”

This line, so often delivered at the close of a relationship, is quite possibly the most absurd thing ever uttered by a human being. The idea of being friends with your ex – real, honest buddies – can be likened to the idea of riding your pet unicorn over a rainbow. Sure, you want it to happen, but unfortunately you find that you live in reality as opposed to candyland, and that unicorn just can’t make it over the rainbow. Maybe if it laid off the magic stardust at night. 

I’ve delivered this line plenty of times myself, and I’ve also had it delivered to me. The person saying it usually means it. It’s the easiest way of telling the person you’re dumping (because let’s face it, the person using this line is usually the one doing the dumping) that while you don’t want to be with them anymore, you’d still like them in your life. 

At it’s core, this is a selfish concept. I mean think about it. You’ve just dumped someone, they are heartbroken and most likely still in love with you. And then you decide that you want to be friends. You’re walking a thin line, and it’s more than likely that line will lead to them having a terribly difficult time getting over you, because you keep insisting on this whole ‘friendship’ thing. You want to hang out with them, you want to talk to them, you don’t want them out of your life. And maybe, just maybe, deep down you like the fact that they are still interested in you. 

Like I said, I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been the one trying to hang out with my ex like nothing ever happened between us, while secretly hating myself because I’m still crazy about him. I’ve also been the one insisting on friendship, while quietly admitting to myself that yes, on some level, I do like the fact that my ex isn’t over me. Is it selfish? Yes. But It’s the truth. 

So, it’s out there. Someone on one end of the relationship has said “I hope we can still be friends”. Can it be done? Yes. I’ve seen people break up and end up becoming best friends. Is it rare? Yes. Just about as rare as jumping over the previously mentioned rainbow on your pet unicorn. But it does happen. I suppose I’m of the mindset that, if two people break up, and both of them honestly want a friendship – a real friendship – they can make it work.

But the truth is that the number of people using that line who do want a real friendship is probably a lot smaller than we’d like to believe. 


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