How to Cope with the ‘eX Factor’.

Now this is a question that will split best friends apart, families into disorder and probably bring upon the end of the world, or so it may seem. Can you remain friends with someone you used to be so much closer with?

And that is the issue, how close were you during the relationship? If you were merely around for mutual sexual benefits then it is unlikely that becoming friends after that has ended will be an issue, and indeed it may be the reason you were a part of a completely sexual ‘relationship’. The real problem arises when you have been close to someone and they know about you, your life, fears, aspirations and all that jazz.

With all that to one side for the moment, let us think of relationships like snow flakes, yes we all know each one is different and beautiful in its own way. However, deep down they are all the same, they are all made from snow. They all follow the same basic life plan – fall from the sky, fly around a little bit then ultimately land upon the floor and fuse with every other snow flake. The relationship takes part whilst you are flying around, although this sounds as if I am saying every couple has an expiration date, I’m not, but you only last as ‘girlfriend and boyfriend’ for so long. What I am going to talk about, I assume, does not fit with divorcees, but you may be able to extract a few nuggets to help you.

Firstly let me silence people that will wave this off with such arguments as “You cannot condense our relationship.” Or “We split for many reasons, you don’t/wouldn’t understand!” Secondly, it is always annoying when people selfishly assume no one else can understand when they have been hurt. Here is the thing, things might end differently, but the same catalysts are always in place. It is one of many things that EVERY couple has to deal with. Trust me this humbling sense will get you through a tough and dark break up. Your relationship may have been special to you but in the grand scheme of things it was a carbon copy of what Mr John Everybody and Jane Generic, a few streets over, went through a month ago, and a huge list of people are going to be dealing with it soon also.

Regardless of the situation that left the whole that was your relationship, being civil hurts no one. You may think it hurts your pride, but can you not be proud of being the bigger person? Besides, we all know showing an ex that we are happy and have clearly moved on would hurt the ex more than a sour face and a few murderous glances. This is not to say you tell them how well you are doing, because it instantly becomes unbelievable, and NO ONE likes a show off!

To set the scene, you are all at a dinner party he/she is there, possibly with a new partner. You are alone, at least with regards to a partner; we all know you are going to have been dragged there by a friend, both of you knowing your ex will be present. Now it depends on the time since you broke up, but that person they are with may be a rebound (or more hurtfully the person they left you for).

Now smile, no matter how hard it feels. Do not bury the pain, that is not healthy, but you don’t need to focus on that during this fictional party. If the dreaded time arrives and you are engaged in a conversation with him/her, keep your answers short. They need to know they are no longer allowed to know deep information about your life, tell them something you’d tell any stranger at this party.

“How is Sandra treating you at work?” they might ask, “You know bosses! I can’t wait for a holiday.”

The party has ended and you are back at your house/flat/studio apartment/shed and you may get a new partner. Now picture being friends, good or not, and having a new person in your life sharing the same things you did previously. How is this new man/woman going to think with someone you have all this history with, someone who is ahead of Mr New Guy or Miss New Girl on knowledge of you? Something that is likely to feed to the paranoia of said person. “Oh you bought her a coffee… She prefers tea!” A selfless act assassinated, even if it was unintentional.

If you have guessed by now I am not in favour of being friends once you have split up from your partner. There will always be a connection there, you liked, maybe even loved, this person enough to dedicate yourself to being together. Once ripped apart it won’t be straight away, but you will remember how you felt, and you remember how it was possible. You might reconsider rekindling that flame… You shouldn’t.

Conclusion? Be happy! Try not to allow history to repeat itself. But more importantly, be happy… Oh I already said that.

Leigh Kemp – Jul 19th 2010