We sat conversing about life from career to politics to family over a drink. On the neighboring table, an older gentleman sat dining alone. After making several comments about our conversation, as well as discussing counter-argument points with us, he remarked; “Well it certainly is refreshing to know that a young couple like yourselves still talk about important things.”
“Oh no, we’re not a couple – we used to be.”
This caused the older gentleman some distress.
“Such a shame that you two don’t have a happy ending!”
“But we do have a happy ending – we’re still good friends.”
“In fact we have two happy endings – we’re both in really good relationships!”
I can understand why the older gentleman assumed a man and a woman sitting in a pub together were together in a romantic sense (though I’m not sure if he would have assumed that if we had been the same sex, but that’s an entirely different discussion altogether). The thing that niggled at my brain was how he could not comprehend why we were in fact not together, or how neither of us had an ultimatum of trying to win the other one back (our lives are not episodes of Hollyoaks). It’s perfectly fine for an ex-couple to become friends after – though it may not happen as often as it could.
It certainly was a big deal for me to remain friends with my ex.
We had had a classic love story with a modern twist. We met through blogging. I followed his blog, he followed mine. We conversed via comment sections, that lead onto emails, that led onto Youtube monologue video conversations (yes, really) and handwritten letters. We met in person at Trafalgar Square, and spent 25 hours together on our first date. We dated for a year, I moved in with him, and we lived together for a year. Marriage was on the cards. Then we broke up and I moved out.
We had laughed together, he had looked after me when I had cried, I gave him head rubs when he couldn’t sleep, we knew each other’s families really well; it was horrid to think that I might be losing one of my best friends.
Of course, it all depends on each individual ex-couple, and whether or not the each person feels able to look at the other as a friend rather than a person that hurt them. If you’ve broken up with somebody and the end has caused arguments, anger and you are boiling over with pure hatred towards that other person, then friendship isn’t going to happen. If you’ve broken up with somebody with the intention of keeping them in your life but not in a romantic way, then friendship could be on the cards. However that friendship is probably not going to be instantaneous – you both need to adjust to life without that other person being there for you all the time.
A few months after we broke up, we spent some time together again. We had pizza, he saw my new place, we had more pizza. Sure, at first it was a little awkward, but that is pretty much inevitable. Now, we can hang out in pubs, ask each other for advice, and talk about our future plans with our SO’s. It’s great not to have lost such an awesome person in my life.
There’s a reason why we were together and a reason why we broke up. But the fact that we were together in the first place means something – we got on really well, and there was no reason why we couldn’t continue to get on really well (thankfully). We have even reached an awesome point of our friendship where we are both genuinely happy for each other in our new relationships.We still laugh together, which is something I would have greatly missed.
When you meet someone, whether it’s going to be just friendship or a sexy relationship, you can tell whether they are your sort of person or not. You know whether you would feel comfortable telling them your aspirations, if you would enjoy having a drink or eleven with them, or if you could imagine laughing so much with them that one of you farts (yes, that did happen, and no, it wasn’t me who farted). My ex was my sort of person, and he still is.