Wednesday, March 14, 2007

To Be Or Not To Be (Friends) ...

So, I was reading my online pal Steff's latest post this morning and I left a lengthy comment, and I thought to myself, "Well, that's pretty much a blog entry unto itself."

The post (What, you're too lazy to go read it? Fine, I'll summarize it for you ... ) is from a reader of Steff's wanting her take on "being friends" after a break-up. In this case, the guy is the break-upper, the girl the break-upee. She says she didn't see the end coming. Ouch.

So, I got to thinking about the whole "let's be friends" business, and as I wrote in my comment, with one exception, I have no contact with any man I've ever dated. And that one exception is the one man I didn't sleep with. Hmm.

I once had a guy break up with me (after a short but intense spell; he lived in another city and determined that the distance would be an issue, though he had previously dated a woman here and broke up with her for the same alleged reason; did he think Lake Michigan had evaporated some and brought our two cities that much closer?) who said - in his e-mail, his chosen forum for ending things, which tells you a lot about him right there - that he still wanted to be friends, that he liked talking to me and having me there to listen to him and thought I was great and fun and funny and blah blah blah.

I quickly fired back that I am not an a la carte menu.

Which isn't to say I'd never be friends with an ex in the future, but like Steff says, it's very tricky.

The last guy I dated seriously stood by his apartment door as I got my coat on after he broke up with me (yeah, he let me come to him; I called him on it later and he apologized) and said, sullenly, "You hate me now."

I reassured him that I didn't hate him. Because I didn't. I knew things weren't going to work out between us ultimately, too. But I was struck by the fact that moments after dropping a bomb on me, he was wanting me to make him feel better. At least, that's how I read it. Oy vey.

Come to think of it, a guy I dated in my 20s broke up with me on the phone. (I'm detecting a trend here: Men are pathetic wusses when it comes to breaking up.) I'm very much one of those people who thinks of the perfect thing to say after the fact. That night, I said to him, "I can't help but think that as soon as I hang up the phone, I'll think of what I want to say to you right now."

He chuckled and said, "You can call me back."

And I, in a moment that will go down in my annals of great retorts, said, very assuredly, "No, I really don't think I can."

Then I wished him well and told him how lucky someone will be to have him someday, partly because I meant it, partly because I wanted to kill him just a little with kindness, and partly because I will not be the shrill, scorned, suddenly ex-girlfriend whose behavior justifies the break-up in the man's mind: "Geez, she's a psycho. I did the right thing."

In fact, the only ex-boyfriend I ever yelled at was the one I never slept with. Hmm.

The other day, he posted a very sweet compliment to one of my photos on MySpace. I sent him a note that read, "What a fab way to start the day!"

Today, he sent a reply that read, "You are the most fab way to start the day! Wish I could literally start and end each day with you!"

To which I replied, "Aw. If only circumstances were different ... ."

But if nothing else, we're friends.

1 Comments:

Anonymous emmie johnson said...

Thats a cool post. Wonder if it is really that easy to remain friends with your ex. Well, I still talk to my ex at times but we are not really friends. This is quite thought provoking though.
Hey! you could also check out my blog on friendship greeting cards for some beautiful e-greeting cards and friendly tips.

3:01 AM  

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