Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

In Breakups/Divorce on August 1, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Dear Yenta,

My ex and I broke up a little over a year ago. While we’ve chatted here and there since, he has recently been trying to be a part of my life again. Specifically he has been inviting me to dinner dates and to his parties. I am currently dating someone else and its getting pretty serious, so I’ve been declining my ex’s invitations.

After my ex’s birthday party, which I didn’t attend, he told me that he realized that he still wants me to be in his life, even if we aren’t together. He said that I was the person who first made a big deal about his birthday, and he remembers the good times we had and even though we aren’t together he would still like to be friends and have me in his life.

The ex has invited my boyfriend to these parties now, so at least is not a secret ploy to get me back as a girlfriend. I miss my ex too, we are best friends, but can you be friends with an ex?


Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II,

Dear Conflicted,

Start by watching Sex and the City, Season 2, Episode 3, “Ex and the City” for food for thought. Next, weigh your own needs, emotions and general status with all of this. What role did the ex-boyfriend play in your life? Is your new boyfriend playing that role? Do you still need your ex, or for that matter, do you honestly still want him in your life? Is he really still your “best friend?”

If these questions are so hard to answer, it makes me wonder if you still have feelings for your first love. Is he the one you want around when things get rough, or the new “more serious boyfriend?” Also, are you getting off on the attention? Sometimes it is hard to cut old lovers out of our lives because they look at us and pine for us in ways that we miss.

You mention your ex’s voice a lot in your question. You seem concerned about how much he misses you, how nice it was that you made a big deal for him on important holidays. Maybe this guy needs to find someone else to pay attention to him, celebrate his birthdays, make him feel special, rather then crossing boundaries and yanking your love life’s chain.

Bottom line: friendship with an ex has to do with two parties and both of their intentions. If you both want “friendship,” then make “friendship” work. That means maintaining trust, maintaining respect, and not crossing the line repeatedly. It does not sound like your ex is being a good friend, it sounds like he is acting in his own, and only his own, best interest. If you want games and leftover lust; if you are having a hard time locating this so-called friendly relationship amidst your older more romantic feelings; and if you truly value your new man, then I would say be brave, cut the ex chord, and give your new boyfriend your all.

Your 28-Year-Old Yenta

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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