Thursday, November 21, 2013
"On Fire": Can (and Should) You Be Friends with Your Ex?
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing."---Ecclesiastes 3:1&5(NKJV)
There is a running joke that I share with my platonic male friends: "Watch who you bring home to your mother because if she and your mom connect, once you break up, you will hear about her for the rest of your entire life."
I am a living testament to that. And not to toot my own horn, but I actually do pretty well with mothers. As a matter of fact, I just talked to an ex's mom a couple of nights ago and one of the things that we discussed was if I would be able to be friends with her son ever again.
Now before we get into the answer, here's the backdrop of the story: For years, he and I were extremely close friends. Then one day, he told me that he was in love with me but (catch it) he didn't want to be. As a gal who had a crush on him *and* low self-esteem (and with that usually comes selective hearing), I'm pretty sure you can guess all that I heard: "I love you."
So, our friendship took a turn, we started having sex and even a pregnancy came from it. My final abortion: December 4, 1999. Interestingly enough, the experience earned me a byline in the now defunct Honey Magazine in part because a year later, he got with the woman who is now his wife. At that time, they were living together but the catcher is that he got her pregnant a year after my abortion. A year after telling me that he wasn't ready to have a child.
His daughter is 12 now.
Look ladies, abortion is wrong. No if, ands or buts about it. Psalm 127:3(NKJV) says "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." There's just no debating that. So, if you are someone who is pregnant and the father is pressuring you to abort, let my testimony remind you, *don't*. Three of my four aborted children's fathers now have children. I don't.
OK but here's the main point. As his mom was talking to me about how she feels that we both still care for one another, I shared with her something from the video featuring the woman I posted on here some months ago; the one who studies what sex does to us physically (you can watch it again here). One of the things that she stated was if you *conceive* a child with someone, their DNA is in you for the rest of your life (THE REST OF YOUR LIFE). Sex makes people "one". God said it (I Corinthians 6:16-20-Message). Don't doubt him.
That said, I told her "I am always going to love your son but he's married and we have a lot of history. We will never be able to be 'just friends' because we violated boundaries. I have to respect his life now but I do hope we can be peaceful in one another's space."
What am I saying? I don't discern that it is healthy to be intimate friends with an ex.
Yes, I personally know some people who would debate that you can't be friends with an ex. To that, I'll say this: I am *cool* with some exes but when you have sex as a part of your past with someone, you have entered into a territory that makes it potentially uncomfortable for the woman they do decide to build a future with. And if you don't choose to respect that, it's a rude. It's inconsiderate. And yes, it is questionable what your true motives are. It doesn't matter if it's "in the past" (Proverbs 21:2&8-Message). Fornication has consequences. Ignoring that is...unwise.
Case in point: One of my closest male friends' wife said to me "I am totally comfortable with your relationship with my husband. Why? Because you never slept with him." And can't you see why she would feel that way? No lines were crossed. SEX CROSSES THE LINE. Look, if there's a man you want to keep in your life for the rest of your life, do the both of you a favor and leave sex out of the equation. It makes things easier for everyone.
So, you might wonder why I still talk to my ex's mother. Good question. The truth is that she and I became friends before he and I started having sex. But to be honest, we had to "wean" off of one another over time. Literally. We used to talk like once a week. Now it's literally a couple of times a year. Her son is fine with it. But we both know that his wife is more at peace with us not being as close we used to be. *And none of that would be an issue had he and I not slept together*.
Yes, when God puts rules (RULES-Hebrews 13:4) in place, he's taking the past, present and future into account.
So again, "Can you be friends with your ex?" Well, first it's a good idea to think about what a friend is and does. A friend assists. A friend supports. A friend, by definition, is also a confidant, affectionate and (catch it) intimate. What do you, someone who he has violated boundaries with (godly boundaries at that!), exactly need to assist him with? Why do the two of you need to remain affectionate?
That said, I believe the better question is "*Should* you be friends with your ex?" I mean, would you want women your future husband has been intimate with to be in your emotional space? And more importantly his? To remain one of his confidants? To be affectionate with him? To be intimate with him?
And if you do still care for your ex, wouldn't leaving him to build with someone else be a sign of that? Honestly, the women I know who try and maintain one part of the intimacy with a man they've slept with seem to be pretty selfish (Philippians 2:3). Love is about putting someone else's needs above your own . It's important to really think about what "he" *needs* you for. And don't even get me started on the fact that if you couldn't make it as a couple, you might want to think about if it's even *productive* to be friends. Life is meant to be lived "fast forward", not "rewind".
Real talk? A lot of people who try to be friends with an ex are individuals who still want a remnant of the past on their terms and that gets into the lead quote up top: it leads to questions about if there are some unresolved issues.
Again, I'm very "cool" with some of the men from my past. And I'm also pretty cool with a couple of their wives (and yes, the wives know that I had a past with them). But because those guys and I had a connection, even though we're both two very different people now, I know that I forfeited (FORFEITED) the right to be the true definitions of friends. Friendly? Sure. Intimate? Uh-huh.
So first up: If you have an ex that you have a sexual past with and you're considering getting back together with him, one of my favorite quotes on that topic is "Getting back with an ex is like putting on dirty underwear after taking a shower." (Ewwwww.) I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7-8) and to this day, I haven't met one married couple, *not one*, that hasn't dealt with some serious stuff because they had sex before marriage. Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26) allowed her past to paralyze her. Just stay prayerful. It's not that it *can't* work; just make sure God *wants* it to.
And if you have an ex that you have a sexual past with and you're trying to act like the sex never happened as you attempt to be "just friends"...
1) If he has a woman and she doesn't know *fully* about your past with him, that's a flag.
2) If the two of you are keeping some dynamic of the "friendship" a secret, that's a flag.
3) If he's seeing someone and she said she doesn't like your relationship and you don't care, that's a flag.
4) If you have not even stopped to consider if you'd want your man to be in the same predicament, that's a flag.
5) If you haven't put what's best for "him" above what you want, that's really a flag.
It was the Apostle Paul who once said "All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]." (I Corinthians 10:23-AMP)
This applies to everything. Including past relationships.
A mature person is a responsible one (Galatians 6:5-NCV).
They don't do things just because they *can*.
They do things because they *should*.