I'm friends with most of my exes.
Okay, so when I say "friends" I really mean that we are "friendly"... or that we're kind to one another if we ever have contact and we genuinely wish the best for one another. Truth be told, I am rarely in contact with any of them. I just feel as if that's the way to go out of respect for my husband. But that's just me.
(And now that I think about it, I actually have more contact with my exes' wives than I do my ex-boyfriends, which has been really great. I'm glad they married really incredible women!)
I think many of my ex-boyfriends tend to think of me just as I think of them: as someone who helped me in my lifelong path to become a better person. Then again, I'm sure some of them breathe a sigh of relief, thinking they dodged a bullet when we broke up. Some would probably rather never think of me again. And there are those who still find my cheesy attitude endearing and funny. (thank you!)
Relationships - whether we choose to continue investing in them - tend to be a little more complicated than we like them to be.
Personally, I am grateful for exes. They have all taught me a little something about myself. They taught me how to love. They introduced me to different hobbies or music interests. They taught me how to deal with men. They taught me the art of compromise. And disappointment.
Even those painful breakups that left me crying for days (ahem, weeks/months) taught me about the depths of my soul and the never-ending hope that dwelled in my little heart.
I tend to think the same of my husband's exes. When we got married, part of me wanted to write a little 'thank you' note to each of his exes, thanking them for teaching him so much, for taking the time to share a little bit of their souls with him, and... mostly... for not marrying him. I even thought I could send a handful of "thank you's" to one girl -- one note for each year they'd been together. Imagine all the lessons they each learned in all that time!
Thus are the lessons of dating. I tried to remember that each man I went out on a date with could someday be someone's husband. I wanted to treat that man with respect, in hopes that he would treat all women (including any of his future "someones") with the love and respect we all long for. I believe we're all here to help each other, so being nice to the people we date just makes good sense.
Being nice to our exes... that's a little more tricky sometimes, isn't it? Sometimes we feel burdened by that memorable broken heart. Sometimes we need a clean break. Sometimes we feel we need to sacrifice those relationships for the sake of our new ones. And certain past relationships seem to carry more weight than others. Some people have to keep their exes in their lives and figure out how to deal, especially if children are involved. A lot of variables go into the decisions about these relationships.
Do you remain friends with your exes? What has gone into your decisions?