I had just clicked on "full purchase" when I realized that the park was only a few miles from where my dear old friend lived. She was going through a divorce, one of the hardest times in her life, so I thought surprising her if she was surprised with tickets to the park would cheer her up and her kids. When I told her about the gesture, she gushed with gratitude and expressed how wonderful it would be to see each other. We have been friends for almost 20 years but have not seen each other in almost seven years.
My own wife was excited when I told her that I had bought tickets to surprise our son with a day at a theme park. However, her face collapsed when I told her that I had invited my girlfriend and her children as well.
This friend and I slept together, but have been strictly platonic for years. My wife knew that and she was not thrilled that we all spent the day together.
"I do not want to share our family day with someone you had sex with," she said.
She had a point.
A few days later another friend asked if we wanted to make an appointment for our children. We had just moved and they were neighbors now. We did not have new friends in our area yet. It was a nice invitation and a nice view.
My wife said, okay, but I could tell she was uncomfortable.
Yes, I also slept with this friend.
Then my friend canceled at the last minute with little explanation.
"Maybe your girlfriend's wife has the same feeling as me," my wife said. "Maybe she does not feel well with her partner's ex."
"But we were never together," I protested. "We were 99 percent friends and one percent still something. It is our friendship that lasts. "
I did not see anything wrong when I was with friends I had slept with, but my wife did. And we are not the only couples arguing about it. A study published in the Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research in 2016 asked students how their communication with former romantic partners affects their current relationships. Of the 40 percent who were in contact with an ex, they remained in contact when the relationship ended on good terms or when the ex was part of their larger social group. There was a correlation between the frequency of contact with an ex and the satisfaction with the current relationship (as more contact with the ex-things at home was not good); However, infrequent contact did not indicate that they were dissatisfied with their current partner and did not harm their current relationship.
"There are no rules, but there are guidelines," says Jean Fitzpatrick, a psychotherapist focused on couples. "It's important to be transparent with your current partner. Partners are in different places, so you have a conversation and patience and be prepared to respond to concerns, "she added.
Fitzpatrick pointed out that exes should be considered "family friends" rather than "private friends" and avoid secret texting or social media messages. It also recommends looking at your own intentions well and accurately. If you are not satisfied with your current relationship, are longing for something, or compare your ex with your current partner, then you need to make a mental effort. In such cases, contact with an ex can be a "smooth climb for the best," says Fitzpatrick.
Another Oakland University study in Rochester, Michigan, found that contact with an ex is linked to "dark personality traits", including narcissism, duplicity, and even psychopathy, and those who make contact tend to do so out of "practical" personality traits and sexual "reasons.
I slept nearby and kept the people as friends. But I do not think I'm a narcissism or a psychopath. It usually happened this way: I would meet someone in a bar or at an event; we sleep together then we know that we had more in common as friends than as lovers. We would make a friendship, the story of the bedroom became only part of our friendship. I was not friends with exes who broke my heart or where the feelings are still there.
"It's healthy and sacred to stay in contact with people you're mentally prone to," says Damon L. Jacobs, a therapist in New York. Even if the relationship does not work, says Jacobs, there may be good qualities in your ex that you want to keep in touch with, and this can be "nourish and heal."
In particular for the LGBT community, it may be a social necessity to stay in touch with an ex. "We are already a minority, and if we deal with exes, we could cut off many people," Jacobs said.
In fact, I considered the physical and sexual aspect of my close relationships as encounters that brought us closer and strengthened my social network. I had friends I had slept with when we were both single, and we started a platonic friendship and were doubly married when we were both huddled together. We were the best shoulders and advisers for the other's romantic life because we knew each other so well, dressed and not. Some may view this as dysfunctional or as a contradiction to the label "friend" – but it worked great for us and did not hurt anyone.
My wife is mine, true love. I have been faithful to her for almost a decade. I would never deliberately do anything to hurt her, and I would go to the ends of the earth to protect her and our love.
She can not understand that part of me. That I am a woman who can separate sex from emotions. Having sex as an activity can be accompanied by emotional investments, like going to the cinema, playing softball, or enjoying a beer on happy hour. That I want to get in touch with some of the people I've slept with because I'm interested in them as human beings.
I can respect my wife's concerns, and I imagine most people think like them. Women in particular tend to associate sex with emotions, and many do not stick to exes.
The older I get, the more I realize that it does not necessarily make for stronger bonds when I spend time rolling around naked with friends. It is clear to me that I have to make new friendships based on mutual affection for microbreweries, comic-of-age novels or pots and pans.
Nevertheless, beautiful platonic friendships sometimes emerge from these confused sexual friendships. In addition to therapy for couples, Jacobs, who is gay, became friends with his ex at the age of seven after they split up and ended his last marriage with another man.
"He finally got me to marry him after all these years," Jacobs said.
How I survived my wedding
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