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Rules for hanging out with your ex

1 Feb

It turns out, spending a day with your ex should not be something that is done without careful thought and planning. Frankly, I wish I had realized this prior to last weekend so I could have avoided a semi-disastrous Saturday with Mr. Cute but Whiny. But, alas, I did not. Now I can only reflect on my mistakes and learn for next time. (AND, of course share these learnings with you, beloved reader.)

You may be asking why one would want to hang out with their ex in any situation. Good question. Well, for me, it isn’t about “not being over it” or hope for the future, it’s because I truly hate the idea of cutting someone out of my life. After Mr. Not Quite Right blocked me on Facebook, he made it more than clear that he didn’t have the slightest desire to ever speak to me again. Truthfully, that sucked a lot and I have spent months trying to figure out what I did wrong that would make him hate me so much. So, when Mr. Cute but Whiny said that he wanted to come to the golf tournament with me, I thought, sure, what the hell. At least he doesn’t hate me.

Looking back on the weekend I can tell you that the number one thing I learned is that hanging out with your ex is a stellar idea — in theory. But in real life, it is a delicate situation. If you want to avoid emo talks, confusing heartache, and general awkwardness, pay close attention to what I have compiled as my official rules for hanging out with your ex.

The Ex Rules:

1. Avoid discussion of your past as a couple – Let’s be real, you’ve talked about it all before and discussing it now is not likely to change anything. Rehashing your romance just brings up old pain and makes it impossible to just have lighthearted fun.

2. Do not discuss your future – Sure, when you are having a great time with someone it is easy to forget all the reasons you broke up and instead you may find yourself focusing on how awesome the two of you are together. It is tempting to talk about a magical day in the future where your relationship may actually work out, but don’t. This conversation makes it hard to focus on the present. You know, the reality in which the two of you just don’t work and therefore should be keeping things platonic.

3. Absolutely do not allow there to be kissing or any activity that falls into “boyfriend/girlfriend” category – Clearly you were attracted to this person at one point and maybe being single means you’ve been deprived of any, um, physical benefits, but this is extremely dangerous ex behavior. Once you go down this path it is all too easy to see yourself slipping into that girlfriend role again.

4. Don’t get wasted – Why this one wasn’t obvious to me, I am not sure. Being drunk makes everything fuzzy, especially your convictions. Sober You may be positive that Mr. Ex isn’t for you, but Drunk You probably doesn’t remember why.

5. Talk to your ex about the rules – Without getting into some long talk about your past or future, communicate the nature of your hang out sesh with the ex. This is probably best done prior to the day, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you are not on the same page, don’t hang out.

6. Make sure others are clear on the nature of your relationship – I was having a REAL challenging time flirting with the cute guy at the golf tournament with Mr. Cute but Whiny by my side. It wasn’t until the ex went to get a drink that I was able to clarify the situation and give the little golf darling my phone number. (Side note, I have yet to receive a call from this young man. Just texts and a couple of tweets. Major sigh.).

7. Don’t have any expectations – This means everything from not expecting him to profess his undying love, to not expecting him to pay for you or notice you lost ten pounds. Expectations are bad because when just one isn’t met, everything else starts to seem sucky. Expect nothing and you may be pleasantly surprised.

8. If you eff it up, don’t dwell on it – So after I failed to do ANY of the above, I spent the following 48 hours feeling like a real dumb ass. How could I have fucked it up so badly? I’ve never questioned my decision to break up with him so I couldn’t figure out why my emotions were on a freaking roller-coaster all weekend. But tonight I realized I can continue to dwell on it and be mad at myself for not being smarter/stronger, or I can learn from it. If nothing else, at least next time I’ll be a hell of a lot more prepared.

So kids, these are my top 8 rules for hanging with your ex. What am I missing? Any other good rules that I should add? Please, I beg of you, tell me now so I can avoid future disasters.

21 Responses to “Rules for hanging out with your ex”

  1. Charlotte February 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Ahhh yes, I’ve been down this road before. I think that in the end, no good can personally come from hanging out with the ex. Chances are, one partner will feel more than the other and either feelings are hurt or old feelings resurface or you realize you don’t know what in the hell you were thinking.

    The breakup should signify that something has been broken and is better left in the past.

    • Cali Bradshaw February 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

      SO true. I like the part about the break-up signifying that something is broken. I am going to remember that one.


  2. Andrew October 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Awesome post. I’ve spent a lot of time with my ex and wish I’d followed most of these – for her sake..

  3. t muny December 19, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Its sooo tough being friends with an ex. Eventougher because my ex says I’m his best friend and no one “gets” him like I do. We both know there’s this crazy connection between us. I still want to date him even though he’s 20 and needs other experiences and to be with people who wont treat him like I do.

    We run a business together, he wants to move into my house when he graduates…. and everything just WORKS between us.

    Its difficult because I’ve never loved someone in this way before and while I want tobewoth him, I don’t wantto date him until our priorities in relationships are matched.

    We’ve both expressed how important we are to each other and neither of us will discount the idea of dating again at some point. Its just not now which makes it hard for me.

    The only rule we have is that we will not discuss personal relationships with each other. Its the ONLY thing that gets us upset at one another.

  4. kigeca January 29, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    I recently hung out with an ex and was fairly good at following these rules. Nonetheless, I was disappointed. I was disappointed in the fact that I COULD follow these rules, meaning I could easily be just friends with him. My disappointment made me realize how unfair it would be for us to be friends–I wouldn’t be being true to him nor to myself.

  5. Frackiew March 6, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Excellent post, and I’ve been down that road before. To my surprise I actually followed all these rules without even noticing! I think a big factor that will dictate whether or not a friendship will work, is how you broke up and why. In my case,we both knew it wasnt working but we still liked spending time together, so it only seemed natural to stay friends and hangout….just no expectations! That’s a HUGE one!

  6. cokita March 29, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    today i hang out with my ex he broke up with me over text messages on the phone n he was really mean while i was trying to be sorry for whatever i did wrong, but i didn’t do anything wrong. today i got to go over his place he said he just need some time just a break to put his life together, when i got there the first thing we did was hug for like 10 minutes then kiss each other n went to his bed so i stop that n try to talk to him to know what is goin on he said he never felt so happy before in his life till he meet me but he could not handle so much happiness cuz he never used to it ??, n that he just realize his personal life is falling apart, he is 19 im 20 none of us have a car or a job… i freaking love him n he said he does too but he just want to be my friend,,, :( n yes we did sex after that now he wants me to go over tomorrow again idk what to do :(

  7. chey October 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    I am hanging out with an ex on Friday. I haven’t seen him in almost a year and we separated about two years ago. I’m going to do my best to follow these. Reading them made me remember why we broke up in the first place!

  8. Koda December 6, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    I broke up with my ex about 6 weeks ago and i miss him terribly. we’ve been shooting each other text messages, and agreed to hangout this weekend. i’m going to do my best to have no expectations, i’m scared all of the old feelings will come right back to me once i look into his eyes lol. but we have soooo much in common, it feels weird without him in my life. i would like to try and have him as a friend. wish me luck!!!

  9. Jess December 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    I’ve split up with my ex on Christmas day so that’s 6 days ago. He said he wants to come round and talk. He said he needed space to get his head together so I’ve text him infrequently a lot less than I used to since then. I spoke to him today on the phone, and he’s said he has messed me around and he’s sorry. Until today I really thought there could be the chance to get back together. I laid down the law to him and told him straight that I never look back so if this was it, then I won’t take him back if he chooses not to be with me. He’s recently had a family death who he was very close to, and he is hurting and is upset. This is part of the reason why I think we separated. When we split up he said he didn’t know how he felt and needed time to think. I guess I need some advice on what I should do now? Do I give him more space or should I take this as we are definitely over? His grandads funeral was only 4 days ago.

  10. Ralin January 11, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    I’m actually planning on going to the movies with my ex, brother, and one of my good friends. Is it weird that I still like him. Today something happened that made me realize why I liked him so much, you know be around him. I don’t expect love professions tomorrow but I just want to spend time with him, he is so fun, and when we said that we would be friends, we actually meant it. Wish me good luck!!!!!

  11. Indie January 15, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Wonderful post! I have been hanging out with my ex on and off for years and the thing with that is you inevitably fall back into old habits and we always end up getting back together!! We obviously have a great connection and thats why we keep going back to each other… only to separate again when reality sets in. My advice is DONT DO IT if you can. Be strong and make the cut as soon as possible. This is the only way to truly move on. We are currently split and I am hoping that this is the time we stay this way!! No hangouts yet and it has been 4 weeks. Good luck to you all. We are all fighting the same fight!!

  12. Ctgal January 17, 2013 at 12:57 am #

    I’m not sure how any of you could even
    Be friends with someone u slept with
    I told my ex (he broke up with me) that I cannot
    Be friends with him and I ended it
    Once and for all. I don’t dwell on things so I moved
    On and ignored his text. Then he calls saying
    He wants to “talk” and he knows I don’t want to
    Be friends with him. Not sure what he wants
    But he did buy an apt next door to mine
    I just will not be friends with him!!!

  13. heather March 19, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    I am presently going through the exact same thing. and i have learnes to not hang out with him at all. do not contact him. ignore him. live your life. exes are exes for a reason. My ex from almost three years started contacting me everyday even when i told him to go away. he just wants to stay friends but tells me I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him and all the things i use to do for him how he misses me. the whole while he s shopping around for girls on pof. ya its all a sceem and a game to them. my advice .. destroy him. break HIS heart. take him for everything he has. break his heart and leave it in a million peices . get close enough to ruin him. believe me ud wish u had if u continue down this path cause its exactly what he s gunna do to u hun.

  14. joe May 8, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Yea that is happening to me right now…me and my ex didn’t talk for 3 months and then she called saying she wanted to work on things….We started talking and we ended up getting into an arguement about some dumb stuff…she’s very fickle and hates being wrong but when I found out things I was upset…Not one to keep my mouth shut when someone makes me feel bad. Well anyways after a month we started getting along really good and I asked her if it was possible we could work on things again seeing that’s what she wanted in the first place. Well she just flat out says NO. She is content on being friends and says she doenst wanna try again…well I’m trying to be friends with her even seeing me and her dad work together and we are friends…I was going to give up all together with the friends stuff with her but I can’t help finding myself going back all the time and trying to be friends ….I just never knew why she even bothered to contact me if she was just gong to say forget it and just be friends…Honestly I thought that was some reall bullshit to be honest with u when.she could of just said she wanted to be friends….So I guess ill have to see where it goes. I font know how much longer we can stay civil but I’m not one to give up on anything that easily especially after 1-1/2 years of talking ….well I just dont know what to do anymore so I guess I’m just gonna have to see….might not work like I want it too but she’s actually the only girl ive dated that I still talk to….I guess I’m confused and don’t know what steps to take …..someone help lol

  15. Rain May 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I had this happen to me… I feel awful,
    There’s this attraction and friendship between me and my ex,
    everytime we’re alone I can’t help myself, and hes my closest friend
    And it sounds so stupid but I still love him, but I broke up with him for a reason
    He wasn’t a good listener and it reminded me of my dad which I have a terrible and wrecked relationship with…but none the less he realizes all the things he did in our relationship and how he could’ve fixed things, he said that’s one thing that he really regrets, I don’t really know what to do, I really want to be friends, he’s such a great person, and I don’t exactly want to be in a relationship right now+ he still hasn’t changed too too much and is still not a fantastic listener … Does everything else we have make up for that? I wish it did:( I’m seeing him later today hopefully il have a wonderful idea by then. I need help lol

  16. samantha June 9, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    Well me & my ex were together for 5 months and had split up just under a year ago due to him being unfaithful one time. I wasnt hurt, but i was angry. I had punched him a few times when he told me, but i quickly got over this. A few months after the split we got back in contact because we were lonely and had sex. But it was more pity sex tbh so i btoke it off. Recently we have started talking again and met up the other day. We talked and had a laugh, but then it became quite passionate and led to us having sex in a field :/ im trying to figure out if just sex is a good or bad idea and since we are in a lot of classes at school theres no avoidinghim. What should i do ?

    • Robbie April 21, 2014 at 5:49 pm #

      I know this story too well… I was with my ex for six years, when we broke up, because I had started to take her for granted, and stopped showing her the love. We used to be so passionate… We’ve been broken up for almost two years now, and I really regret it. The problem is, we never stopped hanging out. I’ve been here through all the boyfriends, being Bffffs, “Best fucking friends for fucking ever.” Haha, but I’m still insanely in love with her.. And the problem is, to the outside world, we’re just really close friends, and we basically friendzoned each other, that’s not exactly the case. we’re both insanely jealous over, and need each other. We can’t go one day without each other. And she’s cheated on every boyfriend she’s had with me.
      I USED to have morals, but I’ve just let all those morals go, we both do, she’s the one person that makes me that weak. So while I’m just that desperate ex boyfriend/ bitchboy to the outside world, we basically have our own relationship going on, while her and her legit boyfriends fall apart, because they’re not even intimate. She knows I want to be with her, but in my head, I might be wrong, the problem is that she’s been working in the deli at hannaford, for almost two years, she’s getting a promotion to shift leader, she’s gonna be cross training in bakery, and I’ve been working at this little small chain/smalltown grocery store making min. wage, for the past year, LOST that job, was jobless for a while, and finally got a better paying job at hannaford, for maintenance. And even still, I’m making a good amount less than her, getting far less hours.. I think the whole thing why she has a hard time with the thought of being with me has to do with the fact that, the man is supposed to be the bread winner, make more money. Or again, maybe I just shouldn’t be hanging out with my ex girlfriend… I’m in quite the predicamint. I try to be strong, and say NO. We can’t hang out anymore, we can’t have sex while you’re with someone else, but I think what my life is without her, and it scares me.. I’m nothing without her.. I’ve pushed so much out of my life, including countless friends, so I could be with her, I made her my world, and without her, I have nothing. MORAL OF THE STORY; Sex with an ex… Bad idea

  17. Cate August 1, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    I have tried hanging out with an ex in the past. I found it too complicated. The whole time at lunch I was wondering what he was thinking, if he’d changed his mind about the break up, whether or not he’d want to hang again. And don’t even start me on the “what to wear process”. Unless a fair whack of time has passed, you really only want to be their friend and nothing more could you do it. I secretly did it in the hopes of getting clarity and maybe he’d see me and want to get back together. Now I just leave that shit in the past and move on

  18. joan October 8, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    Just want to say i read all the rules. But before o had re hone out with my ex bf and it lasted another 5 months. Then it was over again. Each time hes brolen up with me because he didnt know what he wanted. But today i read your rules before seeing my same ex again. I sont expect nothing from him, i dont expect texts from him, and he can no longer break my heart again if he wants to. Anyways. I say him today and everything went well, really. As much as i know he wanted to have sex we didnt. It was just good to hang as just friends nothing more.

  19. Ellen October 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm #

    I’ve dated a guy for a month but he broke it off after five dates.I followed the no contact rule for a,month then I sent a mixed signal. He replied and asked for meet up because he wanted to give back to me my stuff which I left from his flat. During our first meeting after the no contact I know in myself I still got feelings for him but I remained calm and relax, I did say sorry to him of acting like desperate and needy but he told me no need to ask an apology ( because we had a break up sex, our first intimate but no sex happened during several weeks of dating) which I know wrong. Today, we met but we acted like we’re couple as he feed me with the foods and I did too to him. We don’t feel any awkwardness and we laughEd a lit. It’s not a long meeting but I felt that I really enjoyed his company. Now I’m thinking that I still want to remain us friends without any expectation because in myself I know that he’s not the right guy for me. Just wanted to using out with him and enjoy the day like with an ordinary friend. Do you think guys is it ok to remain friends with him? Any comments or reply to this will be appreciated. :-)

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