I have a confession. I am not friends with any of my exes. Not one. Not even Kidlet’s *male genetic donor.
Some of you may not think this strange or odd. After all the paradigm many of us are familiar with is once you break up with someone, that’s the end of the relationship. Unless children or getting that last box of stuff they left behind are involved, all communications cease. I didn’t know I was a bit of an anomaly in my local poly community until more recently as I have become more actively involved. Granted not everyone is on friendly terms with all their exes, but most people I’ve talked to are with at least one of their former partners. Not me. Not one.
I know it’s not unheard of to remain friends/friendly with one’s ex(es). One of my closest friends has maintained a friendship with her ex-boyfriend. This is totally possible, so why haven’t I? I’ve looked at all my past partners and soon realized why I haven’t maintained friendships with any of them. I kept finding people who weren’t good for/to me. Some were verbally abusive. Others failed to communicate with me while we were together. One former partner and I did part as friends, but other circumstances (which I won’t get into details here) after our breakup revealed him to be untrustworthy even as a friend. I termed this phenomenon as “having a broken **picker”.
As far as platonic relationships go, I’ve done a pretty good job of picking people with whom I mesh well and for long term. Add romance and sex to the mix? Let’s just say I was bad at it for awhile. I learned many lessons, painful at times, that helped me get better. Ultimately, that led me to Hubby and Boyfling. (Winner of Relationship Jackpot times two? Yes, lightening does strike twice in one place!)
When the triad dissolved shortly after I met my husband, I left a window of opportunity open for friendship with ex-boyfriend. While I was relieved that our girlfriend broke off with me, I didn’t want to stop seeing him. Our separation was unclear and unresolved for several months until we reconnected, though our friendship was tenuous at best. Finally a couple of months before my wedding, my ex just stopped communicating with me. In the two years since I have reached out from time to time without much response or any at all. I realized it was time to let him go, and I only finally accepted this back in September.
Being the pagan I am, I chose to do a ritual to banish my ex from my life and reclaim the piece of my soul that I gave him. Afterwards, my loving and supportive husband talked with me about the ritual and why I chose to perform it. Something clicked in his head (I watched it slide into place), and he stated, “He was your Peter.” I felt my breath leave my body and tears welled up in my eyes. This is why I married this man. He completely gets me.
I’ve always been drawn to JM Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan. I identified strongly with his heroine, Wendy Moira Angela Darling. My ex-boyfriend had a boyish charm about him. He’s seven years younger than me, and he reminded me of how to be carefree for a time. Yes, he was my Peter. I enjoyed the grand adventures he took me on, but he stopped coming back. Holding onto the hope that he might hurt more than the thought of letting him go. The time had come to close the window. I completed my ritual a few weeks later over the Bridge of the Gods in the Columbia River Gorge as I drove across. I parked on the other side and sobbed out my grief before driving home still sad, but feeling lighter and at peace.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be friends with any of my exes. The ones I had wanted to remain in my life have chosen not to do so, and I prefer to keep the toxic ones away. I’m happy with and grateful for my current partners. My plan is to keep it that way for as long as we all desire to share our lives with each other. If we ever do go our separate ways, I hope I won’t have to close their windows.
*–This term represents about how involved this particular ex is as a parent.
**–Also known as the Relationship Compass.