When a relationship ends things tend to be a little awkward. If you do the breaking up then the other party inevitably hates you for a period of time, even if they still love you. That seemed like a juxtaposition, but I’m sure many people have experienced this very weird emotional position – an example that I experience all the time is my folks, they annoy the hell out of me sometimes with their old-timey views and lack of understanding of things happening around them, but of course I still love them. When I’m broken up with, or even when I break up with someone, I feel something similar to this. I just can’t really go back to the person after I cool down and say sorry, I love you. But can you, after a cool-down period, go back and give them a a different kind of love? Can exes be friends?
Usually I’d say no. I’m fantastically good friends with some girls I dated way back when in primary school, because I have since come out, and anything in primary school can’t actually count when you’re in your twenties, right? Right. There are, however, no guys from my past that I’m actually properly friends with. I’ll see some of them out now and again, or send or receive a text from one if we need to discuss something specific. But friends? No, I still refer to them as ‘my ex’, not ‘my friend’.
This past weekend I had yet another birthday party with a theme – ‘Squares and Drapes’. If you don’t know what that theme entails, it’s from some Johnny Depp movie made in 1990. Anyway, I didn’t know what to wear and one of the very few people I knew was going to be there, was an ex. I sent him a text the morning of asking what I should wear, what I really wanted to gauge was if it was going to be an awkward evening or not. Turns out we’re fine now, almost two years after we broke up. I’m sure it helped that he’s been in a year-long relationship with someone new, even if it’s long distance. He seemed happy and we got along just fine.
The only hiccup was when I had to explain why I did not go to his birthday party a few months ago, even though quite a few of my friends ended up going. I said it was because I felt like I was the obligatory invite, the guy you invite because you feel like it’s the right thing to do – it’s the absolute worst when they actually end up coming. This explanation was mostly true. I also just didn’t feel like a room full of attractive gay guys when I’ve really been letting myself go for the last six months or so.
So that went well – we’re still not going to be in the business of inviting each other out to coffee or clubbing though. Still just ‘my ex’.
Now, some people may or may not remember Ben from at least two of my other recent posts. We vibed for like a month, that’s no time at all. I developed a semblance of feelings very quickly though, possibly just because I hadn’t had any for anyone in quite some time. Well whatever the reason for my ridiculous affections, they were there. Now it’s his birthday this coming weekend and lo and behold, he’s having a party. It’s Halloween themed – apt. Not only because it’s Halloween on Saturday (also JHB gay pride that day by the way), but because I’m terrified of going. I’ve been checking the Facebook event and many of my friends are going. So is Gaysian, from my extended play post.
The reason I’m terrified, is because we were never friends and we were never together, but we kind of broke up. We haven’t texted in weeks and it’s awkward when we run into each other, unlike the ex that I saw last week. I don’t want to go and be awkward and I don’t want to not go because then it’s obvious that I’m not going because I dread seeing him. Is it obvious?
Anyway, he invited 150 people. He’s personally told me that he dislikes some of the people on his guest-list. Am I one of those people for real this time? The one that you feel you have to invite to be polite, but secretly you really hope they don’t come.
What’s the right move here? Do I go because my friends are going, do I go because I want to show him that I’m over it, or do I not go and risk being the guy that can’t be friends with a whole group of people because of one failed relationship attempt with a member of said group?
Did I burn a bridge here? Or if I haven’t burnt one, am I risking doing just that?