Love with a Modern Day Twist
by Vanessa Palencia
Millennials are some of the strangest people I have ever met. We romanticize the idea of a broken relationship and enter into them before we are even ready. As a result, breakups occur more often than real relationships even start. Maybe this is why we are such a depressing generation to others and to ourselves. Maybe we’ve lost the idea of what love really means in the process of demanding change, while not realizing that change isn’t always for the best.
However, what’s more disturbing is the idea that once a relationship ends, a friendship can continue. While it’s understandable why people would want to continue being friends —it’s the civil thing to do— it’s usually not the healthiest. According to a few relationship experts on cupidspulse.com, “the reason the relationship ended supports the need to cut ties and walk away.” In other words, it’s best to first focus on yourself and make things right with yourself instead of having your ex hang around and make things confusion and/or complicated. There’s a reason you two split, so there needs to be a certain amount of time to allow the flames to die out before you can make the reconnection as friends. That’s if you two still want that. But as writer for Vogue, Karley Sciortino puts it, “when exes stay friends, there’s usually another dynamic at play,” such as one of you secretly wanting to get back together, pitying the other partner, liking the attention from the other partner, or simply because you want to rub your new romance in the other’s face. All things that are just not part of the whole moving-on process. In a separate study, it was found that 88% of people who broke up with their ex still creeped up on their Facebook page. With those numbers and the advice given, is it safe to assume that a friendship with your ex is healthy? I don’t think so.
I have known of countless situations where my girlfriends despised having their boyfriends hanging around out their ex-girlfriends, let alone let them breathe in the same room as them. However, it seems as if current and future generations are trying to make dating all the more difficult by saying that it’s okay to be friends with their ex. The peer pressure to be cool about it adds on to the stress of already having to maintain that relationship. (Relationships are full-time jobs, okay?!) But maybe the reason why this idea that it’s okay to be friends with your ex came around was because someone wanted to justify their actions. “No, babe, I’m not dating my ex. We’re just friends. Are you saying I can’t have friends who are girls?” “No...that’s not what I’m saying...” And so the practice began.
There’s a reason why being friends with an ex was once considered a big no-no. Maintaining a friendship with an ex gives the couple a chance to refuel their flame or dwell on the past. When you’re friends with someone, you are allowed to hang out with them, go to the movies, text each other randomly throughout the day, and make that connection as friends would. However, if you once shared romantic feelings with that person, a friendship can allow you (or the other person) to redevelop those feelings and cause a flaw in the newfound friendship. This doesn’t allow the heartbroken person(s) to move on and find someone else or focus on their current partner.
In addition, creating and maintaining a newfound friendship with an ex while in a relationship with someone else can cause discomfort for your new partner. Because you once had romantic feelings for your ex, your partner immediately places the ex as possible competition. Who’s to say that you won’t fall for your ex again? No one. Not even you. If we cannot predict when we will fall in love, how are we to predict when (and if) we fall in love again with the same person? The possibility, no matter how slight, is still there. It doesn’t matter how big or small a stone is when you have gallstones, it still causes immense pain. The same principle can be applied here. I realize that millennials are trying to break tradition, but I think that there are some traditions that must stay in place for good reasons. Leaving an ex in the past is one of them.