Although it would make things much easier in the dating world, relationships rarely see mutual breakups and heartbreak warfare is usually in order. More often than hearts, egos are hurt. With the sole intention of preserving your self-esteem, you try your best to come off looking as the mature one. So many things we say during a breakup that we never really mean.
I am referring to those incessant swears and accusations somewhere in the middle. But what I am ALSO referring to is the seemingly mature agreement upon remaining friends that somehow seems to be a good idea when the heat has boiled down near the end of the argument, along with our energy.
The post breakup friendship dynamic barely ever favours both equally. It allows one to feel that his/her former lover will still be in his/her life. Now they can move on with their lives with ease and with the pleasure of having coffee with their former mates, ever so often. On the flipside, however, there's the case of being constantly reminded of the person who ripped out your heart every time you receive a friendly SMS or e-mail.
There are always other opinions. Your ex probably knows you better than most people in this world, so it's probably safe to stay in his/her good books. We're talking about the person whom you used to trust above most people, at a point. Though it's rare, some relationships can end amicably enough for you to not have to scan the entire guest-list before you head to a social gathering, just to make sure your ex isn't going to be present.
Some folks keep their exes around because it's comfortable. You think you can pull a new best friend out of the ashes of a failed relationship like a bunny out of a magician's hat. It doesn't consciously occur to you that there really isn't much you can share with your ex:
You can't discuss your new relationship with them: No matter how amicably it ended or how long ago, discussing your current relationship with your ex equals the awkwardness of a turtle in a biker jacket. There's possible jealousy coming from the other side, matched with the awkward knowledge that it's their former designation you're discussing. Also, complaining about your present to your ex should be considered a federal offence. And let's face it, you're going to be complaining about 60 percent of the time.
You won't want to admit your failures to them: When a relationship ends, you automatically enter this reality show in your head called "who's winning the breakup?". Yes, admit it: you are always subconsciously going to be afraid of looking like you're losing out on not having them in your life. It's pathetic but it's just normal. So, that friend that you can go to when you're going through a bad time? Not your ex.
There's bound to be some bitterness underneath that friendly smile: Now this isn't true in all cases, but chances are that a bad breakup leaves behind some bitterness that you can't really put your finger on. All I can say is that you're going to be uncomfortable. ALL the time.
So far, I believe I have more than stressed on the fact that being friends with your exes is a messy business. Of course, there are the rare exceptions, usually stemming from boring relationships that never had much spark to begin with. Having stated and overstated so, I am going to ask/beg/implore all of you to not badmouth your exes. It's low, petty, and honestly says more about you than it does about them. Being too chummy is uncomfortable and unnecessary; however, it is important to learn to coexist. Learn not to scoff at the mention of someone that used to make your heart leap at a point. Given the flakiness that defines youth, it's almost our second nature to feign alliance with someone we don't particularly like. This is where such a trait would come into good use. If you have nothing nice to say about your ex, don't say anything. Faking a smile is probably one of the easiest things for us social beings. Test out this ability by smiling or at least holding back a frown when you bump into them.
Looking up the ex that I considered being close friends with, I realised I haven't spoken to him in two weeks. Our last conversation went with me deducing: "You're not fun to talk to any more." He responded with a story about some awkward experience with Batman and a reminder of how I had threatened to slap him with a fish. "You are sort of fun to talk to, I'll admit," I replied. I realised this was, probably, my platonic ideal for ex relationships: a little amusement, some catching up, and a small reminder that, yes, my personal history did happen. But then it ended and we both moved on.