Life is hard. It seems like every new day brings a new question that, try as you might, you’re just unable to find an answer for. The Smoking Jacket understands this, and we’re here to help.
Each week, media sensation Tracy Pendergast and TSJ’s managing editor, Adam Tod Brown, set aside some time in their busy schedules to answer your questions in a feature we’ve cleverly named “Ask TSJ.”
This week’s question comes from Gary, a reader in British Columbia…
I’m struggling to understand how my girlfriend can maintain a friendship with her ex. It’s something I don’t believe in and have never experienced. Is it okay to be friends with an ex? Why?
Tracy Pendergast: I definitely don’t have the authority to say that it’s never ok, but it’s certainly never easy. The first question I would want to ask you is, how long have you been with your girlfriend? You can’t start dating someone and immediately ask them to stop hanging out with their friends, especially not women because we hate to feel controlled. But if you’re in a long term relationship or engaged I think you have every right to put your foot down.
There are a couple of things that suck about exes. First of all they’ve seen the person you love naked. Butt in the air, feet hanging off the bed, hair tousled everywhere-NAKED. That is not an easy fact to cope with. The other thing is, usually a break up is the decision of one person. So either way you look at it, its possible one of them still has some unresolved feelings.
I have been in this situation before and wanted to be the “cool girlfriend.” The girlfriend who was totally unaffected by anything “normal chicks” would get jealous about. That didn’t work out very well. Pretending you don’t care about something that is really bothering you will get you nowhere! You need to be honest with your girlfriend and let her know how it makes you feel. There is no girl in her right mind that would put energy into a relationship that has already failed, instead of one she’s trying to build. You’re not asking her to never talk to the guy again (because that would be stupid), you’re simply asking for a little emotional distance. You’re asking her to understand why you would feel extremely uncomfortable with them hanging out alone on a regular basis or constantly sending texts. If she doesn’t get it, she’s a moron.
You are obviously a strong, smart and handsome man (because you read Ask TSJ), go fight for what you believe in!!!
Adam Tod Brown: I guess it all depends on how long all of these relationships have been going on. Did you just start dating? If so, she can do whatever she wants, shut your mouth and hope for the best. If you’ve been together for a substantial amount of time and she just up and starts hanging out with the ex out of the blue, that’s a problem.
I mean, it might not be an “actual” problem, as in a problem that involves another dude boning your girlfriend, but it’s still a problem because it could lead to that very scenario. Not that I don’t trust your girlfriend, I’m sure she’s no whore. But when people have dated before and then they’re hanging out again and maybe having a drink and next thing you know your lady is getting it on in the bathroom at TGIFridays.
You know how you can avoid predicaments like that? Don’t hang out with your ex if you’re in a relationship. As it is for her, so should it be for you.
But that’s real live in person hanging out. If we’re just talking casual Facebook friends or something, it’s nothing to get worked up about, especially if everything is pretty much out in the open. Do they occasionally comment on each other’s posts or something? If so, who cares? They’re probably talking about some boring bullshit anyway. On the other hand, does she huddle over Facebook Chat whenever you’re a safe distance away and then hurl her laptop across the room if you get within viewing distance of the screen? That could be a problem.
Just trust your gut. If you sense there’s a problem, look into it further. If you get the sense that you’re maybe blowing things out of proportion, you probably are. Take solace in the fact that you can, like, immediately go sleep with the woman in question after mulling this all over. She’s your girlfriend, after all. That has to count for something, right?
Tracy Pendergast is a writer, model, singer, television personality and professional magician’s assistant. We might be lying about one of those facts. Check out her official website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter to find out which one.
Got a question for Adam and Tracy? Click here and fire away. If we use it…your life will immediately improve for the better.