When Jack and I first got together, I was, as they say, lousy with exes. They were everywhere. We were in Los Angeles at the time, and I’d pretty much dated everyone east of Malibu. To make matters weirder, I was on good terms with most of them -- and we all strangely lived within a two-mile radius of each other. So Jack had to deal with bumping into my former flames on a regular basis. Plus, I hadn’t yet learned to stop doing things like pointing to the cover of a video box while browsing with Jack for a rental and blurting, “I used to go out with that guy.”
It was really obnoxious.
For his part, Jack brought exactly zero exes to the picture. His last relationship had been super-long-term, and let’s just say it didn’t end cute. She wasn’t exactly calling to invite him out to coffee. So 100 percent of the ex traffic was mine. Jack was really uncomfortable with it at first, but became less so as time went on and our relationship got more serious. I avoided things like late night phone calls with exes -- it felt too datey…too boyfriendy.
Little things like that helped Jack get good with it. I kept my side of the street squeaky clean. Over the course of a few years, I married off my most recent serious exes to good girlfriends of mine (in one wedding I was even the maid of honor), so the men switched categories. They went from being my exes to my friends’ husbands. Voila. Solved, right? Except that neither wedding stuck. They were both divorced before Jack and I even got engaged. But by then, I wasn’t either guy’s shoulder to cry on -- instead, I took lots of late night phone calls from their wives.
These days, Jack rarely encounters an ex of mine. Once in a while we’ll see one on TV or read an article about another, but I no longer make idiotic comments claiming them. Those guys are just not a part of my identity anymore. But I hear so many couples arguing about this, so I’m curious; are you (or your spouse) friends with exes?
What kind of boundaries do you set?
See More: Couple Issues , Love & Sex