Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The ‘Ex’ Factor

‘To be or not to be’ friends with the ‘Ex’, that is the age old question that has been debated throughout time. Numerous arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’ the issue have been thrown into the arena however a definite answer still eludes those in search. In some cases, relationships have ended, while in others, they haven’t even begun because of this one factor. To obtain clarity and enlightenment about this subject, I decided to turn to our frequent contributor, Sri ‘Anonymous Ravi’. In order to convene with Sri Ravi, it was imperative that I followed the tracks of Mr. Marlow, and journey deep into the ‘Heart of Darkness’ alá Joseph Conrad, and hope that Ravi wasn’t as elusive as Mr. Kurtz.

As we bobbed on the Congo, Sri Ravi patiently listened to my plight for knowledge regarding the issue of the Ex. After gently placing his fishing rod at the edge of the rotting boat, he turned to me and instructed me to place my fedora back on my burning scalp. He lifted his orange dothi and crossed his legs, as he began to share his wisdom;

‘‘Putar, answer your question I shall but a righteous path must be found by self. In my time I too had to deal with the issue of the infamous Ex and I assure you, the terrain you have chosen to comprehend is one that has more twists and turns than the venomous Black Mamba. So, pay close attention as I share both sides of this ‘nagin’ with you and a just understanding you shall attain.

Once upon a time, I expressed to a girl I was involved with my displeasure at her maintaining a friendship with her ex, to which she responded;

‘I don’t see why I have to give him up. I’ve shared an important part of my life with him and I’m not willing to let that go. You need to trust me and get a grip on your insecurities. In fact, you should meet him and be friends with him too!’

I could see her side of the argument and it certainly was a fair one since every relationship must have an element of trust - otherwise it shall never succeed. However, my darling ‘Bul-Bul’ didn’t realize there was an issue of RESPECT in question. How am I supposed to feel comfortable sitting across from a man who shared both physical and emotional intimacy with my love, a man who enjoyed her in a way only a husband should enjoy his wife? How am I supposed to enjoy my grande caramel frappucino when they exchange a private joke relating to their past? How am I to react if I begin to visualize them in a passionate embrace or more?

In ‘Feng Shui Guide to Harmonious Living’, Mary Lambert writes;

‘Are there any things that are making your love life sour? Or ones that connect you to past relationships? Remove any old love letters or photographs of previous partners…pictures of old boyfriends do not foster good love vibes in your marriage (or relationship)...they tie you to a past relationship and don’t allow a new one to enter.’

If one must get rid of anything to do with past lovers, surely the past lovers himself must be included! I felt that by wanting and expecting me to be comfortable with her ex being a part of our life, my ‘Bul-Bul’ was being disrespectful to me, our relationship and our potential for a harmonious future. Before you interrupt me ‘putar’, I never kept in touch with my ex-es thus there was no double standard.

Still, not all of my compatriots shared the same view. Many of them continued to keep in touch with their exes. With their friendships they also benefited from what you children refer to as ‘Friends with Benefits’. My understanding of this arrangement is as follows; both partners feel the need for some intimacy, and so they congregate at an approved location and commence. The reason for this is that the ex is an easier target, owing to the fact that it’s familiar territory and failure is rare since there is a mutual understanding about the arrangement. As a result, no games are played and no signals need to be received and decrypted; it’s all about the ‘Benefit’. The other advantage is that the ‘Benefit’ doesn’t fall under the ‘One Night Stand’ category no matter how long after a break up it takes place. The downside of this scenario is one of the parties involved may begin to develop feelings which can complicate the relationship and possibly end in an ugly climax.

Let’s assume I was to partake in the ‘Friends with Benefit’ arrangement. Eventually I would meet someone else and would want to begin a new relationship and either by request or out of respect for my new love, I would annul the relationship with my ex. Why? Firstly, it’s not fair to the ex from a humane point of view, especially if I was aware that I’d give up my ‘friendship’ with the ex for the sake of a new partner. Secondly, if my ex had developed an emotional attachment to me, those feelings would be hurt, which can lead to frightful consequences since ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!’ For the non-believers out there, be sure to rent ‘Fatal Attraction’ or read about Ms. Lorena John Bobbit and remember to hide your little bunny…in both cases!

With that my dear ‘putar’, you have learned about the benefits and pitfalls of the infamous Ex. Do what you will with this knowledge, and may you and those close to you, be spared from the mamba’s bite and Bobbit’s knife!’

As I made my way back to the nearest Holiday Inn, Sri Ravi’s words resonated through my mind. After days of pondering, I realized that there is no right or wrong approach and that it’s simply a personal preference. For as many people that have an issue with the ex being in the picture, there are probably an equal number that don’t have a problem with it at all. It simply boils down to the understanding two people share, and as long as issues and preferences are clarified from the start, future complications can be prevented.

Now, who wants to be my next Ex?

By Chandru Bhojwani


Messiah said...

:) I got the message !! Thanks

Tania Kazi said...

Just chanced upon your blog. Enjoyed reading one of your entries.