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Why my life is better for staying friends with my ex-boyfriends

Written by gaytourism

Alex Protopapa is friends with most of his exes. | Photo: supplied

I have a lot of gay friends. Around 80% of my male mates started off as being either a love interest that I dated for a few weeks or a casual sexual encounter.

In fact, I’ve dated two-thirds of my current household. Clearly I’m an advocate for befriending anyone I’ve had any physical contact with whatsoever. I can’t help it that I’m popular…!

I know how I must be coming off here, but hear me out. I’m the guy who’s dated half of London, mostly once, or occasionally even hitting the second date. I’ve been in that pattern since my last, and only, long-term relationship ended around six years ago. I am still friends with him, by the way.

This means that I’ve met a lot of chaps and I know that I’m not the only homosexual like that, even within my own circles. So there must be millions of us on a global scale, right? *looks around for support*

Before any of you jump to conclusions, I want to clear up a few myths.

My reason for befriending ex-boyfriends is not to have sex on tap. If it works for you – and it does work for some – then cool! Power to you. But for me, once you blur those lines, that’s when friendship is harder to achieve. And dating is hard enough without having to muddy the waters further.

It seems to me that the dating game is rough, but if there are any positives that you can take from the struggle, it’s the many friends you can potentially make in the process.

Alex Protopapa

Alex Protopapa chooses to identify as a twub (Photo: Supplied)

I understand that not everyone agrees, so I took to social media to see what the consensus was for this topic. Can we all befriend those we date? From what I gathered, we are quite divided as a community, and it comes down to some key factors.

The complexity of the break up. Or in other words, did he cheat? How long were you together, how many mutual friends do you share and how deep were your feelings for each other? Maybe it’s just me, but these factors don’t completely make sense to me.

OK, I know that if some asshole cheats on you, or has been abusive, they don’t deserve your friendship. I may be an advocate for befriending ex-boyfriends but I’m also a fan of treating people with respect. Though, if that respect hasn’t been broken, why can’t we befriend our exes?

The length of time you’re together goes over my head as a reason to cut things off completely though. If you’re in a relationship for a long time, wouldn’t you want to keep them in your life? Correct me if I’m wrong, but personally, I’d jump at the chance to keep that person in my life in one way or another. Getting rid of them completely is like cutting your nose to spite your face.

‘Dating is the gateway drug, leading to harder stuff… like friendship!’

I once dated a really sweet and innocent guy. Let’s call him Jake. We dated for about three months. We dated each other for longer than we should have but probably because we got on so well and he was such a sweetie. It blindsighted me a little until he ended things, which after a week of reflection, I totally understood the reasoning why.

We were far better as friends and since we stopped trying to be in a forced relationship, we’re able to relax and be there for each other far more than we ever did when we were ‘together’.

Also, let’s face it: It’s one less person to stalk on instagram and bitch about with the boys on a Saturday night.

I’ve met some of my favorite people through dating. You may even say that dating is the gateway drug, leading to harder stuff … like friendship!

Alex Protopapa talks dating

Alex Protopapa (Photo: supplied)

There seems to be some stigma in the community about keeping someone in your life that you’ve been intimate with. It’s a bit like a mafia movie when the bad guys kill someone for ‘knowing too much’.

In my opinion, knowing too much would be the best reason to keep someone around: someone who knows you and who obviously cares about you. To me, that’s the type of intimacy you can only get from those who you’ve allowed to see at your most vulnerable. They’re more likely to know what makes me tick and how my mind works.

And hey, if you’re anything like me, axing off love interests will leave you completely friendless. Like when Jenny was exiled from Manhattan in Gossip Girl.

Going from dating to friends will take effort on both sides, but in my experience, it pays dividends. Try sending that person a text after that awkward ‘break up’ period fades. It may be one of the best decisions you ever made.

See also:

I can’t think of anything worse than staying friends with an ex

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