In talking with a number of friends and family members recently, exes has become an overwhelmingly frequent topic. It seems that no one knows what to do about them.
First off, for those relationships that end relatively well, we often want to maintain the underlying friendship. This one seems like a no-brainer, but let me be clear about this: you cannot go straight from being romantically involved to being platonic friends. Yet almost everyone I know, both male and female, have convinced themselves at one time or other that they can be the exception to this rule. And so they begin this pattern of recapping their day to their ex while searching for/going on disconnected dates with others, until one of them finally realizes that he/she cannot rely on their ex emotionally and simultaneously try to move on, and they cut all ties. We need a cooling off period after a relationship, to get used to the others absence and rediscover our independence. Friendships can be reformed, but they must be just that: started anew after the raw emotions settle down.
Secondly, for those relationships that end not so well, how should we handle it? Whether one publicly or privately copes, we feel any from a range of passionate feelings: hurt, anger, betrayal, jealousy, longing, love and hate. It only makes sense that those who can put us on cloud nine can hurt us just as drastically, so passive feelings are not an option. Yet how long should we feel that way? If one harbors strong feelings of resentment/hatred well into their next relationship, is this simply symptomatic of the extent of emotional damage? Or is it a sign that they have not completely gotten over their ex?
Lastly, for those particularly long term relationships or marriages, what should one do about the family? Does one need to divorce the spouse's family too, even though they may have played a major role in one's own life? And if not completely, what are our obligations to the ex-family in terms of life cycle events?
As usual, I have more questions than answer, so please post your thoughts.