This is the third in a series and yes, I am late with this one but I have a wonderful reason, it is called going to the gym and not coming out until I am completely worn out and sweaty. I think this is one of my favorites (so far) because I speak from experience. . .
Later that night I got to thinking about the x-factor. In mathematics, we learn that x stands for the unknown, a+b=x, but what’s really unknown is what plus what equals friendship with an x. Is this an unsolvable equation? Or is it possible to transform a once passionate love into something that fits nice and easily onto the friendship shelf? I couldn’t help but wonder… can you be friends with an x?
I wasn’t the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree when it came to math and it was a struggle to get through statistics in college (and accounting. . . ) but I got a great lesson in the X factor years after college.
Bubba is the guy I had the longest relationship with, ever. We even tried living together which helped nail the coffin shut relationship wise. There were ups and downs, things said and done and a lot of hurt on both sides. But as I have mentioned before, after Jorge, I felt the urge to contact him. I just wanted to see if he was still the same person I had dated years ago.
The upside of seeing him after three years of no communication was, I was all kinds of skinny. As I walked up to where he was waiting for me I watched his jaw drop. It is still a great memory to relive in my mind today. We had dinner, we talked and he apologized.
Our friendship after such a tempestuous relationship was shocking, not only to us but to my friends that remember that version of me when we were together. There were times when we could have fallen back into old habits, temptations to see if the spark was still there but somehow we managed to control ourselves.
I also learned that I could be the bossy one now, the demanding one. As I whined about wanting a malt but didn’t want to drive to Bobbies, he would inevitably give in and come get me. Not only carting my ass to the best malt in West Nashville but would also give in and pay. We started going out for Mexican once a week and he would pay for my meal there as well. The joke became that he was paying penance for all the wrongs against me while we were dating.
As my heart began to heal from the Jorge debacle, I leaned on Bubba as a friend to try to understand what I might be doing wrong in terms of relationships. He was there when I made mistakes with Jorge’s cousin, not once but twice. He was also there when I started dating the boy.
It is interesting to start dating someone and have to explain that you happen to have guys as friends. But that was a piece of cake compared to having to explain to the boy that not only did I have guy friends but I also had an ex that was a friend.
The X factor is interesting because while I can bag on Bubba, no one else is allowed to or at least past a certain point. There were times when the boy was laughing about Bubba’s dating choices and begged me to call him to ask the latest.
Did I ever introduce them? No. It never seemed like the right thing to do. One, they are very different types of guys and two, Bubba would have preferred to go without beer for a month instead of dealing with the guy who taunted him about his choice in women.
When I made the decision to break up with the boy I called Bubba, in tears and defensive. I didn’t want harsh words from him, I wanted support and comfort from a friend. He delivered in his oh so weird way. That October, when I had to deal with my annual work event and the memories of telling the boy I loved him the very first time, Bubba was there. As I was crying from exhaustion from dealing with the event as well as missing the boy, he hugged me and told me the boy wasn’t worth the tears.
Around this time Bubba had started dating someone and I had to learn how to share him. I was used to having him for our weekly dinner at Cancun as well as random moments throughout the week and weekend. I also knew that this must be going somewhere because for once, he didn’t say a lot about her. I was pulling teeth trying to learn about her. As Christmas drew closer I did my normal shopping with him. He leaves it to the last minute, no thoughts on what he should get for his family and this year was the same. I also helped him determine what he should get for his girlfriend.
I did what any shopaholic girly-girl does, I took him to Tiffany’s and introduced him to my world. After picking out a necklace similar to one I had picked out, he pulled out his card to pay. I was giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. No, this wasn’t a gift for me but I knew that his girlfriend would like it, even with the few details he gave me about her. I checked with him after he gave it to her and yep, he did good!
Being friends with an ex is tricky, usually has to be explained to a number of people and the line can be blurred from time to time. But overall, if you have spent several years in a relationship with this person, a friendship can be salvaged from it. I invested a lot of time, heart and soul into this relationship with Bubba. I am happy to say that even today I can call him a friend. He is still blunt, can hurt my feelings from time to time but in the same breath, can make me smile and remember why we are still friends. I still make him pay for dinner, I give him a hard time but at the end of the day, he is someone who knows me very differently than the rest of my friends.
He is also the one that after years of not wanting to commit to anyone, got married and is now telling me I need to settle down soon because I am not getting any younger. Thanks Bubba. . .
Sometimes trying to be friends with an ex is not possible, feelings are still there or there is no foundation to build an actual friendship. Maybe it takes a special person to make it possible to be friends. Maybe being friends was what it was supposed to be from the beginning. Or maybe it is just growing up and realizing that sometimes it was a blessing in disguise that things ended up the way they did. But I will still take issue with him telling me to hurry up and settle down.