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Friends Post Break Up - Is this a Gay thing?

Discussion in 'Family, Friends, and Relationships' started by OnTheHighway, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. OnTheHighway

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    After being together for 4.5 years, and married for just over a year, I am in the process of amicably divorcing my husband. Things were great when we lived in seperate cities and commuted regularly (we were together 60 percent of the time) back and forth to be with each other. After we married and started living together we quickly realized material differences existed between us as a couple living under one roof.

    We have always been very transparent with one another and began discussions about the differences a few months after being married. Of course there was stress, and there were open discussions about trying to bridge the differences, but there was also continued love for each other. After finally reaching a boiling point, I got him to agree for us to go to a couples counselor, quickly after some sessions we decided to divorce and go back to living separately. As part of this, he just acquired a new place in another city that’s a short 45/minute drive from the city where I live.

    We both have talked about our continued fondness for each other and our desire to remain good friends. So much so that I agreed to invest in 50 percent of his new place so he can be in a better location closer to his work than he could otherwise afford on his own. And being honest with myself, this partnership maintains a relationship between us even if it is a financial one for me.

    While we are going through the divorce process, he knows I am dating guys, although he has been too busy preparing to live independently to focus on dating, we have discussed his desire to do so as well when he is ready.

    As I have been dating over the past month, I have come across a surprising number of guys who continue to share their lives with former partners in one way or another. One guy I met works with his former partner at his business, another guy I met still lives with his former partner although they live in seperate rooms, and yet another is still married but they live apart.

    So, I am sensing a pattern here, and I am concerned the pattern reflects a degree of codependency amongst these guys with former relationships, and hence, codependency in my soon to be former relationship.

    I am not interested in maintaining a codependent situation, but I don’t want to lose our friendship either. As I look at the facts: there are no future financial commitments from either of us once the divorce is finalized so no issues there; he has a good job and is able to support himself financially; I decided to stay in our current place while he decided to move to another city although the city is a short 45 minute drive away; and while I invested in his new place, I am a completely silent investor and made the decision after his “hinting” to help him get a better place because a) it was a good investment and b) I do want to remain close friends.

    I should add we spent a significant amount of time discussing the partnership agreement on his property to ensure he is completely independent, has exclusive use, and retains all financial responsibility for the upkeep, general use and financial well being of the property. I have no real financial commitments going forward on the property. This was critically important to me.

    So, I am concerned about the stories I have heard from others who have maintained ongoing relationships with their former partners and my perception of the co dependency that exists. And where such co dependency hurts their ability to move on and find a future partner. In retrospect, maybe investing in my x partners new place was not the best idea, but I do believe all the other actions I have taken should ensure we can stay good friends yet keep a proper distance to lead our seperate lives.

    Curious of others perspective on this dynamic which seems embedded to a degree in the gay community. Am I over reading this dynamic and just being overly concerned?
     
    #1 OnTheHighway, Jun 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  2. OGS

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    It's interesting because I came to this thread totally thinking I would say yes it's a gay thing and it's a healthy thing. I've been with my husband for twenty years and yet I still have a ton of friends who are exes. At this point all of them have been in our lives for at least twenty years so at this point some of them are actually closer with my husband than they are with me. I don't think it's a uniquely gay thing but it's definitely more prevalent, and I think it's very healthy. I've never understood these people who share their lives and end up hating each other.

    On the other hand what you are talking about (living together, owning property together, sharing a business) are, in my experience not at all common. I mean I lived with an ex for about two months once as we waited for the lease to expire. We're still good friends decades later but I think even those couple months were too much. And that's pretty much the only example of that sort of thing I can think of amongst my friend group and everyone, but us, took it as proof we would get back together. I think you should remain friends, but you should be cautious of this other sort of entanglement.
     
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  3. azzi

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    Maybe it's not completely a "gay thing". I'm a female bi and was recently divorced but I do have a good friendship with my exhusband. We still check on each other but not in a romantic way. If I have extra money, I would most likely help him out too if he desperately needs it. I guess it's a matter of how secured you are with your feelings, that there's nothing more but friendship. I'm not in a relationship right now though so I'm not sure if my future partner will be ok with that. But I think almost everything can be smoothen out with a good communication.
     
  4. smurf

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    Yeah, I think its more common in LGBT relationships and I really enjoy that is a thing. I wouldn't call it codependency because usually that implies an unhealthy attachment to the other person.

    I see these relationships as people being able to successfully handle a relationship that at one point meant a lot to them. I don't see why I should demand that my partner cut all ties to his exes or someone trying to tell me who I can and cannot be friends with. My own personal hope is that if my husband and I ever get divorced that we will be able to remain friends and part of each others lives. I would hate to spend years with this beautiful man for it to just mean absolutely nothing simply because we weren't able to stay together forever.
     
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  5. OnTheHighway

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    But is there a line between friendship and codependency? I agree with the desire to remain friends and maintain a healthy post marriage relationship. Especially given how mutually beneficial the relationship was to each of us and the love that was there (and fondness that remains).

    What raised my concern was listening to the stories the others were telling, and my nagging belief that each of them still maintained strong feelings for their former partners given how much airtime about their former partners they provided (and what was said) during the respective dates. And if those feelings have not been properly worked through, how can someone grow beyond the prior relationship to find a successful next relationship?

    I know I certainly would not want to compete for the attention of a partner that still maintained strong ties to his former partner where such ties were not healthy. I have sufficient self confidence if such ties were based on a healthy foundation, but then the process of dating one specific person in this situation would not only involve the determination of our compatibility together, but also determining whether his relationship with his former partner is healthy or unhealthy. I am just not sure its worth the effort unless the sparks were strong from the onset.

    And If I believe there is a potential risk getting involved with someone with strong ties to their former partner, I certainly don’t want someone to feel that away about me and my relationship with my former husband.

    Seems like a very delicate balancing act to me.
     
    #5 OnTheHighway, Jun 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  6. OGS

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    Wow! They talked about them on dates!? Yeah, that's not normal. Like I said I'm quite close friends with many of my exes and if you knew me long enough the chances are pretty good you would eventually meet one of them, or even several of them, the way you would meet my other friends. To my way of thinking anyone who can't get through a few dates without bringing up their ex isn't ready to date.
     
  7. OnTheHighway

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    Fully agree.
     
  8. smurf

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    "Codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs"

    Obviously not an expert here, but when I used to be in a codependent relationship you can very much tell. One of the main shows is the person complaining about the other person, yet staying with them and then allowing toxic behavior to continue. A person who gets self-esteem from helping others will complain about someone being a leach, clingy, etc but still support them and someone who gets their self-esteem by being taken care of will depend solely on that person for validation

    Yeah, its weird that it comes up so much in the first date, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

    Have you talked about your concern with your dates? You are right that it would be hard to tell if someone is either in a healthy place or secretly still waiting for the ex to come back. But I think starting to ask direct questions like these will help you start determining which is which.

    Yeah, that is a hard thing to balance.

    I think complete honest is always best. So when the topic of your ex pops up perhaps talk to this fear directly? What could the guys you have been interacting do to show you its nothing more than just a friendship? Perhaps that will give you a hint on how you should bring up the conversation.
     
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  9. OnTheHighway

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    This seems to be a common element in many relationships. I have no desire to be involved in another one myself. Nor be involved with someone that is still dependent on another from a prior relationship.

    In all fairness, once my perception of dependency was triggered, I did not contemplate further dates with two of them. So no further discussion was had. And for one, we went from a date to being friends, and we have discussed his relationship in comparison to what I want to avoid in relation to my own current divorce. And our discussions together have helped me make decisions which I believe will minimize future dependency issues coming out of my own divorce.
     
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