Some believe you should cut all ties with former lovers. To them, the concept of breaking up with someone and then going to dinner 10 years later is both foreign and absurd. I am not one of those people.
When I was single, I dated—a lot. I wasn’t big on getting fixed up, but one day, a former colleague of mine set me up on a blind date with a psychiatrist. He was attractive and seemed to have his act together, but he was also of the belief that men and women could not just be friends. He took me to a fancy restaurant where he proceeded to tell me that he could never date a woman who maintained a relationship with someone she used to date. That was about the time I choked on a shrimp and knocked my wine glass over. I was thankful for the vodka in my purse.
I remember telling him that there was no way I could ever be with someone who was too insecure to handle the fact that I keep in touch with my old boyfriends. That’s when he enlightened me on his theory that man and woman cannot exist without sexual tension. We argued back and forth like an old married couple filing for divorce until he whipped out a Ph.D. and shared his credentials. If I’m not mistaken, I left a skid mark by the hostess stand.
Though my single days are long behind me, the friendships I have made over the years have never been more solid. Those boys whom I once dated are now fathers with wives who embrace our unique bond, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t love these women. The truth is that relationships don’t always work out, but it doesn’t mean they have to end. When you date a person for an extended period of time, you become friends—maybe even best friends—so why stop?
The other day, I hosted a public event and invited all of my local supporters. It was a special day, and I was surrounded by people I love, ex-boyfriends and wives included. At some point, two of them showed up at the same time my husband walked through the door. The karmic energy was extraordinary, and we all had a good long laugh at my expense. While the wives and I huddled together giggling over the irony, one of them turned to me and said, “Yeah, but it says a lot about you, as a person, that they would want to come.” That’s when the other one chimed in and told me I was the cool old girlfriend. She said that another friend of ours had mentioned that I was the only one of his girlfriends (other than her) whom she ever liked.
When I got home that night, I was overcome with emotion. Not only had these men shown up to support my cause, they had also brought with them their wives who gave me the best gift of all—their friendship. These women had absolutely no business wanting anything to do with me, yet they welcomed me with open arms and honored my loyalty to their husbands. It was a beautifully poignant afternoon, but it didn’t end there.
My husband and I have been friends for over 25 years. He and I were platonic roommates when I was seeing one of these men, and we met while I was dating his best friend. I have never once pretended to be anyone other than who I am to my husband, and he is well aware of my past. He also knows how important those friendships are to me, and he genuinely wants them to last.
I am an extraordinarily lucky woman to have these people in my life—people who trust me and know that my heart is pure. As you get older, you learn who your friends are, and some of them might surprise you. It is with great joy that I’ve added some women to that list, and I know it will only get better. As for my blind date from hell, he’s probably still sitting in a bar somewhere trying to find Mrs. Right About Nothing, but at least he paid for dinner and never called back, because some friends aren’t worth keeping.