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Can you staying friends with your ex?

In the gay world it is very common that you stay friends with an ex,this could be an ex parter, ex lover or ex one night stand. As with any relationship, there is no right or wrong action you should or shouldn’t do. A lot of gay men have the ability to compartmentalise sex and emotions.

The gay community does flock together and although strong it is still relatively small compared to the wider straight community. I am not saying we have ghettos or self styled concentration camps but our community is smaller, and unless we turn our back on the gay community chances are, if you are in the same geographic location then you with cross paths with your ex.


gay couple For lots of gay men the gay community is their replacement family and they do not want to lose connection with that. If you fall out with your brother, this does not mean you are going to disconnection from the rest of your family, this is part of the reason why so many gay men stay friends with their ex’s.

When hooking up and becoming boyfriends with a guy there has to be a connection physically, emotionally and intellectually. However some are just purely fueled with sexuality, and once that itch has been scratched the other two elements come into play and if they don’t fit then the relationship eventually fails.

There is a general acceptance that sex and relationships are two separate areas, men can detach the emotions from something based on a pure physical level. There is science backing this up, it’s pure biology, when a woman has sex a chemical reaction happens in her body which makes her want to bring everything together as if she was having a child and gets protective, where as a man will climax and want to repel away.

Such is the nature of human biology. This is why men can have multiple sex partners without really looking back or giving them much thought. Sex for many men can be regarded along the lines of a more enjoyable gym work out. Because of the separation between sex and friendship, many single friends have sex with each other and sometimes this evolves into a mini relationship, but when the relationship ends the friendship still continues.Portrait of a homosexual couple

So staying friends with a a partner is accepted as okay in the gay world. So how do we disentangle the two? So long as your break up hasn’t resulted in a restraining order then moving the relationship over to a friendship can and does happen.

I did have a situation with a couple who lived together they decided that although they got on, after a while being a couple with each other didn’t seem to work, they had rented an apartment together and the lease was up. So they agreed to split and go their separate ways, they commemorated the ending of a relationship with a party with their mutual friends. The wanted everyone to know they were still friends but not a couple. At the stroke of midnight, they changed their social media profiles to single and from then onwards they were single. This activity will not necessarily work for everyone.

There are a few steps to consider. As I have laid out in my coaching book The Ex-Extinction Program it’s not as easy as saying “I don’t want to be boyfriends anymore, let’s be friends.” It can happen however it’s best to give each other breathing space before re-aligning a relationship. This book goes through a step by step process over 30 days on how to adjust to being single after being in a couple.

Gay men

It’s difficult and challenging for some to move on, so when you have broken up as a couple, even though you both want to be friends it’s best to give each other a wide birth, for at least a month. This allows you both to grieve, reflect and readjust to the situation. If you maintain contact the challenge would be the re-adjustment period will not be given time to work, it may bring out ill feeling and accidental falling into bed with each other will normally just cause more upset.

The gay community does mean a lot for a large percentage of single gay men, and as the actual community is relatively small, although heavily networked throughout the globe, and with this being the case it’d be challenging to remove all traces of an ex.

Gay couple lying on bedSo am I saying that we feel obligated to keep in contact with an ex? In some ways there is that feeling, the gay ex network is out there, even at my wedding to my husband we had some of our ex’s cheering us on and celebrating our union. There wasn’t ill feeling, just joy. Naturally having a ceremony room jam packed with ex’s didn’t Ricky Martin and exhappen (there wouldn’t be enough chairs and the restraining orders are still valid for some) The gay world does seem to run in a pack mentality, the party scene, bar scene even gay walking groups to gay pottery groups, we all generally like to congregate together so to keep the harmony staying friends is important.

Let me put it another way, if a straight couple divorce, have a daughter and she gets married, it’s expected that the parents will attend her wedding, this is a huge deal for the divorced couple and can be challenging on many levels. It’s the same in the gay world, but think of each social event being that of the daughters wedding. If you don’t attend then you loose out on something special and inclusive. If you do you have to be in contact with your ex or at least in proximity to your ex you may as well be friends. There must be some qualities that that person has that you enjoyed and liked? And this is the common thread that goes through the gay community when they become friends with their ex.

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