Being best friends with an ex isn’t automatically a big deal.
Former lovers turned best friends come in many different forms. Some are toxic, some are benign.
How can you tell if the relationship your partner has with the ex she’s best friends with is a dangerous one?
It’s important to be able to assess this question because lesbians staying best friends with an ex is relatively common.
When I met my first girlfriend, she was still very close friends with her ex, Brittany, and we hung out with her a lot.
Brittany was gentle, fun, upbeat and I never felt threatened by their friendship. In fact, having her around made that relationship better, not worse.
Some exes have lingering feelings and are manipulative and sometimes, if the couple didn’t do a complete enough job of separating, they can continue to be enmeshed or codependent even after the breakup.
When you’re dating someone new and you discover they have an ex they’re still close to, it’s important to discern whether it’s a healthy, wholesome friendship or whether it’s a toxic threat to your relationship.
There are 5 red flags that could indicate that your girlfriend’s connection with her best friend is one you should be concerned about, and I’m going to go through each of them one by one.
It’s not a healthy, platonic friendship if one of them never got over the other.
It’s impossible for someone who’s in love with someone else to be “just friends”. The best they can be is a jealous friend.
If your girlfriend’s ex is still in love with her (or worse, if your girlfriend is still in love with them), it means the healing that has to happen after a breakup didn’t happen.
In other words, if your girlfriend still holds her ex on a pedestal.
It’s one thing to respect and admire your best friends, but it’s another thing to revere them in ways they don’t deserve.
Holding someone on a pedestal means giving them more credit than they’re due, and once you break up with someone, they’re not the person you should be looking at that way anymore.
It’s not normal or healthy if your partner doesn't want the ex to know about you, or if she's always afraid of how the ex will react to things, or if you always have to navigate around the ex's feelings when it comes to you being part of your partner's life.
That’s not how “best friends” behave with each other.
Her ex’s feelings should not be more important than yours and your partner should not still be trying to manage the emotions of her ex.
Your partner should not be sharing time and resources with her ex in ways she doesn’t share them with you. And the extent of her generosity shouldn’t be outside the bounds of what other platonic best friends would normally share with one another.
She shouldn’t still be supporting her financially or sacrificing large chunks of her own time to be there for her ex in ways that are beyond what normal friends expect from each other.
Whether it’s because of addiction, mental illness, suicidal tendencies, a history of trauma or any other reason, when someone isn’t functioning in her own life, she can use that to prey on your partner’s empathy and guilt.
But as terrible as her ex’s circumstances might be, it’s not your partner’s responsibility to take care of her.
If your partner is continuing to try to hold her ex’s life together, it means she hasn’t established proper boundaries between them.
If any of these 5 red flags exist between your partner and her ex, that means it’s not just a platonic friendship that they share.
Your partner is still enmeshed with her ex in a toxic way and it’s going to be a danger to any new relationship your partner tries to form with someone else.
If your partner is not willing to let that go, then ultimately it’s going to be up to you to walk away.
That’s the problem with red flags – once we see them it’s our responsibility to protect ourselves, and usually that means having to make the hard choice of walking away from someone we wanted things to work out with.
Nobody wants to have to start over and go back to square one in dating…
But the thing you always need to remember is that when one relationship doesn’t work out, another one will come along that’s just as good, if not better.
Starting over is nothing to be afraid of, because this world is full of amazing, open-hearted queer women who you would be super attracted to, who would be just as excited about you as you are about them, if you ever were to meet.
That’s why there’s no reason to ever ignore red flags.
So stay strong, and until next time keep remembering that hot lesbians are everywhere, that love is real and that if you haven’t already met the woman of your dreams, she’ll be on her way into your life in perfect timing.
If you want lesbian dating advice from me more often, follow me on Instagram @jordana.michelle.