a couple of nights ago, while doing my usual bedtime routine which consists of scanning channels before settling on one to fall asleep to then adjusting the sleep timer to 20mins, i was able to catch an old episode of sex & the city. in this episode, carrie was wondering: “In mathematics, we learned that “x” stands for the unknown. “a” plus “b” equals “x”. But what’s really unknown is: what plus what equals friendship with an ex? 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 ex? later on throughout the episode she comes to the conclusion that cosmopolitans + scotch = friendship with an ex.

i’ve never had an ex-boyfriend, having been a member of the Single Since Birth Club since, well, birth. however, i’ve had another type of ex: the guy-i-was-in-love-with-who-didn’t-quite-love-me-back type of ex. one of them is in Beijing now and the other one is someone i see at a regular basis. it sucks when an “ex” is part of the same group of people you hang out with. we’ve both become adept in the civil department, not really addressing each other unless completely necessary and if we find our eyes meeting we just quickly avert them as though nothing happened. once in a while, a smart-aleck-y friend would send a well-placed barb our way which we both would ignore. it’s become a comfortable situation, after a fashion.

recent events, namely the possibility of him liking a new teammate (yet again!), have got me thinking if it’s possible for us to be friends again. it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine being friends with him again considering we were pretty close once.  even after the “breakup”, we still remained to be close, sometimes going out for coffee and discussing random stuff in our lives. but then something else happened which changed our dynamic and it hasn’t been the same since.

a close friend of mine congratulated me recently when i told her that i had chatted with the guy-who-liked-me-but-i-didn’t-like-back during the exciting and emotional (for me) match between Nadal and Soderling. she said that it was great that we can put the animosity aside and be friends again to which i replied that there was no animosity just a lot of awkwardness (and sometimes irritation) on my side. yes, it is a two-way street. sometimes you get hurt and sometimes you hurt someone else.

so what happens when a great love, or maybe just a passionate affair, ends? can two people transform from being intimate lovers to just good friends? i honestly don’t know the answer. i think it depends on the situation and the people involved. i believe that time can heal most, but not all, wounds and that eventually we all forget. As Joan Didion said: “We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forgot who we were.” (and because i don’t know how to segue into this link, i’ll just post it as is and hope you’ll be intrigued enough to click it. :P)

perhaps someday i’ll be able to have coffee and laugh over fun memories with an ex. perhaps we’ll always be tiptoeing around each other. who really knows, right?