Theory & Essay

the battle of the fexes

there are two types of people in this world….those felt that omar was easily the most implausible, most annoying, and least compelling character on “the wire”, and necrophiliacs. there’s no grey area, and where you fit in either of those categories will basically…wait. i’m sorry. wrong topic. lets start again.

there are two types of people in this world….those who are friends with ex-lovers (“fexes”), and those who aren’t. with the exception of dissimilar libido, this may be the most consistently underrated cause of relationship disharmony. diametrically opposed to each other, each camp feels as if the other is being unreasonable, and each camp has a justifiable argument. today, in true vsb.com fashion, we’ll examine each mindset, and hopefully come up with some sort of a resolution

***tale of the tape***

the basic premise

fexes: “i mean, if we were cool beforehand and the relationship ended on mutually cordial terms, i don’t see any reason why we can’t stay cool”

the aren’ts: “for the life of me i dont understand why anybody would want to stay cool with someone they used to fu-k, unless they still planned on f-cking in the future.”

the respect factor

fexes: “its mad disrespectful to tell me who i can and can’t be friends with”

the aren’ts: “its mad disrespectful for you to expect me to be cool with the fact that your *borders buddy* used to blow your back out on the reg”

the trust factor

fexes: “what…you dont trust me??”

the aren’ts “its not about trusting you. it’s her scandalous a-s that i don’t trust”

***btw, this makes absolutely no sense to me. you can’t qualify trust. if you truly trust someone, then you’ll trust them around people you think are untrustworthy. why? because you trust them. if you don’t trust them around untrustworthy people, then you DONT trust them. why don’t people understand this?***

the violin (the go to “guilt trip” move)

fexes: “why are you putting me in this position?? of course i’d choose you, but why are you even making me make that choice when you don’t have to??”

the aren’ts: “i guess you value her friendship over our relationship”

the verdict

although i’ve come to understand the justification behind the thought process of the “aren’ts”, i remain a member of the “fexes” camp. if you trust your mate, then it shouldn’t matter who he happens to be friends with. if you dont trust em…you shouldn”t be with em anyway.

honestly, though, my membership is somewhat conditional. basically, if she’s had strong enough feelings about the dude at one point to admit something along the lines of “you know, i honestly considered killing him and his entire family at one point. i was ready to do the jail time and everything, but I managed to get past that and we’re great friends now” while sober, then maybe a red flag or ten might pop up. other than that…i could honestly care less.

how about you?

—the champ

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    As long as the ex isn’t stepping over the line, trynna holla at my man, then I’m good. The broads who keep hope alive bug. Move on!

  • http://www.myspace.com/moonchyldblu Vitamin Be

    I’m a proud member of the fexes!! Sometime those are some of your best friends… Hell, my ex boyfriends helped me moved into my new apt…together!

    • http://goodeness.blogspot.com GOODENess

      now THAT is pimp-ish…you go girl! lol

  • amconteh

    It shouldn’t really be a problem if you trust that the relationship is in the past. Besides you shouldn’t be with someone you don’t trust enough to leave them alone with others.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “you shouldn’t be with someone you don’t trust enough to leave them alone with others”

      *nodding head*

  • http://insidethemindofadeviant.wordpress.com Deviant

    If the break-up was amicable (I’ve yet to see one, but hey…) or mutually agreed upon, then sure we can be cool to an extent. I don’t know if I’d say friends but I don’t think there should be a feeling of competition between the ex and their successor. But all of this is really contingent on the manner of the break-up and which came first the fex or the egg…

    The breakdown:

    True enough if you were cool before AND after your break-up, then yes you should be able to maintain some level of social interaction. But if you were on some “I hate that b****/n****” then you being “friends” is a little suspect.

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Telling an adult who they can and cannot be friends with is a tell of your insecurities and control issues. It makes you look bad and the other person look weak if they succumb to your ultimatum. Their friends will be put in the position of avoiding your bad side for fear of dismissal.

    The trust factor is really about the other person being insecure about themselves and how much you value the relationship. But if trust is one thing, it is absolute. You do or you don’t.

    The Guilt trip is a sign of manipulation and a huge, waving red flag. You can’t feed strays, they will keep coming back. This time it’s your fex. Who knows what it will be next time.

    Champ – great post. I agree 99.999% I don’t know what the other 0.001% consists of but I’m sure it will come to me later… I don’t wanna be a post rider.

  • http://tiffanybbrown.com/ tiffany

    for me, it’s contextual. is this a fresh breakup? how strong were his feelings? how strong are they now? how does he treat me in general? how does he treat me when she’s around?

    jealousy is my spidey sense telling me something ain’t right with this scenario. and if a dude is dismissive of that, then i do have to wonder whether he cares about my feelings, is trying to get back into her world, or really needs the ego stroke.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “jealousy is my spidey sense telling me something ain’t right with this scenario”

      what if your spidey sense is effed up though? should a guy be forced to live by the whim of your suspicions?

      • http://www.tiffanybbrown.com/ tiffany

        i can’t speak for other folks’ spidey sense. but when i get jealous, it is, *WITHOUT FAIL* a sign that something ain’t right.

        under normal circumstances, the most i would give a fex situation is a raised eyebrow. if i think she still wants you, i might express concern.

        but if i have progressed to jealousy? that means there is something you are doing or not doing and we need to have a conversation about that.

  • LightSkinned

    Hmmmm…

    As long as all parties involved are being RESPECTFUL of the relationship, then there is not issue. It’s only when the ex’s begin to step over those invisible but very visible lines that a issue may occur…but I would trust my man to nip it in the bud before I had too.

    Vote for O’Bama!

    • Treezy F. Baby

      When did Barack become Irish? LOL.

      • 2Degreez

        LOL!!!!! Stop that.

      • Kitsune

        LMAO! Or should that be LMA’O?

  • http://myspace.com/thomasforbes Monk

    I think time plays an important role in the equation also. There’s been instances where you might not be friends (or even cool) right after the initial break up, but as time goes on and you both move on, you very well may be the best of friends. It takes a certain level of maturity on both sides though. The current bf/gf also must be mature enough to handle the situation and trust each other.

  • http://www.5oh7.com Boom

    I was an English major so I tend to get caught up in semantics, but maybe it’s the term “friend” that gets me.

    If I was friends with you.. genuinely just friends with you.. before I dated you, then yes, I would fully hope to be friends with you again after. But if we had an attraction/flirtation/courtship almost immediately upon meeting, most times it seems that we never formed a pure friendship that exists OUTSIDE the relationship.

    I definitely believe in being on pleasant terms with exes, but as far as “friend”? A friend is someone I hang out with, confide in, do things for and with.. all things I wouldn’t expect someone I’m dating to be comfortable with me doing with the dude that laid the pipe before him, regardless of how much he trusts me.

    sidenote: I’m really kind of over the “if you don’t trust someone you shouldn’t be with them line.” Now granted, I recognize that I have trust issues with 99% of people, lol. But in all seriousness, trust is all well and good, but it’s not an overnight thing, and it’s not something where you should just have blind faith in someone. So why wouldn’t you stay with someone whose presence you enjoy while you work on building trust?

    • http://lizburr.com Liz

      Well damn, Boom. This was on point. I totally agree with you on this!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “trust is all well and good, but it’s not an overnight thing, and it’s not something where you should just have blind faith in someone. So why wouldn’t you stay with someone whose presence you enjoy while you work on building trust?”

      of course, if you’ve only been with someone for a month or two, i wouldnt expect you to have unqualifying trust for them. thing is, if you’ve been together for an extended period of time, and you still have trust issues, i honestly don’t think being together is worth the heartache that comes with questioning and doubting everything your significant other does.

    • http://goodeness.blogspot.com GOODENess

      that’s it…If I see you in the street, I would give you the afore mention “church hug” and a pleasant smile…(then walk off like a model so you can bask in my fabulous-ness) but we ain’t meeting at Starbuck’s for a mocha-choco-latta-ya-ya…ya dig? I have 2 dudes I used to ride into the sunset, that I communicate regularly with, but we aren’t FRIENDS… I know this because if/when I get into the “R” word again…and he has a problem with an occaisional text message…the former FuBus are OUTTA THERE!

    • BigBrwnEyez

      *claps” CHHURRRRCCCCCHHHHH! Well said.

  • Cheryl

    I’m a member of the fexes.

    My kids daddy is a good example. He and I are friends. We get along well. Dude his wife HATED ME. If looks could kill that heffa coulda killt me, resurrected me, killt and buried me.

    When she became pregnant with their second child she called me to inform me that she was “on top” now because she had more children by him than I did so therefore she was more important. I asked her if she wanted a party.

    Now they are getting divorced. Ha. Ha.

    But yeah I agree with alla that, trust is absolute. There’s no if/then rules for trust. It is, or it ain’t.

    • http://insidethemindofadeviant.wordpress.com Deviant

      “When she became pregnant with their second child she called me to inform me that she was “on top” now because she had more children by him than I did so therefore she was more important.”

      She sounds like an EB. And more accurately a dumbass EB.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “My kids daddy is a good example. He and I are friends. We get along well. Dude his wife HATED ME. If looks could kill that heffa coulda killt me, resurrected me, killt and buried me.

      When she became pregnant with their second child she called me to inform me that she was “on top” now because she had more children by him than I did so therefore she was more important. I asked her if she wanted a party.

      Now they are getting divorced. Ha. Ha.”

      ***thinking how much i’d pay to see all of cheryl’s exes (including the demon guy) and the people involved with them on a televised MTV roundtable wrap-up***

      • Cheryl

        I wouldn’t.

        Tho there are like only 4 – it would end up like a jerry springer show. a hot ass mess.

    • http://goodeness.blogspot.com GOODENess

      co-parents should NOT be included in the FEX category…if you are a rational parent, you have to (at the bare minimum) successfully comminucate with the each other…your child shouldn’t have to have 2 birthday parties or chose between who can come to their high school graduation. CO-PARENTS are NOT FEXES…they are (sigh of baby daddy drama) necessary…

    • http://goodeness.blogspot.com GOODENess

      (flag on the play) CO-PARENTS do not fall into the FEX category…they are (sigh of frustration from baby daddy/ex husband drama) if you are a rational parent..you know that you have to effectively communicate with your co-parent for the sake of your child…at least until such time that the child can communicate on his/her own…there is no reason for your child to have 2 birthday parties or have to choose which of you to invite to collegiate graduations (sorry my own ish right there) because the 2 of you can’t at least be civil…in my mind, a FEX is someone you DON”T have offspring with…therefore there is absolutely NO REASON to continue communication other than, cause you “want to”…

      • Cheryl

        i kinda sorda agree and kinda sorda disagree.

        the kids father and i are actually friends. we have dealings with each other that extend beyond the child (ren) we have in common. it is more than a cordial civil communication because we have kids.

        i agree parents should be grown and rational enough to be able to at least feign tolerance of the other (at the very least) for the sake of the children.

  • Leila

    I was with my ex for 7 years and we were friends before dating and we’re friends now. I would hope that any man that enters my life understands that and wouldn’t make me choose. I’m also fine if I was with a guy who was friends with his ex’s. It’s never bothered me in the past and it won’t as long as they’re just friends and nothing more.

    • http://insidethemindofadeviant.wordpress.com Deviant

      I think the fact that you’re friendship with you ex has already been established makes a difference.

      It’s not like they want to be friends all of a sudden, while you’re in a relationship.

      The time frame in which the events occur is a big factor.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      ‘I was with my ex for 7 years and we were friends before dating and we’re friends now.’

      the only question i have when hear situations like this is that if you have such a great and long-standing connection, why aren’t you still together?

      • http://www.5oh7.com Boom

        i’m with you Champ

      • Ana B

        because you can be freinds with a man that you were once romantically involved with but because YOU know that you are not on the same page or compatible in a relationship together that it isnt for you.

      • Leila

        We were young when we started dating and our lives took different paths and we went in different directions. It happens. Luckily, we ended on good terms and we’re good friends now.