The Hook Up: 9-8-2010


Hi Anna, I’ve been in several short relationships with women (and a few long ones), and while very few of them have ended badly, I can’t ever make the transition to friendship that other lesbians seem to do with ease. I’m not sure why this is, but I’d like to have more friends and fewer ex-lovers that don’t speak to me anymore. What can I do?

Anna says: It’s true that staying friends with our exes is a common lesbian trait (some might say “curse”), but not everyone excels in this arena. I struggled with it for years, until I realized that maybe I shouldn’t break up with people via text message. Just kidding, I’ve never done that. (It was G-chat.)

There are a number of reasons you might have trouble transitioning to friendship with exes. Some theories: One of you isn’t over it. You’re still sleeping together. It’s too hard to back pedal from lover to friend. You refer to her new girlfriend as “Succubus.” You’re Lindsay Lohan. You haven’t allowed enough time and space to pass, etc.

I’ve found that that last one is often one of the biggest reasons that would-be friendships fizzle. We don’t make clean breaks. Sometimes we don’t even make clean bends with exes, but proceed to go about our lives with them as if nothing has changed. So, that’s advice tip #1. Take some time off. Don’t text them or Facebook stalk them or hang out at their favorite juice bar in the hope of seeing them.

Advice tip #2: When you do start to ease your way back into each other’s lives, don’t immediately ask them about their love life. Neither of you really wants to know, and such talks can all too easily lead to jealousy, hurt feelings, and crying at Starbucks. Nobody wants that, least of all me, who just wanted to enjoy my half-caf vanilla latte in peace.

Advice tip #3: Set boundaries. If you’re one of those magical wood nymph creatures that can have sex with their ex and not have it adversely affect anything, more power to you. If you’re not one of those people, then don’t do it. If you find you are perfectly capable of seeing them once a week at your underwater basket weaving class, but any more time and you start getting twitchy and anxious, then don’t push it. Respect your needs, and hers.

And for the love of all that is sacred, don’t break up with her via text message. Unless she’s Lindsay Lohan because you never know what that girl’s got up her sleeve, in addition to the drugs, that is.

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Hailing from the rough-and-tumble deserts of southern Arizona, where one doesn’t have to bother with such trivialities as “coats” or “daylight savings time,” Anna Pulley is a professional tweeter/blogger for Mother Jones and a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Find her at and on Twitter @annapulley.

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