In the aftermath of his Twitter fight with Wiz Khalifa, Kanye tweeted this: “Me and my wife got the kind of love that can turn exes into best friends.” While this kind of love may be true for the likes of Gwyneth and Chris, mere mortals who were unable to book a Super Bowl halftime show last weekend will have to work a little harder.
Staying friends with exes can be an act of self-preservation. Exes, after all, are people we once gave pieces of our hearts to. When those relationships end, what becomes of those pieces is what becomes of a smartphone left unattended in a crowded place: it gets lost. And once they’re gone — the people, the pieces — who’s to say you’ll ever get them back?
The older I get, the more I realize how hard it is to find people I really connect with. One hundred and one Tinder matches don’t add up to 101 people to talk to; it just adds up to 101 awkward handshakes… or whatever the kids call it these days. Finding people who know the incognito search histories of your soul but still want to talk to you anyway is rare, so why should you let a little thing like heartbreak get in the way of possible long-term friendship?
The simplest way to look at exes is by going back to our high school geometry lessons about the Cartesian Plane: exes are the constants in a world full of variable whys. Exes are like the airplane black boxes of our lives — recording vital information about what went on before a crash that help us answer all our unanswered questions. They are time capsules of different phases in our lives that easily remind us of our favorite songs, movies, books and outfits. They are hard drives of our past selves before all the software updates and system crashes. They are road signs that serve to warn us about what kind of a-holes we can be when given the chance.