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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SL Letter of the Day: Invite Ex?

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Very soon I will be hosting a Christmas party at my house in which almost all my friends have been invited. The issue is my ex-boyfriend (who was also my first boyfriend) is one of the few who was not invited. The ex and I have several mutual friends, and my current boyfriend is friendly with him as well. A friend had asked me if the ex was allowed to come, and it put me in an awkward spot.

We broke up more than 5 years ago; we were engaged but I had come to realize that I was way too young to get married, and various things about him made me not want to spend the rest of my life with him. Things were very rocky for a while—basically because of our job overseas we continued to live together in the same apartment for 6 months until our contract was up. He passed the time going out with friends, partying, and bringing girls home, while I stayed home and felt miserable hearing the noises through the thin walls and waking up to see used condoms in the garbage in the kitchen. Those 6 months were the worst time of my life, and they had me very angry at him for quite some time.

Eventually that died down, and since then we've seen each other at friends' houses, parties, etc., and been civil. I don't feel any anger towards him now, but I do not really like him. I find him stupid, immature and loud—things which back in the early days of our relationship had been glossed over by that first-relationship naivetee, I guess. And I realize it would suck to be one of the only ones not invited to a party that everyone else is going to, and it may make me come off as petty and grudge-holding, but my undeniable gut feeling is that I'd prefer not to have him at the party.

I already have said no to the friend about the ex coming to the party. What I'm wondering is, am I being an unreasonable bitch for not wanting to be friends with my ex?

To Friend Or Not

My response after the jump...

••••••••••••

I don't think this is about being friends with the ex, TFON, but being friendly with (to? at?) the ex—and not for his sake, but as a courtesy to your boyfriend and the friends you have in common. Backing up for a moment...

Is your Christmas party going to be a small and intimate affair—the kind of party where the host is forced to interact with each of her guests—or is it going to be a large, crowded, boozy bash? If it's the former, don't hesitate to exclude your ex. If it's the latter, perhaps you should reconsider.

Do you find your ex completely intolerable or merely unpleasant? If you don't mind him that much now (even if you're still pissed at him—and rightly so—for they way he treated you then (don't deny it)), perhaps you could invite and avoid. If you can't stand the sight of him, don't invite, don't explain, don't apologize.

Is not inviting your ex creating more grief for you—is it creating conflict with your boyfriend, the friends you have in common, prompting you to write me, etc.—than inviting him would? Yes? Perhaps invite. No? Don't invite.

Ultimately, TFON, it's your party, and you get to invite and exclude at will. I'm only encouraging you to perhaps maybe kinda sorta consider inviting the ex. But if you don't want him in your house under any circumstances, well, then that settles it. Explain to your mutual friends that you're only inviting people you actually like, not people you have to strain to treat civilly, so no ex/exes.

If a mutual friend presses you to invite the ex, explain that you don't want to be burdened with any unpleasant memories—even for an instant—of the worst six months of your life at your own party. If she continue to press, point out that your ex is an adult and he can make plans to hang out with some of his other friends the night of your party; if he has no other friends, he can go to the movies. If she presses on, extend a dis-invitation to her too.

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