Today I received a Facebook email from someone who, on investigation, I discovered shares only my ex-partner as a mutual friend. What? Yes, I am Facebook friends with my ex-partner. And when you know that I have been with my current partner for 16 years, you know that we have sought each other out on Facebook not just never gotten around to de-friending each other. In fact, when I first met my current partner we used to go out on double dates with said ex and his new partner. A quick Twitter survey revealed that I am pretty much alone here.

The fact is, for five years this person was the love of my life. We were never even close to being soul mates, or even perfect partners, and we pretty much had an on/off relationship for many of those years, but it was still love, on both sides. Our final split was fairly amicable, we both knew it was coming, it just took one of us to have the guts to say it out loud. Our ‘off’ periods had taught us one thing; we were much better at being friends than at being lovers.

Yes there was bitterness at first, and even a little heartbreak, the kind you have when you’ve finished a really good book, and even though you can go back and read it again, you know it will never be the same the second time around. A failed drunken attempt at a reunion made us both realise we needed to spend some time apart, before we could really be friends. It took us both meeting other people, before that could truly happen.

When you spend a large part of your life caring for someone as deeply as you do your partner, unless there is some kind of betrayal, that doesn’t just go away. Mistakes were made on both sides of the relationship, we were both young when we met and went on the journey of learning what it means to truly love another person side by side. Why should that be thrown away, just because we have moved on in our lives?

Despite having found my soul mate and having spent 16 years with said soul mate, I am still very fond of my ex, not in an undying love kind of a way, but in the way that you care for a friend, and I like to think that that feeling is mutual. We did, after all, seek each other out once social networks came into being.

(Blog title courtesy of @Rhiarti)