And You Say He's Just A Friend, Issa? 5 Women Share Their Rules For Dealing With A Complicated Ex

Lauren Porter Aug, 14, 2018

Insecure is back, which means the drama has returned too! The hit HBO series is once again in rotation on our Sunday night lineups with its cast of lovably messy characters and, of course, we’re the season premiere already has us talking.

At the end of season 2, fans saw Issa (Issa Rae) proudly proclaim that her former fling and situationship with Daniel (Y’Lan Noel) was over and their relationship would be purely platonic from then on. She was so secure in their “friendship”, in fact, that she asked to bunk on his couch after she broke up with ex-boyfriend Lawrence and had to move out of the apartment they once shared.

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In the season 3 premiere, their new living situation got pretty weird….fast! Issa had to stand by and listen to Daniel have sex with other women in the next room and then confused him when she asked him not to do so and to be more respectful of his feelings. We get it. There is a fair share of dysfunction on the dating scene for some twenty-somethings, especially when the lines are blurred, questions arise and feelings are caught.

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So are there new rules to dealing with an ex or does traditional wisdom still apply? We asked five twenty-somethings about everything from birthday messages to periodically staying in touch–and at this rate, the only advice we have for Issa is “run, girl.”

Jasmyn Lawson, 26, Single, @jasmynbeknowing

Anyone who knows me, knows I care a lot about birthdays. I love to celebrate the people in my life and go all out. So, when it comes to moving on from a relationship and ending things that includes all communication. Ironically, almost every guy I’ve dealt with over the past few years just had a birthday (Lord, protect me from the Cancers and Leos). I sent some a personal message and some I did not. And I measured my growth by letting go of the need to say something.

I definitely didn’t do it out of spite, but more so to protect my energy. Cutting ties in communication is healthy and most of the time necessary in order to move on. And I don’t expect them to reach out on my birthday either. If you have a set goal to heal and move forward your actions should reflect that. I’ll be honest and admit this is something I’m still teaching myself. Wishing someone a happy birthday or sending a holiday message can seem so small and if for you it’s not a big deal them by all means text away. But for me I rather not and it’s something that I wish to be better at moving forward. Hopefully, Drake drops “Nice For What” part 2 to keep me inspired.

Amber J. Finney, 25, In a relationship, Co-Founder of Brown Girl Alchemy 

Birthday and holiday texts is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The intention is to open up this portal of communication to see where you truly stand in your exes life. If they respond, it’s a sigh of relief that ya’ll are on okay terms. Now, if the response turns into a full blown conversation, laughs over the phone and belated birthday plans, then you already know the deal; the finesse worked. If they don’t respond, that literally means your identity is null & void. Never try again, it’s over over.

Brittney Oliver, 29, Single, Founder of Lemons 2 Lemonade

I don’t see anything wrong with periodically staying in touch, especially if you both have career synergies and ambitions. Sometimes we fall in love with ambitions and that could be the downfall of relationships, but because you both believe in one another and truly want the other person to win, I don’t think anything is wrong with checking in now and again and offering support. People can work well together, but it doesn’t work out romantically and that’s okay. If you see your ex is finally launching that business he always talked about there’s nothing wrong with giving a congratulations or offering to your service as an event planner to do the launch party or run the social media because you need some extra coins. If you got a new job and your ex is looking for contract work and you know he’ll be really great for a department that is not yours then offer to pass his resume along. I noticed the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson manages a business with his ex-wife and they do it really well. He’s at the height of his game now that they are divorced and she’s been riding the wave since the very beginning. They are making tons of money together but they both have moved on with different relationships.

Morgan Pitts, 27, In a Relationship, Creator-in-Chief of Black Girls Who Blog 

I personally don’t find sending an ex-birthday and holiday messages to be warranted behavior if you’re going out of your way. For example, if you have to manually search the person’s name in your phone and draft a text, that’s doing too much; however, if you still follow him/her on social media and happen to scroll past a post of him/her announcing it being his/her birthday, I think it’s cool to reply with a basic “happy birthday!” comment. This is, of course, if you’re doing it with pure, kindhearted and genuine intentions to wish this person well.

Virginia, 28, Single, Social Media Editor 

Interaction with an ex is always conditional. To determine how to move forward and whether or not you should remain in contact or cut the cord completely is dependant on a number of things; the primary ones being: 1) Is your desire to keep in contact rooted in fear or insecurity? 2) Did your relationship end on good terms? 3) If you decide to be intimate post-breakup, can you trust yourself to separate lust from the emotional connection? 4) What’s your end goal for the relationship?

If the answer to number 1 is yes, then you need to take some personal time and work on self-care before reaching out to him/her/them again. Questions two and three are mutually exclusive. If your answer to question four is a little shaky (i.e. not a definite “It’s over for good” or “We’re on the same page, but the timing is off”), then you need to be wise about how intimate you are in your interactions with him/her/them because it’s easy to fall back into old patterns and habits. Rule of thumb: Don’t call him/her/them when you need an emotional rescue— rely on your homegirls or your mom for that. Generally speaking, I’m very much in support of keeping in touch with an ex as long as we ended on good terms (i.e. our friendship is still intact), my actions aren’t rooted in insecurity, and we’re clear on where we stand emotionally and—if applicable—romantically.

What say you on interaction with an ex–casual or otherwise–in the process of moving on?