Music and poetry are full of references to really evil exes. Especially in country music, where the singer's ex typically takes everything but the walls of the house and the dog. However, at least in my case, I get along really well with most of my exes. Probably because our breakups were less about screaming and accusing each other of horrible things and more about quietly saying "This isn't working, is it?" Oddly enough, this somehow has let me remain friends with people who're very important to me.

Last weekend, my ex Ian came to see me. I picked him up at the train station, we went out to dinner, and then watched a movie. We went to bed and cuddled. Nothing sexual happened. We talked for about two hours. I cried. He told me a lot of things that I needed to hear, and we calmly discussed some of the problems with our relationship, including the things that finally killed it.

All in all, it made for a very good, albeit intense, experience. It couldn't have happened if we'd parted on bad terms. If either of us had been a dickhead about the breakup, we both would have lost the opportunity to learn more about ourselves, and hopefully become better partners in the future.

And the overall point: If possible, stay on good terms with people you've been intimate with. They can be very vaulable resources.

While I must admit that I do have a less than stellar relationship with most of my ex-boyfriends, or they have simply dropped off the face of the earth, I agree that having exes in your life can be a good thing.

They remind you of the things you didn't want in a relationship, and keep you from getting caught in that trap again. Now that you know what you don't want, seeing the ex again reminds you again of how much you disliked that character trait. It makes it easier to find people that you do want to be with if you can identify the things that you really want and don't want from a relationship.

They know a lot of things about you that other people might not, including close friends, so they can be invaluable for advice. Of course, this depends on if you are on good terms with the ex or not. They've seen you naked. They know the dirty little secrets that a lot of people don't know. When someone knows things like this about you, you have to realize that their advice could be right on the money. I know that's true of a couple of exes that I talk to regularly. They almost always know what to say that will help, and will call me on any bullshit that I might be using as excuses.

I'm glad that as an adult, I've generally been able to remain on good terms with the men in my life that I had an intimate relationship with. Its not easy, especially if you end up hurt, but it can definitely be a good thing.

At first I read the title as "Axes can be good things"... hmmm, is this a mass-murder node?

Anyway, I digress. For me, my ex's are a standard with which to judge future potential girlfriends. I have only briefly talked with my latest ex and she is nothing but bitter at the world. Now that she is my ex-girlfriend I am able to see her in a different light, and realize that she wasn't meant for me. And I am able to see clearly all the things that weren't so good about her; things like her immaturity, her inability to manage even small amounts of money, her stubbornness and her lack of ability to communicate, the later of which was a stumbling block for us.

So when I met my latest potential girlfriend and we started dating, I was able to more clearly define what I am looking for. Can she talk about things? Has she reached a certain level of maturity? etc... it's not that I can't let go of my ex-girlfriend. I've already done that. So I guess I'm not comparing future girlfriends to my old ones, but instead using old girlfriends to help me define what I'm looking for and to help me decide what's important to me in a relationship.

As for having ex's in my life, I have yet to have a girlfriend that I continue to have a actual friendship with after a breakup. It's not so much that our breakups have been on bad terms so much as for me I find it hard to just look at the fruit after you've had a taste of it.

I'm not sure why, but someone said that my write-up made it sound like I am only only interested in girlfriends for sex... maybe it was the "fruit" comment... so I'll clarify (not that you care). That isn't the case. I like having a girlfriend so that I have someone to share my life and experiences with. And so that I have someone to talk to; about anything. Sex is just a good side effect of the situation. I have lots of friends who are female, and tonnes of friends who are male (most due to my Army reserve service) and I enjoy doing things with them too. And the fruit comment? For me, that's just how I feel. So there. :)

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