Old Flames… It’s Cool If We’re Friends Right?

Athol:  Married dude calls up old flame to discuss things. To his great surprise it’s like stepping into a emotional Narnia as everything comes flooding back. They talk for 4.5 hours on the phone.

Thus the question…. is it possible to keep this on a friendship level?

Er…… no. No it it isn’t. It was a mistake to even call her.

HamsterMan:  No, it wasn’t a mistake.  Calling her up cleared up some mental crap I had been carrying around for a long time, so that was an unalloyed good.

My intentions are completely honorable.  Geography makes a Physical Affair impossible.  I don’t want an Emotional Affair.

Is there any way to get into the friend zone?  Lol, when did people start to want that?

Athol:  Well, okay. If you kill her sexual interest in you, it could work. Maybe you can…

Call her up and start talking about dolphins getting caught in tuna nets and cry for 10-15 minutes.

Talk about how when you watched Bugs Bunny as a kid, and he dressed as a girl bunny, you felt confused inside.

Tell her you have erectile dysfunction.

Drunk dial her at 245am her time. And 310am. And 325am. And 430am. On a Monday.

Have your wife screaming in the background of the call that you need to go to the store to pick up tampons for her.

Mention your colostomy bag keeps falling off. Your insurance was denied and now you have to use ziplock sandwich bags and they’re hopeless.

Call collect. Then ask her for money.

Use the joke, “Yes, but why is the rum gone?” seven times in the same phone call. Then text her it twice.

Ask if she’d consider making a healer for World of Warcraft.

Tell her you jizzed in your pants thinking about her. Two weeks ago. During a funeral.

I mean you realize when she Friendzones you, she’s not going to take your calls right?

What’s the point of this exercise?

No. No you can’t.



  1. greenlander says

    One of the things I struggle to deal with is when girlfriends do this with their exes.

    What’s the best way to handle it?

    If you lay the smack down, it looks beta and clingy.
    If you let it go on, it will bite you in the ass.

    Athol, you probably already wrote a post on this and I’d find it if I wasn’t too lazy to search.

  2. Clarence says

    Let’s just pretend that trying to ‘police’ your partners former flames and friends isn’t high on the list of every ‘abusive’ behavior known to the DV industry and woudn’t be considered a sign of a controlling personality and thus fodder for divorce court.

    Even so, if I can’t trust myself that I’m not gonna ‘hit’ again every girl I’ve ever ‘hit’ before, then what does that say about my character or my marriage vows? And my wifes too?

    Just when does this kind of thing warrant monitoring and when does it warrant worry?

  3. Smashmaster says

    Did my first material contribution to your blog have to be this one?

    There’s no link to you until you commented and left your ID

  4. MMA says


    The hardest thing I’ve learned since taking the Red Pill; when a relationship is done, you are done.

    You cut off contact completely. Completely! No phone, no email, no Facebook, no texts. You are a ghost.

    Don’t bother to be friends. That doesn’t mean hating that person; but that time is done; the relationship is expired, they are cold product, last year’s model is obsolete. Move on.

    Smug aloofness, if anything, if you happen to run into them at the grocery store or some public place. Be polite, acknowledge and greet, but keep moving. Go get a fresh beer, turn down the next aisle and buy your pork chops,

    Never. Go. Back.

    Don’t delude yourself that it can work out; don’t pretend that what ended the relationship is no longer going to be an issue. We look at people in the best light, particularly at a time after the relationship ended and the pain of the break up is over. We forget that reason and we look at that pain as not being a bad thing.

    You can’t do it. Just cut ties. And don’t play the game with her rationalization hamster if she contacts you.

    Just keep moving. Let it hit you and roll off like water on a duck’s back. You have a future ahead of you, and it doesn’t involve your ex.


    So say we all.

  5. Q says

    ok, so then the other way around … let’s say I’d like to add an old flame back into rotation. That one should be easy then, I guess?

  6. says

    I wonder the same (as with trying to make you jealous).

    I suspect a real alpha wouldnt try to prevent her from doing whatever she wants but on the other hand he would ler her know that whenever he sees/hears/guesses something which is too much FOR HIM he’s gone forever.
    Or am I wrong?

  7. says

    If you lay the smack down, it looks beta and clingy.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to lay a smack down, rather one should lay down the rule. A simple “That is unacceptable.” with a solid frame might do it. Might she whine, complain, yell, etc.? Are your probably going to get the excuse “We’re just friends and you should just trust me!” thing? Yes. Simply stay calm, repeat it with maybe a bit stronger eye contact (direct with more intensity) and walk away. If she calms and talks to you about it in a rational matter, explain why it’s inappropriate. She knows it is, deep down as does this man above. If she is your girl friend and she doesn’t listen, leave. If she is your wife, that’s a more difficult thing. Athol could answer this situation better than me.

  8. Rachael says

    For some men and women, it might be cool.
    But I don’t know of any men that tolerate it, and I know of very few women who tolerate it.

    And if you hide the friendship from your wife, EVEN WORSE. Try to explain why you have been talking/texting an ex, and why you were HIDING it from her. (“I KNEW you were going to explode if you found out,” is not going to be an answer accepted by any rational wife anywhere.)

    So, wives and husbands, do your spouses a favor, don’t accept that FB friendship, don’t pick up the phone to make the phone call or text. There are PLENTY of friends you can make, plenty of old friends you can call that are NOT exes… And if you can’t find that many friends that aren’t your ex-sex partners, maybe you should take a look at your boundary-setting issues , work on those, and work on making NEW friends that don’t cross the line EVER…

  9. Rob says

    Can’t agree more with @MMA and @Rachel.

    How lame is it to relive yonder days with an ex, even as a “buddy”. Your life moved on. The only reason to circle back is because your future doesn’t look as good as your past. That’s a beta move.

    The romantic version of this turning out hunky dory is based on sitcoms which wrote these scenarios so they have a character who has enough background info on the lead to perform benchmarking for the other supporting interests and to info dump history required for current episodes to make sense. It has nothing to do with mirroring reality.

    No reason to go back. It’s weak. Deep down you know it too.

  10. Dale says

    One time, and finding out her feeling are alive, can be life-changing. I once in one week found out that all four women I had gone to propose to had been in love with me. (Suprise, the first three had sain no repeatedly, the fourth wanted to have her say first when I went to propose and broke up with me.) Two were and still are friends. The two that were actively in love I haven’t really spoken to since. Oh, and my wife has met the two friends.

  11. G says

    yes, Q, it *should* be easy to add right back into rotation in many cases.

    That is why it is *not cool* to keep them around so readily…
    It is *too easy* to rotate them back in…
    One more drink, and they are right back on the merry-go-round, in fact…
    For many, it is just so exciting to get your flirt on, especially if YOU were the dumpER.
    Then you feel safe, you can feed your ego any given day… But you do know it is *not cool*
    So, What Rachael, Dale, and Rob said. I especially like the way MMA said it…

  12. Beth says

    I think opening the door to this sort of thing invites problems in the marriage.
    Marriages become vulnerable with negative associations and stronger with positive associations. So if one spouse is going to another person for their positive emotional fix, even if it doesn’t go to the physical, it is going to be a stressor on the marriage. This is true even for a close friendship with the opposite sex outside of the marriage.

  13. Beth says

    I should have said in the last line above, true for ANY close friendship with the opposite sex, ex or otherwise.

  14. ZLX1 says

    @Racheal and @Rob and @Beth:


    In general…

    Hey gang, didn’t we already cover this? That men and women can’t be friends? C’mon now, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

    Ahh, Fu&KBook, Twitter, MyPlace, Text, E-Mails, Chat Rooms, Forums, the Lolz inducing conveniences of modern technology. Stay classy world.

    God, honestly, I just want to puke sometimes at the sheer volume of dumb that goes on. Maybe I should stop swimming upstream, ditch the last bits of moral quibbles I have and dive wholeheartedly into all this.


    I have to look at myself in the mirror.

    You want other chicks in your life? Not satisfied with the wife and domestic life? No problem. Just strap your balls back on and get the wife’s okay to see other ladies on the side, or tell her you want to swing, have an open marriage or whatever gets your freak on.

    If that doesn’t go over so well then cowboy up and get that divorce, pay your exit costs and then live free and easy however you like without all the deception. Don’t be chicken. Be a man.

    You want to live a certain way? Don’t hide it. Have the balls, you supah-alpha you, to live it and take your licks as it were by living honestly with your choices out in the sunlight for the world to see.

    Thought so…

    Otherwise, STFU with the whining about how bad married life is treating you and stop pushing the edges of what you know is unacceptable and shitty behavior on your part and making it worse. Do something to make your marriage better, not shoot yourself in the foot, or quit wasting your wife’s time and get out.

    Same goes for you chicks.

    ZLX1 – out.

    (PS: While ZLX1 does not condone getting married and thinks you are r-tarded, he fully supports you staying that way if you already are, and wants you and the wife to be as happy as pigs in shit if at all possible.)

  15. Clarence says

    Well, my question wasn’t answered.
    I’m not talking about ‘adding’ people back in, but pre-existing friendships and etc.
    Those come with the territory. By all means avoid your exes if you can, no problem there. But does this mean you have to drop existing friendships just because you get hitched?
    If that’s the case marriage truly is finished. Not only because of the lack of good people who will stick to their vows but also because last I heard it wasn’t supposed to be a monastary.

  16. ZLX1 says


    There is actually a super simple answer to your question that is guaranteed not to harm your marriage or to hurt your spouse’s feelings if the friend in question is of the opposite sex and it’s an issue: The answer is Yes. Nix them. (The friend, not your spouse lolz.)

    That’s not the answer people want to hear. They always want room for exceptions and special circumstance and room to wiggle and maneuver and “yeah but, this is different, my situation is special circumstances!” Lolz.

    There are some people that walk around the Earth and who would think nothing of inviting people they used to sleep with to be at their wedding. They would not tell their betrothed that somewhere in the audience is someone they used to tap or get tapped by, who is sitting there snickering and smiling smugly as they take their vows.

    Other people would think it extremely disrespectful to their current partner to have any association at all with an ex or to give their spouse any cause for concern so they don’t create these situations to start with.

    Take two people, you put them together in a relationship and they might have completely different ideas about all this and different expectations, not to mention people often do the old – “do as I say not as I do.” So, you know what you get? That’s right! You get LOLZ!!!

    I personally think the term “friend” is thrown around way too loosely and does not mean what people think it means. An acquaintance, someone you know by name or who you work with is not the same as a friend for starters. People that you used to bang, that you want to bang, or that want to bang you, even if the feeling is not mutual, aren’t friends either, big difference.

    As we have previously established, but yet some do not want to believe, or they believe they and their “friend” are special exceptions to the way life works for the rest of us; men and women cannot be friends unless there is 0 (ZERO) sexual attraction from both sides of the equation and their never has been.

    If even one of the parties involved has a stirring of the loins at any point: past, present of future; nope, can’t be friends. Even then…………..you could be playing with fire. People deny, deny, deny what’s going on in their heads and in their private parts.

    Now add in all the easy peasy ways people have to find each other online or communicate in secret beyond the sight of the Eye of Sauron, even half way around the world in minutes, and you have all kinds of potential trouble brewing. The Lolz quotient is super high.

    So, what to do if your spouse has a “friend” and the situation bothers you? How do you sort out who is really just a friend, and who is a friend that they have hanging around with a special little secret? Tee-Hee!

    There is no way to know really, unless your partner is honest, but how do you really know that? (Hint: you can’t 100% – sorry.) Or you stumble upon a lil info, or buy a lie detector kit. That would be a fun evening!

    So, I think each person has to go with their gut. Does some behavior or personal association your partner has going on make you uncomfortable, feel taken advantage of, disrespected, or deceived? Your gut will tell you all you need to know. That seems good enough reason to me to not put up with something, whatever that something is that is bothering you.

    You can have your say about it, and then they can make their choice. You get to make a choice if you want to put up with something that irks you if they won’t stop. You always have a choice as to what you are willing to put up with.

    Or, I suppose you can say nothing, and just decide in your mind that your partner’s boundaries and behaviors are not your cup of tea and next them without a word. Move them down the ladder in your mind from potential GF material to “fun toy” status until something better comes along. Or “As soon as the kids hit 18 I’m divorcing your ass” status. It’s always kind of been that way in relationships though hasn’t it?

    On the reverse, if you are doing something like the subject matter of Athol’s original post, I’m pretty sure most people recognize that as a “no-no.” Ideally you should make choices that take your partner into account. If you give a crap. Whether you do or not is up to you.

    I understand that it can be hard to give up something you want, to make a sacrifice for another. It can be a real drag. I know. I think there is a word in the dictionary for when you do that for another person but I can’t remember.

    Well, I’ll leave you with an example to think about, here goes…. My ex-sister in law has lots of guy “friends.” She is married. When she comes to town from out of state to visit her folks and she is visiting solo, she often goes out to dinner with one of these guy friends, just him and her. Guy and a girl out for a night, dinner and drinks, maybe see some sights stay out till the wee hours and talk about old times…have some laughs!

    Points to ponder:

    Is that a date or just friends “hanging out”?
    Is that wrong?
    Should she not do that?
    Is that disrespectful to her husband?
    Even if he says it’s “okay” do you think he really thinks it’s okay?
    What does your gut tell you about the situation I have related?
    Does it signal to you that she’s full of shit?

    One day I asked her “Why are you going out on a date with another guy when you’re married?” Of course she got madder than hell, “IT’S NOT A DATE!” Sure. Her reaction proved my point. She knew what she was doing. Make no bones about it. I’m certain that her husband would have loved to have told her to stop that shit, but you know, that would be controlling and abusive.

    So complicated. Or, yeah, there is that simple answer I gave up above….


  17. jack says

    As we have previously established, but yet some do not want to believe, or they believe they and their “friend” are special exceptions to the way life works for the rest of us; men and women cannot be friends unless there is 0 (ZERO) sexual attraction from both sides of the equation and their never has been.


  18. anthiochus epiphanes IV says

    I don’t know if my situation applies to anyone else but I’ve remained friends with a girl I used to be in love with when we were teens. She lives in another country and is married.
    When I travel and I’m going to her country or city, I call her up, we meet and most of the time her husband is there too and we chat and hang out, etc. They have no kids so it’s still possible for them to do activities outside of the home. I don’t think my friend has any romantic feelings for me. I don’t feel anything romantic for her anymore, because, among other reasons, it’s been a while and she doesn’t look as good as she used to when we were teens anyways.
    Also, I know that we are very sexually incompatible and that things wouldn’t work out ( I’m rather kinky an she is not). Btw I know those things because we discussed them back then and I’m assuming that the info is still valid.
    It’not complicated at all. She and I share some academic interests and I really enjoy the great conversations and the opportunity to spend quality time with interesting people. When we meet, we talk almost endlessly and we get along really great. But then we don’t talk for 6 months, easily. I think it’s clear to her husband that i’m *really* just a friend and that’s Ok with me too. I’m basically a friend of the couple at this point, and if her husband had to spend some time in my city, I’d gladly go out and have a few drinks with him. We wouldn’t chat about his wife. We’d just chat about common interests.
    I’m probably very unusual but I for one am perfectly able to be just friends with women.

  19. ZLX1 says

    @ anthiochus epiphanes IV

    Yes the situation you describe is highly unusual.

    You are only perfectly able to be friends with a woman that you have absolutely no sexual interest in, at this time. Apparently she might think the same as you, maybe…

    Next time you are out with her alone, (dumb), I bet it wouldn’t take much alcohol and one or the other of you to make a sexual advance or confession of “fweelings!”, and then you’d be raw dogging it in the parking lot within minutes.

    You have thought about doing this. How do I know that? You’re a guy.

    You said “I’m probably very unusual but I for one am perfectly able to be just friends with women.”

    I say: Bullshit. You are not special from the rest of the human race.

  20. anthiochus epiphanes IV says

    I have been alone with her several times and all we did was hang out and chat as friends. As I’ve said before, she doesn’t attract me anymore. Not that I find her ugly, but she’s really not as good looking as when I used to love her and most importantly I know that she’s not into the freaky stuff I like a lot.
    I have no idea if she still finds me attractive. I didn’t ask.
    I really have no intention of ever having sex with her again.
    Also, I like her husband and would feel bad about betraying him in that way.
    I like my friend very much but I’m not interested in her in a sexual way. Could I ever go back to liking her ? It’s possible but I don’t think it’s a good idea so I don’t dwell on it and I don’t fantasize about her.
    I think what’s different between me and most guys is that I’m very, very, very good at controlling myself.
    I may feel some sexual attraction for a fem friend but i can *easily* decide that I won’t act on it and it’s no torture to me. It must be a hormonal thing because it seems to be very difficult for other guys, lol.
    This is why i said that i must be an unusual guy.
    Don’t get m wrong : I think the rule about guys not being able to be friends with girls applies for the vast majority of guys. It’s true. I just thought it’d be interesting to mention my data point as a guy with a pretty unusual profile that allows him to be very easily “just friends” with some girls.

  21. ZLX1 says

    @ anthiochus epiphanes IV

    Yeah but, yeah but…

    Okay, I will believe you when you say you that you don’t want to bang this chick, at this time.

    Questions for you though:

    What if she dropped a few pounds, dressed hot and did her makeup nice prior to you arriving for one of your solo outings with her?

    Does her husband know you used to sleep with her?

    If not, does that secret give you satisfaction? I’m asking for your honest thoughts.

    If he does, was there any discussion or how did that knowledge get dropped?

    Gut check for you: She’s an ex GF, and while you enjoy the conversations you have from time to time, she’s married. What exactly are you doing in all this? Wouldn’t your time be spent more productively elsewhere?

  22. anthiochus epiphanes IV says

    As i said before, I meet her when i go to Europe and i’m in her area.
    To me it’s exactly like if I called up a male friend when in that area.
    It’s fun to spend time with people whose company I enjoy.
    I don’t really have that many friends so I don’t want to get rid of former friends for no good reason.

    I don’t know if her husband knows. For sure he knows that I’m a lifelong friend of hers.
    Most of the time when I see her, he’s there and I prefer that actually, as it avoids ambiguous situations and my goal is not to find myself in ambiguous situations with her. The secret would give me no satisfaction at all. I actually think her husband is a pretty good guy and knowing him reduces the chances that I’d try to cheat on him with his wife, because I’d feel even worse about it than if i didn’t know him.
    I’m being totally honest with you. If I get married I will invite them both, because they’re friends and I was there at their wedding and i was NOT laughing at the husband at all.

    I think you have a real hard time understanding that I get something out of the interaction and
    that it’s not a waste of time for me. I just really enjoy deep, nerdy conversations with smart people.
    It’s a very, very fun activity for me and when I meet people like that I don’t want to get rid of them.
    She feels the same way.

    Also, as i said before, i think your rule is perfectly valid for the most majority of people.
    But as with most human traits, guys must differ in their horniness or their ability to control that horniness, right ? Isn’t that why you can find a few people like me who have extremely high self control and you can also find guys who have so little control that they have sex with sheep just because they have to spend a month without women ? Even if i felt like i wanted to bang her again, I deeply believe that just because i feel like having something, it doesn’t mean that i must have it. So If she got me hard I’d just control it. I have lower than normal libido so it’s not that hard for me.

    In final, reading this isn’t useless to me.
    It allows me to understand how most people feel about those kinds of situations. I don’t want to get rid of my current friends but I do intend to stop making new female friends.

  23. cannibal_animal says

    Very unlikely to be good news if you’re married. You didn’t call her so you could joke about old times, you called her because you still have feelings for her and she stayed on the phone because she still has feelings for you. You’re willingly exposing your marriage to temptation.

    On the other side, I offer a litmus test: Would the friend or former ex she’s talking to be okay with having a 30-minute solo conversation with you? Would you be able to go out to the bar together and be bros? If so, he’s safe. A poacher would hate you too much to do those things.

  24. Joel Burton says

    Oh, I get it. Because those suggestions that suggest emotional vulnerability or interdepedence with others prove that you’re not sexy.

    What a sad, limited life you lead, original author.

    Risk factors are risk factors. Managing them is why I have a happy, joyous and expansive life.

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