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441: Ex Romance

A Thousand Things to Talk About
441: Ex Romance
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Full episode script

Back in episode 169, we talked fairly extensively about this question when discussing how we treat, or want to treat, ex romantic partners. But there were a few big misses in that episode. For one thing, how you treat someone may or may not have anything to do with if you are friends with them or not. And while remaining friends with your exes can be — to quote from that episode — transitive and transformative — it also missed the fact that the definition of an ex romantic partner has been undergoing a transformation of its own.

Around 2013, there was a spate of articles and discussions and hand-wringing over “the end of dating.” Quoting from MTV Insights, the MTV research team’s blog:

It seems everyone these days is bemoaning the state of 20-something relationships, from The Atlantic to the New York Times to Thought Catalog. Just this weekend, the NY Times published The End of Courtship,lamenting that hook-up culture has replaced traditional dating. Millennials have a love/hate relationship with hooking up. As the author of The End of Men explains in the NY Times “Nobody says, ‘I love the hookup culture,’ and nobody says, ‘I want it to change and go back.’ ” A lot of our panelists feel conflicted about this dynamic, and many who long for something more serious say they put on a front that they are “cool” with a casual hook-up.

Even in more quote-unquote traditional relationships that do follow the relationship escalator into marriage, there’s a redefining of what the end of a relationship might look like. A May 2017 Buzzfeed article about “divorce selfies” took the internet by storm, and ended up reposted all over the place. These selfies commemorating divorces were more bittersweet or friendly than they were contentious — which, sure, is probably partially due to the fact that if you’re friendly enough with your now-ex to take a selfie, you’re probably not hating each other.

Yet as marriage and relationships themselves are redefined over and over again, it would stand to reason that friendships and ex-romantic relationships may also get redefined. So maybe it is as much about what you consider a friend to be as it is about how you end relationships?

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.