It's probably a question we each grapple with.
Often relationships end in argument and I guess when things are on bad terms, it's easier to figure out the answer.
None of my relationships have ended on bad terms - from my side. One ex is a very good friend and it is easy to spend time with her.
Another ex was my perfect girl. We went through periods of tension and not talking. Then she made an effort and visited me on trips to Joburg, etc. Then suddenly no responses to my messages or any contact. Now I hear she is getting married in April. I'm irritated. Does this mean that even though she told me she was not keen, she maintained contact because she was still making up her mind and keeping her options open?
Another ex is my first and only ex boyfriend. Although I've tried to maintain contact, it's proved difficult and so I've moved on.
Perhaps the most difficult has been the realtionship with my best friend. I've known him for 12 years and been in love with him since pretty much the beginning. I told him that about 5 years ago knowing he was straight and there was no hope of anything happening between us. But I knew that the unspoken sexual tension was forcing a wedge between us and I had to be honest if I was to truly be a friend. We hardly spoke for the next three years. But to his credit our friendship is again strong and since he moved back to South Africa we see quite a bit of one another. That does not mean that the feelings I have for him have gone away. And that is tough.
I think that most relationships with exes where there are remnants of attraction would be difficult for this reason. I still believe this is the respective parties' own issue to deal with and part of life. In the case of my best friend, I know for example that the friendship is so valuable that I need to deal with the feelings I have for him.
That is hard and it is reminding me that I do not meet people I am attracted to in all respects very often at all. And that in the cases that I have, they have never had the same feelings for me. It has inspired a mini-depression and loneliness. Damn.