173 - Transitioning Relationships

Can you stay close with an ex after a breakup? Multiamory proves that it is possible! In this episode, Jase and Emily explore the subtle nuances of transitioning your relationship from romantic to platonic, the necessary time it takes to transition, and how sometimes it isn't always worth it to try to stay in each other's lives.   

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Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.

Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.
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This document may contain small transcription errors. If you find one please let us know at info@multiamory.com and we will fix it ASAP.

Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're talking about taking relationships to the next stage. The breakup stage, that is. The friends-after-breakups stage, that is. Is that better?

Emily: Sure. Friends-after-breakups stage, sure.

Jase: Even Google knows that this is the thing. When we were preparing for this, I typed into Google, "How to stay friends," and it auto suggested "with your ex" after that. This is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts. Let's talk about our experiences as well as some more general advice about this, some studies about it, and even some things about the people you maybe shouldn't try to stay friends with after you've broken up.

Emily: Our dear Dedeker is not with us today because she is currently in the air.

Jase: You made it sound like she died.

Our dear Dedeker is no longer with us.

Emily: No, I said today. I said no longer, but just she's not with us at this particular moment in time because she is in the air.

Jase: She's on an airplane.

Emily: Not like in the air, in the beyond. Just like in the air on an airplane.

Jase: Just in the air probably somewhere over the Pacific Ocean at this point in time.

Emily: The Strait of Gibraltar or something.

Jase: Yes, maybe.

Emily: I don't know. Is that a thing?

Jase: I don't know where that is.

Emily: I don't know either. If it's on the way to Japan or not, but anyways, you are missed, Dedeker, and we decided to do this episode without you.

Jase: Yes. Emily, can you explain why this episode- why this topic is near and dear to our hearts, even in words and minds specifically?

Emily: Yes. Well, we went on this tour that was two weeks. It was almost really truly the entire month of preparing for going to Tucson, Arizona, and doing this intense multiple workshops, and just our time in Tucson. You guys visited my mom and everything. Then also, it was us going on the actual tour for two solid, full weeks together and then coming back and doing a show here in LA. It was just a very long time of being really together, the three of us, at just close quarters. I was struck by how interesting that all was during this time and how myself fitting into the dynamic of the two of you; how that was and how I felt about that.

Because it is different, obviously, than what I would have done had the three of us all been in a romantic sexual relationship together. It just struck me, like, "I want to explore this a little more and I want to talk about this," because I didn't exactly always know where I fit. There were times we joked about those that we all get into our podcast mode and sometimes the claw's come out and we get a little like, "Blah, blah, blah," especially the two of you sometimes. I intend to fit into this mediator role. Then when that's not there, when all of us are super getting along, sometimes I'm like, "Well, how close can I act towards them?"

"How close- or can I insert myself into their intimacy? Is that not okay?" It's just an odd interesting place to be in and I'm assuming some of our listeners out there feel the same way. I just wanted to talk to you about that today.

Jase: Yes. I guess to give a little bit of context for those of you who are maybe new listeners or-

Emily: Or like, "What the fuck are they talking about?"

Jase: -like, "What the fuck are they talking about?" When we started this podcast four years ago, Emily and I had been in a relationship for a few years. Both of us were in relationships with Dedeker and-

Emily: Brad. Well, not you, but Dedeker and I were in a relationship with Brad.

Jase: Right. We were all connected in this triads/quad, but each relationship stood alone. It wasn't like a couple dating a third or anything like that. Each relationship existed independently, as well as in the way that they were all interconnected like that.

Emily: Yes, and there were moments in that quad-and-triad situation that were the best times of my poly life, for sure. There were some really beautiful, amazing moments during that, but then obviously, things changed. A lot of upheaval, a lot of difficulty, a lot of tension occurred. Basically, the entire thing just blew up and scattered to the wind. Through that, Jase and Dedeker and I were no longer in a romantic relationship with each other. I was not in a romantic relationship with either of them, but obviously, they have remained in a sexual and romantic relationship together.

Jase: However, we've stayed close friends through that. It's changed a little over the years. It's evolved. We've obviously been business partners doing this podcast together. How long ago was this? Because in my mind, it's like, "That's just the other day."

Emily: God damn it.

Jase: Because to me, everything was just the other day.

Emily: No, I know. In ways, it feels like just the other day, but then in ways it doesn't.

Jase: Like three years ago?

Emily: It was around-- Let's see. Around early March 2015.

Jase: Okay, yes.

Emily: When all of that changed.

Jase: Is it like three years ago?

Emily: Yes, when all of that changed.

Jase: Well, a little over three years ago now.

Emily: Yes.

Jase: We should have celebrated our break up per person.

Emily: Yes. Well, we were doing other shit like-

Jase: Planning for a tour.

Emily: -planning for this fucking tour that just happened. Yes, it did change drastically. Honestly, you and I were still living together for a while.

Jase: Yes, we still lived together for-- What? A couple of months?

Emily: Until July of that year.

Jase: Right, it was for several.

Emily: For several months, yes, June or July of that year.

Jase: After breaking up, which essentially, if we were to look at it more from a relationship anarchy point of view, meaning that we ended the sexual and romantic affectionate part of our relationship at that point, but stayed close. It wasn't like we instantly went to being super comfortable and best friends, but that definitely took some time.

Emily: Well, and we'd like-- You even had talked about like "Well, we can do this. We're different than other people. We can try." Our lovely chiropractor, Dr. Mike, was like, "No, move out. Move out." I think in a way, he was right. We did need that distance from one another. I was able to move into a place by myself for three months and that was really lovely. It was a really nice time for me because I had never done anything like that before. Then I know you-

Jase: I got roommates and stuff to live in my place with me.

Emily: Yes, and maybe had a nice healing process from that standpoint as well. I don't know.

Jase: Yes. We've talked about this in the past, but it's been a long time since we've discussed this. Essentially, for us, it was about right around the six month mark where we both realized that we'd hit this transition from this thing where we worked well together. We still cared for each other, but there was definitely trying to renegotiate, how do we act around each other? What is this relationship now? Feeling hurt about it sometimes to about six months to when we both separately had this realization and then talked about it together of like, "Hey, we just hung out," and it was cool.

Emily: Yes, and it was good.

Jase: It was really cool. It was at a Florence and the Machine concert. Maybe it was the magic of-

Emily: Of the concert, possibly.

Jase: -the healing method of Florence and her machine.

Emily: Yes, always, absolutely. She did great.

Jase: Yes, but there was definitely a transition time there. We're not here to say that we did this the best way.

Emily: Sure. It wasn't perfect by any means. I do really appreciate the fact that it's a testament to how we were able to get through shit and it's come out on the other side so well and that we have such a powerful connections still. With Dedeker, too, that was a much shorter relationship for me, obviously, than it was with you, but still incredibly meaningful and powerful in my life in different ways. I think that that's really important as well.

Jase: I think what's also important is the fact that those relationships have continued.

Emily: Yes, to evolve.

Jase: Yes, to evolve into grow.

Jase: I think the way because I've definitely had breakups in the past, especially when I was younger, where we'd break up and we'd say we were going to be friends. Sometimes we would give it a go at being friends and just wouldn't after a while.

Emily: Were those really intense relationships? You were engaged for a while, what happened there? Did you try to be friends with her?

Jase: We stayed civil with each other, but it was definitely I was very hurt by that. I think she was also upset by it. Both of us were definitely like, "No." Like I said, we stayed civil. I think now we're still Facebook friends. I'll see her updates sometimes about her husband, and her kids, and all that stuff. Part of that, that we wanted different things from our lives and we've gotten them. In that way, I don't think either of us are holding out this like, "Man, that was my one shot at happiness and I lost it," which would definitely make that a lot harder.

In those cases, though, it's like I barely have any contact with her. That's not something that's an active relationship in my life. I've had other relationships with access, some of whom I would say that we're friends now, but we don't talk a ton. We're more like old friends, maybe would be a way to think of it because it's like we shared a lot of time together. We have some closeness, but it's not like we're currently close or that we actively still hang out a lot with very many of those. Now, more recently, you're the biggest example of this for me of someone who I feel like I'm even closer with now than I was when we were together romantically partly just because there's been more time of-

Emily: Yes, we have a huge amount of history. It's been going on eight years now.

Jase: Nice. I feel like more recently, I definitely have more access who we're still friends again. Maybe not as actively, or seeing each other as often, but it's, yes, I think of them as good friends because they did share this part of my life where we were definitely very close for a while. That even after some time's gone by, which I think is important, like we said, it took about six months to get a sense of normalcy with hanging out a lot business wise in that time there. We've been living together for part of that. Whereas, if you weren't in a way like forcing yourself into that situation, could even take a little bit longer. There's something actually really nice I found about restarting those relationships.

Emily: Sure. There's such a narrative out there with other people that I've talked to that if you have a relationship and it ends, then you cannot be friends with that person anymore. It's done, it's terrible, it ended, everyone's upset, and you never fucking want to see that person again.

Jase: Yes, the whole like it's called a breakup because it's broken thing.

Emily: Yes, I guess or something to that degree, which is really interesting to me because I never have really felt that way. I think I had one or maybe a couple of relationships where I was like, "Yes, I do not need to see that person again." For the most part, I've remained at least cordial with the people that I've been with before. You've met a ton of my exes over the years. Yes, Josh just met an ex of mine. We went to this guy that I dated in college. We went, he was doing a cocktail party-type thing. We went to that and tried a bunch of cocktails for a new restaurant that is opening. That was a blast. It was really fun.

Jase: To get back to the core of why we're talking about this today, this is a question we get a lot. You mentioned this, it's something that you definitely hear people ask you both about what our deal is and also like, "How do I transition a relationship from being romantic to being a friend?"

Emily: Yes, and people have stuff about you too if they know about me and you and they're like, "Wait, is Jase still dating Dedeker? How do you feel about that? How do you fit into that?" I'm like, "Great, no problem. It's good, it fits well."

Jase: Right. I don't know, it's such an interesting thing because we are taught that there's this huge difference between being romantic with someone and being friends with someone, and that you can't be one with the other, or the common idea. We're going to talk about these in a little bit here about some studies and statistics about this. Just the idea that being afraid to have sex with someone you're friends with, because we have this idea that sex ruins friendships, or the idea that on the other side, we have the thing of like, "The ideal romantic partner for you is someone who you've been friends with first." Especially for me being raised Christian, that was very much the narrative you're given.

Emily: Fascinating.

Jase: Partly because that's because you're not having sex with them.

Emily: You're not going to have sex with your friend, but then when you are united under God, then--

Jase: Then once you finally realize you're in love with each other, then you can have sex, but you already had to have that friendship first.

Emily: So much tension, you know each other so well.

Emily: Good. Yes.

Jase: Yes, God.

Jase: There's that side of it. Then the other side, where it's like we divide-- Not the other side, but related to that is that we separate our relationships by whether they have sex in them or not.

Emily: Yes, and that I think is so interesting. Again, we'll get to that, but this idea that a person is not as important in your life if you're not having sex with them. That a logical fallacy. It's too bad because it also causes things like, you will bail out on your friend before your lover or something, or if you're having sex with someone that means they automatically get the plus one, or they get just various benefits that your friend doesn't get.

Jase: Even if that friend has been in your life-

Emily: For longer.

Jase: -five times longer.

Emily: Yes, way longer. Yes, exactly. It is unfortunate how we place so much emphasis on these romantic relationships over our friendships when in reality, like you and I both know how incredibly important this relationship that we have and the relationship that I have with Emily, how important those are and that I wouldn't want to bail out on you guys for anything. Yes. Even though maybe I have. Sorry, if that ever happen. I think I do a really good job considering we have a fucking business and need to stay on task, but yes.

Jase: For sure. That's not to say that just because someone's your friend means you have to be at their beck and call every second of the day, but there is this-- I think what you're getting at is this assumption that because you're having sex with someone, they're always going to trump every other type of relationship.

Emily: Everyone else. Yes, absolutely.

Jase: I think that for polyamorous people, there's a little bit of a breaking away from some of the traditional narratives, but that one is still so strong. There's two parts to it. One is this that idea that the same thing that you're going to prioritize your relationships that are sexual over your ones that are not. That the ones that have sex involved, which tend to be the ones we also call the romantic relationships, are just categorically completely different from the friendship relationships.

Emily: Yes. When in reality, they're probably not, in most ways. Obviously, in some ways, they might be, but really, they could be more intimate in various ways.

Jase: Are you familiar with the book Save The Cat? It's a book about screenwriting.

Emily: Yes. No, you've had it. Yes, you've had it for many years.

Jase: Yes, I have a copy of it. It's a super famous book about writing films. In it, the author, he breaks down different genres and talks about key components that need to be in those different types of genres and what tend to make good versions of that and what don't, whatever. Anyway, one of the categories is a rom-com, that is, romantic comedy. He talks about how there's this thing where there's the two characters who are interested in each other, but often start out either hating each other, or something happens early on that drives them apart.

Emily: Very much like the-- Who is it? Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and you've got Mel.

Jase: Sure, yes. It's like either they start off hating each other, or they like each other, but something drives them apart, whether it's some kind of lie, or some other obstacle, or something. Then by the end of the movie, they overcome that obstacle and then they get together. Then he defines another genre, which he calls the buddy cop movie, which doesn't have to be cops, but that's the-

Emily: Yes, like superbad.

Jase: -prototype of it. Yes, it's like the Buddy movie. It could be I Love You, Man or Dumb and Dumber.

Emily: Which is totally a romantic comedy too.

Jase: Well, that's the thing is his definition in that book of, what is a buddy cop movie? Is exactly the same as romantic comedy, but with no potential for sex. He even spells that out.

Emily: They seem like they're going to maybe fuck up.

Jase: Well, okay, but these two formats are exactly the same as each other. It's just one has potential for sex and the other doesn't.

Emily: Fascinating.

Jase: It is like it does break down to being like even writing movies like that's it. Just that alone, we define it as a different genre even though all the pieces of it might be the same.

Emily: Yes, okay. If you want to become a friend with your ex, it's not going to happen immediately. We found that, right?

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Even when we were in Boise, we went to an amazing class with Cunning Minx and Lusty Guy are all-

Jase: From polyamory weekly.

Emily: Yes, from polyamory weekly, all about how to- the Art of the Breakup was what the class was called. Cunning Minx talked about it might take a long time to go out to coffee or out to dinner with your ex. It may might take six months to a year. That's something that we didn't really do, we just Dover at the fucking do it.

Jase: No, we didn't. Part of it was that we had a commitment, that we had a podcast.

Emily: We had a child. We had podcast child.

Jase: Well, just to be real, though, for a lot of people staying friends with an ex is about an actual child. Not just a podcast baby, which doesn't wake us up in the middle of the night crying, right?

Emily: Although we might wake up in the middle of the night crying about it. That's the difference.

Jase: Yes, that's true. There could be some practical pragmatic reason keeping you together, or it could just be a choice that you're making, but either, or it could be other factors. Maybe you own property together, or there's a whole host of reasons. If you don't have those, or even if you do, the example that Cunning Minx was making was having a breakup and the other person being like, "I hope we can stay friends and go out for coffee sometime," and she's like, "Yes, absolutely. I just need a little time to recover and regain my sense of self," and that amount of time is going to be a year.

Emily: Yes, they were like, "Okay, like a week or something?" They're like, "No, like a year." Cunning Minx was like, "No."

Jase: That might vary person to person a little bit, but I think that a lot of people make the mistake, and I've definitely done this, of feeling like you can just make this very smooth transition from being romantic and super involved in each other's lives, going for each other's places all the time to being best friends right after that. It's like, "It's simple, we'll just removed the sex and romance part, but we're going to stay best friends."

Emily: How many of us have fucked our exes? You've never done that?

Jase: Probably.

Emily: Yes, come on.

Jase: Come on, but not even that, but just trying to stay friends, but being shitty to each other or just bitching at each other type of stuff.

Emily: Yes, the possibility for that. Totally.

Jase: Also, I remember actually after you and I had broken up and we're trying to be friends, we had some conversation where I forget even who was saying this because I feel this has come up in a lot of times with exes trying to be friends is the sort of like, "Well, I don't feel like you're being a very good friend." The comment that was told to me afterward was, I was telling a friend about this, and they were like, "You know what's funny, is that I think the only time I've ever heard someone say those words is when they're an ex trying to be friends."

Emily: Yes, because friends, you're absolutely right, don't say that. They're just like, "Well, he's fucking weird today. I don't know, whatever, who cares," or just like, "I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt because I don't care." Only if something catastrophic happens, or if it's an ongoing thing and this friend being shitty, would you have to examine that? Yes, you're right. In those types of relationships, it's like, "Well, what constitutes a good friend? Are you actually just transferring on to that person what you believe a good friend or not should be?"

Jase: Well, and I think part of the challenge is re-calibrating.

Emily: Sure, yes.

Jase: It's this idea that, how do you recalibrate what this relationship should be going from a romantic and especially romantic and sexual relationship, where it brought with it all this cultural baggage about how important this should be, how prioritized it should be? All these of things, whether or not those are things we should be bringing to our relationships, is maybe a topic for another time but we still have those. Even if we try to fight against them, they're still culturally given to us. Then trying to be friends it's this like, "What does that look like? How much time is that? What is that? What do I get out of this relationship now?" All those questions don't really have clear answers right away.

Emily: No, absolutely. Again, it takes time, and it takes a little bit of distance, I think, to be able to start answering those questions. We also wanted to talk quickly about friends with benefits because this is something that we've been on about went in our relationship anarchy classes that we've had at the two conferences we went to over tour. There's a study that we were talking about. Can you talk about that?

Jase: Yes. I think this one's interesting because in talking about all this, about how to be friends after a breakup, it's like, "Yes, you can't really do that right after," or maybe people are thinking like, "Maybe it is to break up because it's broken." You shouldn't do that. A lot of people will give you give you that advice just like, "Don't try to be friends with an ex." Then people also, like I said earlier, think about this with friends with benefits of going, "Well, I'm friends with this person. I don't want to have sex with them because I'm worried that will ruin-

Emily: It's going to ruin it.

Jase: -the relationship. In 2013, there was a study done at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.

Emily: Louisville?

Jase: Louisville in Kentucky.

Emily: I live in Cincinnati, it's right across the pond from the river Louisville.

Jase: Louisville in Kentucky. This study surveyed over 1,000 college students. First of all, the second most common reason for people saying why they were hesitant to get into a friends-with-benefits relationship was because they were worried it would ruin their friendship. The first most common being worried that they would develop feelings for the other person that wouldn't be reciprocated, which sounds like being interested in anyone to me, but whatever.

Emily: Yes. No, totally. It's like that's always an issue potentially.

Jase: Yes, but anyway, amongst these 1,000 college students, there were 300 of them who had had a friends with benefits in the past year that had already ended. Sometime during the past year, they've been friends with benefits with someone, but it ended already.

Emily: Meaning, they're just not fucking anymore.

Jase: Meaning they're not having sex anymore. What's interesting is that 80% of those people said they were still friends with that person. The idea that like, "That's the end of our friendship," statistically not true.

Emily: Only 20% is that true.

Jase: Right. If I think about friends I had in college, that's not going to happen anyway. Some you stay friends with, some you don't.

Emily: Sure, yes.

Jase: It changes over time.

Emily: Totally.

Jase: What's more, though, is that 50% of those people reported feeling as close or even closer to this former friends with benefits than they were before they had started being friends with benefits, so before they had started having sex, that they felt now even closer, or just as close as before, so 50%. Again, looking at all these statistics and just being that notion that sex is the thing that's going to ruin a relationship is absolutely not true.

Emily: No, totally. I think at the very least, it's interesting to talk about the way in which our society views sexual relationships and friendships, that sex is going to ruin a friendship, or that a friendship will be ruined, or that a relationship with someone will be ruined by trying to be friends with them instead of having sex with them too.

Jase: On the other side, if you're not having sex with someone your romantic with, that's the ruin of that relationship.

Emily: No, exactly.

Jase: That's what people think. It's like, "If you're not having sex, it must be because you don't love them."

Emily: Yes, or you don't love them in this way that that is as intense and intimate as a sexual relationship. That's why we bring up friends with benefits. Because, again, it's this weird idea of what our society is placed on this specific type of relationship. We're saying that's not necessarily true. Yes, all those ideas. Also, another thing that we wanted to talk about was this Oxford University study, which found that most people out there have a core group of five friends or close family members. Which is interesting if you go back and think about all the people in your life that you're super, super close to that you see on a regular basis. Oxford University found that there's five people in your life.

Jase: About five, it can vary a little bit.

Emily: About five, sure. There's also this idea that when a significant other comes into the picture that that number drops to four. The significant other takes up one of those spots, and then also I think, gets rid of another person. That's really interesting because I know like for myself, I have definitely dropped the ball on friends when a significant other came into the picture.

Less so now for sure, but when I was a kid when I was in, I think, high school, even my best, best friend at times, if a significant other wanting to hang out, I would be like, "Yes, sorry, James. I got to do this." Even in the middle of hanging out. I remember once I did that and he was super upset about it, super offended, and he should have been because that was shitty of me, but yes.

Jase: It's so normal.

Emily: It is.

Jase: I feel like I've definitely done very similar things. I've has friends do it to me.

Emily: It is not looked down upon because it's like, "Well, they're the most important person. They're the person that you're spending the most time with and that you should be. They are entitled to that time." Your friends just need to deal with it. That's fucked up.

Jase: For sure.

Emily: Yes. I don't know, it's an interesting idea. Also, if your significant other then becomes your friend, are they making this lateral move from like, "Isn't that one of the five?"

Jase: They had to take up on of those five and now they're just still stay in that five.

Emily: I don't know but then that's the question of like, "Well, if another significant other comes in, are they going to be the first on the chopping block or not?" I don't know.

Jase: Well, yes. I think that is maybe a whole other discussion, but we've often talked in polyamory about how love is infinite, but time is not.

Emily: Sure, I know. That's very true and unfortunate that one is limited potentially to this amount of people, but you're absolutely right that there's not enough time to see and do everything in one day. I don't know.

Jase: Right, or one month, or one year, or whatever.

Emily: Totally. One week.

Jase: I think week part of this too, and I think this is important when-- Oftentimes after a breakup, especially if it's one that's difficult, even if we do want to remain friends but it's tough for us, we'll tend to lean more on our friends or our family members for the support that we need. Because of that, we might also have less time for that ex-partner who's now trying to be a friend.

Taking that into account, and I think having that buffer period of like, "Yes, let's do that, but let's not place this expectation that we're going to be besties right away and want to do movie nights every week right away." I know a few people who've done something like that and claim that it has worked for them, but so very few compared to the number who've tried to be friends and if not.

Emily: I think it's important to look at why you're deciding to be friends or be friends right away with this person. I think we're going to get into that, but first, we want to talk about ads. If you want to support our show, one of the best ways to do that is to join our Patreon community. We have an amazing community of supporters. Go to patreon.com/multiamory and become supporters of ours at different levels.

You can do anything from $1 to $15 or more. You can really donate as much as you want, but we have different tier levels and different reward levels for each of those. At the $5 level, for instance, you become a part of our private patron only Facebook group, which is awesome. Hard to say, but amazing. That group is wonderful. It's almost what? 400 members now?

Jase: Yes.

Emily: It's over 400 members, which is crazy because I feel like yesterday it was at 100 members. It was only a few months ago that it was 100 or 200 members.

Jase: That's not actually true, but was a couple years ago.

Emily: Yes, but still-- Yes.

Jase: It maybe a year ago.

Emily: Yes, I think it was like a year ago. It wasn't even that that long ago.

Jase: It has grown to be this awesome supportive community where people-

Emily: They're wonderful.

Jase: -can share struggles they're going through, as well as really exciting like, "Hey, I finally got to hang out with my metamour and we got along well."

Emily: Yes, and post cute pictures, talk about-

Jase: In a place where no one's going to be like, "What?"

Emily: Yes, again, community is incredibly important. That is a place to build and that we have built this amazing community of people. It just happened and we didn't even mean for it to, but it's been wonderful for us as well as for everyone on there. In addition, if you are a $9 supporter, you get a video chat with us and other $9 members of our community. We do a monthly video discussion group. Then also at $15, your best friend you can write a question and try to have it talked about on the show among all of the other potential things that we have.

Jase: At $7, you get the episodes a day early and without ads. .

Emily: That's true, and without these ads. You're not going to hear us ramble on about patronage shit. Yes, if you can support us, we would still appreciate it. It is the thing that allowed us to go on the tour and allows us to do basically everything and keeps the show going. Patreon.com/multiamory.

Jase: Yes. Also, if you either already contribute financially through Patreon, or if you just don't want to or can't, another thing that you can do that's actually much more helpful than I think most people realize is to take a moment and write a review on iTunes or on Stitcher. These reviews that you write, help us turn up higher in search results. It helps other people to find our podcast. If they're looking through different podcasts, your the things that you type into those reviews will help show what comes up in the search results when people are searching for the terms that you use and the things that you say.

On top of that, it helps people read those and decide, "Yes, this is a podcast that I think might be good for me." If this has been good for you, please share why that is because someone else might be coming along really needing that kind of information or just really looking for that type of thing and your review might be the one that helps them decide, "Yes, this might be the thing I'm looking for." That would help us a ton. That's iTunes or Stitcher go and write a review. Our sponsor for this episode is quip.

Emily: Quip.

Suck it.

Oh, God.

Jase: Jeez, quip.

Emily: Modern oral care delivered. Jesus Christ.

Jase: Quip is the company that makes these beautifully designed electric toothbrushes. We're talking compared to a lot of other electric toothbrushes very affordable from $25 for the cheapest one up to 40-something for the most expensive this one.

Emily: It was fucking sonic. It was $150 and it broke after one year.

Jase: Yes. Quip is fantastic.

Emily: Buy quip.

Jase: They're fantastic. If you go to tryquip.com, that's tryquip.com/multiamory, you will get $10 off your first refill, which equals one free refill. What the refill is, is the head for the toothbrushes replaceable. It comes also with a new battery. This is actually one of the things I really like about the toothbrush is the fact that it is powered by triple-A battery.

Emily: Yes, and it also comes with toothpaste, with a travel toothpaste and a big toothpaste.

Jase: Yes, which is great as well.

Emily: Yes, since it's a battery, so you don't have to lug around a gigantic charger on your trips.

Jase: You don't have to charge it every day. The battery will last for-

Emily: Really like five, six months, I know.

Jase: -five, six months. Yes, but if you do the subscription plan, they'll send you a new head and a new battery every three months, which is the frequency that you're supposed to change the heads on your toothbrush.

Emily: I have a bunch of heads.

Jase: Because you don't change them often enough?

Emily: I guess I don't. When I get them, I'm like, "Do I need to change right now? Do I really need to change it?" I probably should, I know. That one I suppose she going to change it.

Jase: Yes, but they're fantastic. Also, they feel really good in your mouth. I know that sounds like a weird thing to say-

Emily: I know but it's great.

Jase: -but it's true. It does. They've definitely-- You can tell by the stuff that they send along with the toothbrush, and the stuff they write about it, and how they've designed it.

Emily: It's very ergonomic.

Jase: It's very ergonomic and it's also designed based on what actually cleans your teeth the best as opposed to just what are the cool marketing things.

Emily: Yes, gimmicks and doodads.

Jase: Right, and they talk about the right pressure that you should use for brushing your teeth and that you don't need to stress so much about going in circles on every time because it's actually just as good to go back and forth. With a lighter pressure and anything go through all these things, which I found maybe you don't read all that stuff, but I really enjoyed reading it and I was like, "Yes, this is cool." It's good to know that there's this. These are the things that have been shown through studies to get the most effective ways to brush your teeth. Anyway, I'm a big fan, Emily used, too. We finally had Dedeker on board. She has the quip now and loves it.

Emily: Yes, we brought her into the fold.

Jase: I can't imagine a life without it.

Emily: Thank God.

Jase: She made fun of us for our devotion to quip for years.

Emily: Well, now she knows. Now she's on the train. Try quip.

Jase: Try quip. Yes, tryequip.com/multiamory. It's how you can get $10 off your first refill. If you go to that link, tryequip.com/slashmultiamory, then they will send us some money to help support us keep doing this show.

Emily: Yes. The $7 patrons are really missing out on lots of fun stuff.

Jase: Good stuff.

Emily: Yes. Finally, we wanted to talk a little bit about our merch, if you go to multiamory.com/store, you can buy some bitching merch.

Emily: They have our Super Polies logo, which is really beautiful and fun, in addition, various things that do say multiamory. If you're out and proud, you can wear your Multiamory shirt and it says it on there, but if you're not and you don't want to be super out about, maybe, being polyamorous and you don't want people to know that you listen to a show called Multiamory, then you can wear something that just has our logo on it. We like to call this our secret bat signal because our hope is that you're at the gym or you're out at a farmers' market and you see someone.

Jase: Love that that's what you go to.

Emily: What? Of course.

Jase: I know, yes. That's really good. I love that.

Emily: You were at the gym and then you go to the farmers' market afterwards and then you look across the aisle of zucchinis.

Emily: Then you see someone over there with their Multiamory shirt on and it just is the bat signal.

Jase: You lock eyes across the room.

Emily: Then you're like, "Holy shit-"

Jase: You? Me?

Emily: "-you, me? Yes, I like the word." Then you have made a new friend or lover, maybe, who knows, at least another person who shares your Multiamory obsession. If you want to be cool like that and lock eyes amidst zucchini, then go to multiamory.com/store. Dedeker -, I'm kidding. Sorry, we love you.

Jase: Oh man.

Emily: Okay.

Jase: Okay. Let's get back into it.

Emily: Yes, it's your turn now.

Jase: Oh boy. Okay, we were teasing this a little bit earlier, but the ideas of relationship anarchy, and we've done a couple episodes about relationship anarchy, which you can go back and listen to. If you go to multiamory.com, there's a search bar and it's actually--

Emily: Which most people don't know about.

Jase: Most people don't know about.

Emily: They skip right over it.

Jase: It's actually my favorite feature of our site, actually. I didn't even know that when I installed it on our site years ago.

Emily: Now, it's become that.

Jase: No, it is, honestly. Anytime someone asked me a question about, "Have you ever done an episode on this," or-

Emily: Shit, I don't know. Let's look.

Jase: -"Do you have any resources like this?" I try some things, put them in that search bar, and especially now that we have transcripts for our episodes, it's searching through all of that as well. We're getting even better results on more recent episodes since we started doing transcripts.

Emily: Well done, past Jase.

Jase: Yes, thanks. Anyway, I highly recommend checking that out, but we've done a couple and also, there's some blog posts on there about relationship anarchy, so that's definitely a good resource for learning more about that. Essentially, the core idea there is taking away that hierarchy that we were talking about earlier where someone you're having sex with or who you're romantic with is always going to fall into this category that they're more important than anybody else. Instead, it's about customizing your level of commitment with all the different people in your lives. With all the different people in your life, lives.

Emily: Your multiple lives.

Jase: All your lives.

Emily: Your past and future lives.

Jase: Yes.

Emily: Yes, and I appreciate that too because if, for example, your relationship and its current state isn't serving you, then you can decide maybe together or by yourself just the best way in which that relationship can serve you. For example, maybe you and I, we were not as good romantically but we decided like, "Hey, let's take the parts of our relationship that really work and continue to work and develop those." That's exactly what we did, which is fantastic.

Jase: That those can change over time.

Emily: That's true, nothing is finite. Well, it's all dynamic and nothing is static, that's what I'm getting at.

Jase: Yes, that even something like that about how your romantic life is together or maybe, how your sex life is together or maybe, how well you do at living together. There's a lot of things that, maybe, at one point in your life might be a good fit and at another point in your life might not be. Maybe right now, that's not a very good fit, that as long as you're able to work together, to talk about those things, and to give each other space when you need it and not try to force each other into a certain type of relationship like we were saying about that like, "Well, you're not being a good enough friend," that kind of thing, that there's that aspect of it but also in the future, you might be good at those things again.

For whatever reason, it might be circumstances in your life out of your control or it might just be changes in your own life or in their life, but the fact is that those things can change. As long as you're willing to give each other that space for those things to change, then they can.

Emily: Yes, this is a very intentional way of doing relationships, because again, it's not any prescribed thing that says, "Okay, we're moving upon this escalator," and your-- I think you talked about this, that your brother, once upon a time was like, "Well, if I don't move in with this person, then that means the relationship's over." For example, you and I moved out and weren't together anymore but we still continued our relationship in a different fashion, but it still was there and still was really meaningful.

Jase: Right, and in that way, as we said, moving out actually lead to feeling like, "Great, now, we can be a little closer." Yes. That's definitely been something that's changed. Also, in my relationship with Dedeker, while still being romantic and sexual, we have, sometimes, large chunks of the year, like five months, apart in different countries. Then we'll also have many months at a time up to even close to a year where we've lived together while traveling.

Emily: Sure.

Jase: It's like we can go back and forth between those states. One of those doesn't mean the relationship's doing better and then when we're apart, it means the relationship's doing worse, that instead, the relationship just keeps going. There's just certain circumstances of it that change.

Emily: Totally. Yes, very relationship anarchy. It's good.

Jase: Yes, totally.

Emily: Yes. There definitely can be challenges with all of this, for example--

Jase: I mentioned it on tour.

Emily: Yes. What was difficult for me was that I saw both of you as people that I had been intimate with sexually. Then I saw both of you as this separate entity for me existing in your relationship bubble to a certain degree, your romantic relationship bubble. I didn't always know how to incorporate myself into that, because I was not going to be a part of that romance with you. Yes, I still, obviously, mean a lot to both of you and you both mean a lot to me, but I found myself trying to figure out and juggle at times where I fit with that. I don't know, which is interesting.

I don't know exactly what to say about that but just to be mindful about where you exist within the lives of your friends and that that can also change over time. It was an interesting thing for me. You and I and Dedeker were in Tokyo last year, and I know that we had some airing of grievances. Especially, you and I were able to talk through some stuff. I know when Dedeker and I were together in Bulgaria alone, we were able to talk about some stuff that happened regarding our break up. That was really important for me.

I think just, again, to be communicative, especially if a relationship matters deeply to you, that's a really important thing to go through, even though it can be potentially challenging in the moment.

Jase: Something that I've thought about, actually, when we were talking about that earlier is that when you're transitioning, like when Emily and I broke up and we're remaining friends, it was definitely difficult for that first while because I think there was definitely hurt on both sides. Even if we felt amicable about it, there's still some things that you're hurt about. We talked about some of those things. Then we said around six months, things, all of a sudden, felt much better. I think what's important to realize is that those things still might come up again.

That conversation you mentioned in Japan when we both talked about those things again of what some of our hurts were at that time or the things that we perceived at the time or how we felt at the time, we talked about those things and that was two and a half years after it had happened, that it's not like we've talked about it, we've clarified it, we're done.

Emily: No, totally. It still can come up and things can change and evolve, even within your perception of what occurred and how you fit into that and not saying it was a blaming thing or whatever, it was just like, "Hey, this is something that still is challenging."

Jase: Yes, and it wasn't a happy conversation obviously, but it was good to be able to talk about those things and to be very real with each other. I think that's something that, at least in my experience with you, Emily, the more time has gone by since then, the more clear and honest I feel we've been able to be with each other, because it doesn't feel as much like you're trying to blame the other person for something-

Emily: Yes. How fascinating that is.

Jase: -because there's some time separating you.

Emily: Sure. No, absolutely, but even when you're in-- I know for myself, sometimes, when I'm in intimate romantic relationships, it does become this tit for tat thing or this thing of, "Well, you're doing this to me," or you take something so much more personally than when it is a friend. Again, to air those grievances in a way or discuss them in a really proactive and mature way as opposed to maybe when we would have been together talking about those things, there would have been a lot more emotion behind it. Not that it wasn't emotional because it was, but still, you're able to speak about it in a better fashion.

Jase: Perhaps less defensiveness.

Emily: Yes, totally, which is really fascinating.

Jase: It's interesting, actually, in talking about that, I found actually the same thing for me, even with Dedeker, in our relationship, talking about stuff that happened further in the past.

Emily: Yes, I can imagine.

Jase: I imagine our listeners, too, who've been in a relationship for a longer amount of time have definitely found something similar where you can talk a little more frankly about things that happened longer ago because it doesn't have that immediate like, "I'm saying you're bad," but instead, we can talk about the situation a little more objectively because we have more distance. In this case, distance in the fourth dimension of space-time.

Emily: Yes, I get what you're saying.

Jase: Yes, because like Emily was saying, and we won't get into all of this now, but around that time, three years ago, there were a lot of changes and a lot of difficult things that happened in all of our relationships, each with each other and also with Brad and other people in our lives that a lot of things really got shaken up around that time. Dedeker and I are also able to talk with each other much more frankly about that now and really, honestly help each other understand ourselves better by saying, "Well, this was my perception of what happened then and these were things that I noticed happened.

Whether that's because I'm seeing a similar thing with you now or I'm noticing how different you are now that we're able to have those conversations in a way now that we couldn't a couple of years ago when it was fresher." I've definitely found that with you and I, like you were just talking about, that we were able to talk about all that, to really be honest about the hurts we were still holding onto and allow each other that time to talk about that.

Emily: Yes, and the process, which I think again, it can be a really important thing for our listeners. I'd like to think just to give yourself time, but if you still do have a relationship that is out there, that you hold onto, and that your friends with still, things like this come up. Maybe that time will give you the ability to talk about it in a better fashion or just a less intense, less emotional fashion, maybe.

Jase: I think that's part of the importance of giving that space too and allowing that transition to happen.

Emily: For sure. Even on a super micro level, like in disagreements that you have with anyone, giving a little bit of space, which for me, is fewer, is really difficult at the moment, but it can be very good. It can be very good to give just a slight amount of space.

Jase: This brings us to the question of why stay friends with an ex?

Emily: Yes, exactly. I don't know. There are a multitude of reasons. Obviously, for you and me, we wanted to, we made that a priority. From the beginning, we were like, "No," we still want to be in each other's lives. There's still so much good here and we don't want to let that go.

Jase: I think there were a number of factors, right? There was that.

Emily: There is the podcast.

Jase: There's still a lot of good here but then, there was also a logistical thing, the podcast. We still have this together.

Emily: Which was very young at that point, but we knew that we wanted to continue it and we really were committed to that.

Jase: Yes. We found this study when I typed into Google earlier, how to stay friends with an ex. One of the studies that came up was a 2017 study that came out of the University of Kansas. This particular study was looking at people who have stayed friends with an ex or have tried to stay friends with an ex. One of the things they found is that through some surveys that they did, they identified four main categories, four main reasons why people will choose to remain friends with an ex. The first of those is security.

By security, they mean like, "I don't want to lose the trust or the advice or the friendship that I have with this person." The next one is practical. That's like we were talking about, you have a podcast together, or you have a kid together, or you own a house together.

Emily: Ours is both of those things a bit?

Jase: Right, I think we have both of those aspects in ours. The third one is civility, which is more like, "Well, I don't want to hurt this person. I want to be kind to them." I think there was an aspect of that one as well.

Emily: Sure.

Jase: Then the fourth one is unresolved romantic desires. This is you decide to remain friends with an ex because you still feel like you're in love with them and still want to be romantic with them. First of all, they identified these four reasons and like we were saying, you might have some of each of those but if you get really honest with yourself, you might see like, "I think I'm definitely more in this category than another."

Emily: Yes, definitely, like parents who still have kids. Yes, they're in one specifically, probably, for a big reason.

Jase: Right. What they found in this study is that then they looked at two things. They looked at how long those friendships lasted after the breakup, then they also looked at how positive those relationships were. Positive meant feeling good, feeling like you're getting something good out of that relationship, it's a relationship you value, and negative being feeling things like jealousy, depression, and heartbreak and a lot of negative emotions tied to that relationship. What they found was that people who stayed friends because of either the security reason or the practical reasons led to the most positive friend relationships after a breakup.

Emily: Interesting.

Jase: Then the one that's really interesting is that the one that was unresolved romantic desires resulted in the most negative relationships, like feeling the most jealousy, upset, depression, and heartbreak about that friendship, which isn't necessarily surprising, but the really surprising part is that they also were the longest lasting friendships.

Emily: Fascinating.

Jase: Not only were they not giving you what you wanted-

Emily: It's like someone's holding on. Yes.

Jase: -making you more unhappy than they're making you happy, but they also tended to hold onto them the longest.

Emily: Jeez. Yes. I know, that's really tough. It does go into the next thing which I wanted to say, which is who are these people that we shouldn't, maybe, remain friends with? That's a good example of one, like someone maybe who we still harbor these feelings for but they have moved on from you. It's not necessarily--

Jase: It's an attempt to not let them move on entirely.

Emily: Do not let them go and move on, exactly. When somebody can't let the relationship go or when somebody wants different things than you do, then maybe, that's a good sign of like, "Okay, I need to let this go." That can be really difficult in situations like that when you still have deep feelings for them.

Jase: It can be hard to admit to yourself.

Emily: Yes, it's like, "Well, no, I don't want to see them do poorly or miss out on something. I still want to be involved in their lives. I care about them so much," but what are you really feeling here?

Jase: Yes, I definitely feel like I've been in that situation.

Emily: Yes, definitely.

Jase: In one way or another, even not a breakup but someone I've been interested in and said it and they've said that they're not but then trying to maintain this close friendship. I think that's a very similar thing of it tends to lead to more negative feelings than positive ones but also, can really get drawn out a long time, and it's hard--

Emily: It's like a heady, needy experience.

Jase: Yes, it's a hard thing to see in yourself-

Emily: Totally.

Jase: -admit what are those reasons? What would be some other reasons why not to remain friends with an ex?

Emily: Well, obviously, this is a given, but somebody who's emotionally or physically abusive to you, don't fucking keep those types of people in your life. It's interesting because I had a relatively emotionally abusive ex who I ended up having to live with the year afterwards in college, because we had signed a lease over the summer, then broke up over the summer, and then got back to school and we had to live together in this place.

Jase: That's why we say, "Don’t sign anything in the first year."

Emily: Don't sign anything. Just don't. Yes, that was a bad idea, but he ended up-- After some shit really went down and we were both really upset and it was clear that he was relatively emotionally abusive, he ended up apologizing profusely to me. I really did appreciate that and I still have him in my life to a degree, because I think that he understood the way that he had treated me, that he had been emotionally abusive, and that that was a really bad thing in my life and in his. He apologized and I really commend him for that.

Jase: That's definitely a minority of cases?

Emily: Yes. I'm assuming, I don’t know. I'd like to think that people have the wherewithal to say like, "Wow, I was an asshole," but I don’t know if they do.

Jase: Well, that's the thing. In truly abusive relationships-

Emily: Sure.

Jase: -especially if it’s a systematic thing that that person is doing, it doesn't tend to go that way.

Emily: Yes, you're right.

Jase: It does tend to be something that will just continue whatever type of relationship it is. I think that what gets people caught up is that they feel like, "Well, if I don't stay friends with them, or if I don’t stay in a relationship with them, that somehow, I've failed." We have this idea that if a relationship fails, it means you're a failure.

Emily: Sure, that's true.

Jase: I think it's a big part of-- especially for me, a lot of relationships I've stayed in longer than I've wanted to is because I didn't want to fail at them-

Emily: Interesting.

Jase: -because I, definitely, was taught this idea that we praise relationships for how long they last not for how good they are.

Emily: Yes, that's true.

Jase: Right? Someone has their 50th anniversary--

Emily: Like, "Oh my God, grandma and grandpa were in a relationship for 60 years. Wow," but they don't talk to each other ever.

Jase: Well, that's the thing, maybe they do, but we don't stop to ask that question. We just go, "Congratulations," or, "Wow, that's so amazing," or, "That's so romantic." Just lasting is the thing that matters. That's the reason to do it, and that's the advice I would get from my grandparents about that sort of thing which is that is all that matters, and if you're not doing that, you just haven't either matured enough or don't have enough faith in God or haven't worked hard enough or something. Right?

Emily: Yes. I don't know. Who else would you not want to be friends with after the fact? Again, yes, just somebody who doesn't share the same hopes for the new relationship that you do, someone who's planning or someone who wants certain things from you that you can't give or just anything, if it doesn't fit the structure in the type of relationship that you want, maybe it's not the best thing.

Jase: Yes, and I think that's important to bring up, because we mentioned emotionally or physically abusive people, don't try to remain friends with them. Really don't. I know it can be tempting, because you might think that they need you, or that somehow, that will make things better, or you'll get that apology you never got before, but that's most likely not going to happen and instead, you're going to stay in that bad, abusive situations. Really do get out of that and seek help if you're in that sort of situation to help you see that for what it is, but even aside from those more extreme examples.

I think, also, if it's a relationship that just doesn't bring more positive emotions than negative ones to your life, even as a friend. We talked before in that episode about The Science of Happy Relationships of saying that 80% to 90% of your reactions, if not higher, should be positive ones. You should have this minority that are more negative. As opposed to some people who are like, "Fifty-fifty is good enough, right?" That's not. That's not a way to have a happy relationship.

Emily: Not for your friendships either.

Jase: The same is true with your friendships, and I think that with our friends-friends, we just do that more naturally?

Emily: Yes.

Jase: Where we just drift away from friends, if we feel like this is more-- its like, "I'm not having a good time when I hang out with this person," You might just hang out with them a little bit less. Right?

Emily: Yes. This person is negative or whatever. Yes, you may just not return their calls as often.

Jase: Right, or just if the two of you don't get along. It might even be okay that they're negative, it's not like everyone has to be happy all the time, but maybe, there's some incompatibility there, that it's just not positive. I feel like if it's just always been a friendship, we let those drift apart, whereas if it was a formerly romantic relationship and we have this like, "If I can keep this friendship going, then I haven't failed, " even though the romantic part's ended, I think we can definitely fall into that trap-

Emily: Sure. Yes.

Jase: -that can keep us in those relationships that aren't serving us, that might actually be making our lives worse, even if we feel proud of ourselves for making them last.

Emily: Sure. That's not the end all do all of the relationships.

Jase: That's not the goal. Yes.

Emily: I guess, finally, just with all of this, nothing is an absolute. Nothing is absolutely final. When we're talking about all this stuff, you might find that even that friendship that transitioned from a romantic relationship, maybe, isn’t serving you later on in your life. You might find that that relationship becomes a romantic relationship again. It can continue to change and ebb and flow over time, so that's great and that's awesome.

Again, from the relationship anarchy standpoint, you get to decide, you both together get to decide what that looks like, and that's really wonderful that we, as human beings, get to choose that and that we don't have to do this thing that just this relationship, that escalator, and that's it, with anyone.

Jase: Yes. Not even in your romantic relationships, but also-

Emily: Sure.

Jase: -even moving toward friendships, that-- I've found, it sounds terrible to say, but the older I get, and I'm not very old yet, but the older I get, the more I see like, "Gosh, things can really change over time." I think especially seeing all the ways that our relationship has changed over the past eight years from being these young kids meeting and starting this--

Emily: Yes. I was fucking 22 when I met you-

Jase: Jeez, such a crazy--

Emily: -and I'm 30 now, crazy.

Jase: Starting that relationship to all the stages that we went through monogamously, to then opening up, to then being polyamorous, to then breaking up, and then being friends, and then building to this even closer emotional friendship, seeing all that and just being like, "Man, you know what--" I feel like so many times in my life, I've given a lot more meaning to the way things are right now, being like, "These things are the way they are right now," or, "This relationship is as close as it is right now, because it was meant to be," or-- Right?

Emily: Yes.

Jase: There's some meaning of like, "This has got to be the one," or, "This has to be the place I'm supposed to be," or like, "This is the answer to all my relationship problems." Instead, now, with a little more time perspective to see that, it's just like these things can always be changing.

Emily: Yes, they're whatever they are in the moment.

Jase: You're still able to choose, what are the good relationships in my life? Then also, how can I make those better? How can I be intentional? Not just accept what happens to me. Be an active participant in all of my relationships, whether they're my friendships or my romantic relationships or my business partners or whatever it is.

Emily: Yes. I guess I have, at one time, been all of those things.

Jase: Yes. Exactly.

Emily: Yes, and I think we've done a really good job being intentional. Good on us, and hopefully, good on you all out there. Hopefully, you learned a little something from this.

Jase: Yes. I think even making space to be intentional about them, whether it's even something like having a radar with your friends.

Emily: Yes.

Jase: Right?

Emily: Which I've still never done. I need to do it. We have our own business radars all the time.

Jase: Right, or maybe we should do a radar?

Emily: I know. Jeez.

Jase: Great. Well, we'll do that, we'll report back to you.


Jase: Yes. Thank you all so much for spending this intimate Dedeker-free episode.

Emily: We love you, Dedeker.