My ex-boyfriend and I wrote these last year in an attempt to remain friends without headtrips over our future sexual/dating partners. It has been exactly a year since we ended our relationship. We thought they might help us stay friends and help other people stay friends with their exes... or at least give you something to laugh at (namely, us for being dorks).
In hindsight, I can see how some of these rules were a little optimistic (while others were somewhat unnecessary, given basic common sense and common decency). Even though our "friendship" kind of faltered sometime after this list was made for other reasons, we still remain on good terms. I still think the rules were a good idea and I still try to follow them as best I can.
1. As exes (and grown adults) we realize that we have given up the right to say whom the other can or cannot sleep with. However, as friends, we also realize that our actions do affect the other. Although neither of us will be expected to put the other's wellbeing ahead of our own, we do promise to consider each other's feelings and to never intentionally hurt the other.
2. No hooking up with each other's friends. In the case of mutual friends, a discussion is required. Acquaintances are fair game, but please use common sense and respect when making decisions such as these. (See rule #3).
3. Random hook-ups and booty-calls are nobody's business but our own and therefore should be kept to ourselves. Exceptions to this rule are: (a) anyone whom the other may see in a social setting (especially if that person knows of our past relationship); (b) anyone that disrespects or hurts the other; (c) anyone who is so much worse in bed than the other was, that it merits discussion and mockery; (d) anyone who has previously been discussed as being an "emotional trigger" for the other, for whatever reason.
4. Dating partners should also be kept private until that person becomes a prospect for exclusivity or until you will be making a public appearance with that person. (See rule #5).
5. If spotted out one night with another person (by the ex or a mutual acquaintance), all benefit of the doubt and opportunity for explanation will be given before feelings are hurt or wrath is incurred.
6. In the case of unexpected "ex-sex", any existence of other sexual partners should be made known, although no details shall be given (only whether other/s do exist at that time).
7. If our friendship is important enough to maintain, it is also important enough to defend. This means that any disrespect from whomever comes after for either of us will not stand. Also a "no pissing" policy should be strongly enforced (that is, no one should be allowed to "mark their territory" on either of us, especially not to spite the other).
8. These ground rules are guidelines. Although both parties promise to try to adhere to these rules as best they can, some leeway should be given according to our personal discretion. If either of us is not completely comfortable discussing something yet, the other should try to be somewhat understanding of that fact. However, dishonesty and malice shall not be tolerated.
9. As friends, we acknowledge that each other's happiness is important. This means that when one of us finally moves on and finds someone else, there will be no scorn, anger, or guilt-tripping of any kind from the other. Moving on is not an attack on the other person or a denigration of our relationship. It may hurt at first, but it is the ultimate goal for both of us to find happiness in our lives.
(c) April 2006