Is Having Sex With Your Ex OK?

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sad couple in bed
Can being being physically intimate with an ex hold you back from moving on?

Question: I just broke up with my boyfriend of three years, but he's still hoping we’ll end up together. Neither of us is dating anyone new, so we still have "ex-sex" occasionally. He insists he can handle it emotionally, but is it wrong to continue when I have no intention of getting back together with him?  –Sasha, 29

Her Take: In general, I see nothing wrong with temporary ex-sex, as long as 1) it's still fun and not too depressing; 2) you're not doing it so often that it keeps either of you from meeting someone else; and 3) you're absolutely honest and forthright about exactly what this is (which is, basically, using each other until someone better comes along). Personally, though, I'd do it only if I was the dumper, not the dumpee. First, I'm not a big fan of being used. And also, there's no way I wouldn't hold out hope every time we dimmed the lights that this would be the time I’d change his mind: he’d realize how amazing I am, confess that he can't live without me, and come crawling back. Then, when this didn't happen—when, in fact, he cut me off cold because someone more promising came along—I'd be doubly pissed at him for having used me (even if, yes, he told me he was doing it at the time).

Here’s the thing, though: I don't think a break-up necessarily has to be done in one fell swoop. If it takes a few weeks or a month, and you feel that hooking up occasionally during that time wouldn’t be a terrible thing for either of you—then I promise to cover my eyes and not judge you. You wouldn't be so much postponing the pain (or purely using him) as simply letting him down slowly. In Defense Of Ex Sex

His Take: It’s wrong. Please stop. Now.

Why? A little story: a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), a woman I'd been dating for four glorious months broke up with me. I know—I couldn't believe it either. But her old boyfriend was moving to town (she'd moved away from him for grad school but they'd never officially broken up), and now he and all their history had to be dealt with, which she suggested could take a very long time and meant, essentially, that I needed to pack my relationship bags and move on.

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  • 93% of people agree that breaking up with someone digitally (via Facebook, text or email) is unacceptable.