Why I’m Friends With All My Ex Boyfriends’ Exes

It always helps to find someone who knows just how you feel.
​A painting of a man trying to embrace a woman
 Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Girls have a way with things. We’re flawed, terrible and scary, but as a whole I’ve never really met a girl I haven’t at least empathised with, and when it comes to my ex-boyfriends’ exes the empathy is off the charts.

When my boyfriend (or thing or whatever) and I break it off the first thing I want to do is vent to someone who knows exactly how I’m feeling: his ex. Sometimes the initial connection happens when he and I are still committed, but it usually happens after. I’ve not realised until very recently, after many insane break ups, that this is my pattern.


Am I the only person who is impatiently waiting for the “hey girly” DM? I want all the gossip.

I want to know everything my boyfriend did to women before I met his deadbeat ass. And they’re always deadbeat by the way, I’ve never dated someone who was not a drug dealer or a heavy drug user. Usually, it’s both at once, and that’s why I get checked for STIs regularly; men who take Xanax don’t remember half of what they do, let alone to put on a condom when they cheat on you with a girl they sold coke to. I don’t have trust issues, I don’t think, but when it comes to deadbeat men there’s a 99% chance they’ve cheated, lied or possibly even abused in the past, so the thought is always there. 

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I dated a stoner DJ when I was 19 whose ex was my best friend’s other best friend. We became a squad of three right after he and I broke up. Next, I dated another DJ (sorry) whose ex used to go to all the parties I went to, so we ended up getting black-out and crashing a bunch of Fashion Week parties together. Later, I dated a skater whose entire lifestyle was summed up by the fact that his literal asshole fell out from taking too many opioids and too much coke, and when we broke up his ex FaceTimed me and spilt more goss than I could have hoped for. Most of it was bad. She lives on the opposite side of the world and to this day, three years later, we still check in on each other. 


Most recently I was seeing a guy who I later found out was sleeping with his (beautiful and amazing) ex at the same time (on one occasion the same night) and we have since joined forces.

When you’re tunnel-buddies you both understand the dick shame you get when you look back on your ex and question your sanity: you let that guy put his shit dick inside you for X months or years straight, raw. And you both had to listen to him justify his shitty behaviour on the fact that his probably non-existent therapist told him he’s “anxious avoidant”. 

By bonding over dick shame you’re validating, then rising above, the fact that you took him back after he called you a whore for having a threesome with two guys before you’d even met (how dare you!), or the fact that you were still dating him after he cut up your priceless pair of sneakers with a pair of scissors because he thought you were lying to him about sleeping with your friend (yawn!).

There’s one instance where I haven’t found a girl-bond through a dick. He lived a pretty mysterious lifestyle and I didn’t ask questions (until one day I opened a door to a room in his flat and was greeted with a heap of weed plants). I didn’t know anything about any of his exes and he didn’t know anything about mine. What I did know was that he was sleeping with another girl regularly. I eventually brought it up and he suggested we all hang out together. I know… I was 21 and he was 31. I liked our thing and I was living in Europe, so it felt uber-romantic in a masochistic way to have a boyfriend who had essentially another girlfriend. 

He made all three of us dinner one night and she stormed out halfway through because she felt he and I had stronger chemistry as we debated about music. She then sent me an onslaught of messages saying he told her my pussy stank. She also poured my cereal all over the apartment floor while he and I were at his parents' house in a small German town for his dad’s 60th. Kind of an iconic move. When both of us were out the other end of that situation she continued stalking my Instagram and sending me cryptic and bitchy texts in German. Anyway, that was a one off. I still empathise with her.

Girls are divine and sacred, I’ve tried dating them, trust me. I just like degrading myself by loving cock too much. And hearing your ex’s ex say you’re too good for him (and vice versa) makes any failed relationship worth it. What’s the point of dating men anyway? Men collect bodies, while we collect friends. We’re making sure they know we’re stronger without them, despite them. 

I hope all my exes’ current and future girlfriends know they can come to me whenever. I’d shout it from the rooftops if it’d reach them. By connecting with the ex we’re creating an indestructible network of femininity that can only be made stronger by one of us scorned. Just imagine when it’s both of us!

Jewel Nichols is a writer and part-time psycho from Sydney who loves to talk about herself and flirt with security guards.