Dear Marcie,

Can you really be friends with your ex? Should I extend the olive branch or is it just not worth it?

Signed, Friendly

Dearest Friendly,

This isn't up for discussion. My definite response is a strong NO; not a dramatic No, but a democratic No (just learned the difference). All is not fair in Love and War. Bruised egos and hurt feelings abound during and after a break-up, albeit the levels depend largely on whether you're the dumper or the dumpee. Regardless, tensions are high. I don't pretend to have the answer to every possible scenario (I don't), nor do I have the space. Suffice is to say, it's generally a bad idea to let the endless carousel of emotions lure us back toward a fading star.

In most instances we look to extend the olive branch more out of validation than anything else. No one likes to feel as though all that time and effort was meaningless and wasteful. It wasn't. We learn from our experiences and take certain key lessons into the next chapter of our lives. Keep your eye on the prize and never settle for less than you deserve. If you carry yourself with class, grace and dignity, the time will come when your match shall be met.

Of course, meeting someone new is about opportunity, which is hard to create if you've still got issues with the ex. The recipe for a stringless break-up begins with, as with many things, cleanliness. There's no need to transform your ex into another unnecessary phone pal, nor is there a need for "catching up" via cell, internet, or other technical devices. Learning more about someone you're done with serves no useful purpose. You're hanging on? Just remember, this is the same person who no doubt bathed you with an array of reasons they were your true beloved and couldn't live without you. Now every day re-affirms their conscious decision to move on with their lives without you. I smell a Rat. Why boost their ego? Rats can find food by themselves. So kick on those dancing shoes and stomp that Rat.