Keeping Your Ex Around?

With many people waiting until the 20s to get married, there's a greater chance that you have several "exes." You were once an item but now it's over. Can you have a relationship with your former flame?

Kate White, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, visits The Early Show to offer some practical advice about handling an ex.

"There is no rule that says you have to erase them," White tells co-anchor Rene Syler. "They meant something to you at some point. But you have to put them in certain categories."

The former boyfriends break out into four categories:

  1. Can keep him in your life as a pal?
  2. Keep him around for the occasional "fling."
  3. Keep him as an "acquaintance."
  4. Toxic guy - cannot maintain any relationship at all.

The following are the pros and cons of each category:

White says, "That's a guy who, chances are, you broke up with him in an amicable way, that maybe you didn't regret breaking up with him. It could even be someone who you were more pal-like with during the relationship, kind of a brother-sister thing. And the lust meter doesn't go off when you see him. So that makes him good pal material."

Is there a danger here? White says, "You need to watch his body language. Does he accidentally let his arm brush against yours? Be really careful that the ashes are stone cold in this relationship."

What if you aren't interested in a long-term relationship, but would love to get together with an ex for an occasional fling? White says, "You may be broken up; you're not married, not in a relationship and the world is lonely and you want a little fling. You may feel a lot of chemistry for this ex, but don't want anything more. A good test for this guy is: How would you feel if you never saw him again? You have to be careful with this one and make sure you're not kidding yourself about the relationship. You may have a habit with him that's really not going anywhere."