Today I am so pleased to welcome M.W. Lee to Joyfully Jay. M.W. has come to talk to us about his latest release, Balancing the Weave. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving a big welcome!

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When I read this excerpt, I’m tossed back into so many conversations I’ve on a first date. Somewhere along that conversation I’d hear, “I’m friends with all my exes.” Or “I’m still friends with my ex; we are still close.” 

It was always presented as a badge of honor, as if he had risen above the pettiness of fighting to be this glorious person who can put that aside the reasons for the breakup close friends. Typically, when I’d disagree, I’d receive that side eye down the nose glance. You know the one. The one that says you’re still a child. I never get to explain why I do not have friendships with exes.

In this conversation, I get a chance to explain my position fully. The truth is that even though the breakup hurt me, I still do love my exes. Time of course helps ease those feelings and the intensity dwindles, but love lingers. For me, love is an intense emotion, one that doesn’t disappear because of the romance ending.

From my own life, after ending with a lover and months of not speaking or seeing each other, we reconnected and started hooking up. All those feelings began again, and I noticed that my fantasy started seeing us as actually getting back together. It’s because of love being such an intense emotion. I had to stop it.

I’m not saying that being friends with exes isn’t possible. Once I met two men who were sharing an apartment, they were ex-lovers. I asked one how it was to live with and become friends with an ex-lover. He said that they had dated twenty years before and had cut off contact when they ended. He said that they had reconnected and were able to establish a friendship because they had spent so much time apart and had become different people.

When I ended with a lover, I talked with a friend about how in time I hoped we’d be friends in time. He said something similar: “By that time, you’ll be different people, and it wont matter.” 

I think being friends with exes is possible with time and change. However, when I meet a man who had a break up and became friends right away, I have questions.

Exclusive Excerpt

In this scene, Mark remembers a romantic date with Sammy. They’ve gone to a play, and now they are having cake and coffee at a romantic café. 


The conversation continued lightly about the romantic aspects of the play. They then turned to talking of past romances and the endings. Mark still maintained friendships with his ex-lovers, whereas Sammy did not.

“You see, for me,” Sammy said, “the connection between two people who were intimate sexually and emotionally is so strong that it cannot be erased with a breakup. The feelings linger and will well up with contact. If the tie is not completely severed, these feelings will begin to play tricks, tell you there’s a chance of a reunion, tell you the breaker-upper is changing his mind. It never happens.”

“Just because the relationship ends, doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends,” Mark countered. “I mean, legitimate reasons exist on why relationships end. Reasons that don’t produce the same permanent anger that cheating does. Incompatibility.”

“In those cases, it doesn’t take long to discover incompatibility, and a relationship never develops. I can see bumping into the guy and being friendly. But hanging out? No. If we’re incompatible, why would we be hanging out?”

“I’ve met guys who say that they’re better friends than lovers.”

“But isn’t that when they don’t work out sexually? Isn’t that when they discover that both are bottoms? Again, it goes back to a relationship having had no time to develop. There are cases where that’s just a lie and one remains hopeful for a second chance.”

“How can you stop liking someone when you break up? I understand being angry, but anger loses power in time. Why not be friends after a break?” Mark’s voice raised a bit, not in anger but in nervousness. “I mean, if you cared about him?”

“Stop liking him?” Sammy asked with a breathy smile. “I’ve not stopped loving any of my former boyfriends.”


balancing the weave coverFor Mark, Pride weekend in Yamasee County, South Carolina, means spending the day with friends, flirting with the out-of-town men, finding a romance, drinking too much, and enjoying all of Pride. However, the Fates have arrived to address a hole which appeared in the tapestry representing Mark, his past, and his present, which will direct him to the future.

Throughout the day, the Fates confront Mark with memories both pleasant and painful about his former lover Sammy. Parcae uses her goddess tools to manipulate Mark’s thoughts so he remembers fun dates, fights, issues which make him uncomfortable, and accusations of being needy. Was it Sammy’s neediness that caused Mark to end the relationship? Or was Mark the needy companion? When Sammy once said Mark ain’t needy, what did he mean?

Can the goddesses help Mark work through these memories so his self-evaluation can lead to better relationships in the future?

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M.W. Lee bio photoM.W. Lee studied English at Limestone University in South Carolina, and DePaul University in Illinois. He has led many lives, as an adjunct professor, data entry clerk, ESA teacher in Saudi Arabia. Currently, he has a new day career as an HIV case manager with the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center. His personal essay, “The Sea and Debussy” appeared in the on-line journal The Scarlet Leaf Review in October 2021.

Lee works during the day and writes at night. “Balancing the Weave” is his first published novella. He enjoys reading a wide range of fiction; however, space operas, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic fiction are his favorites. He is currently writing a crime novel.


M.W. is giving away a $20 JMS Books gift card with this tour:

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