After you’ve ended your relationship, one big looming question is whether you can remain friends with your ex. There’s no clear answer to that question. It depends on you, your ex and how the relationship ended. What worked for your best friend might not work for you so don’t look at people around you for references. Trust your instincts.
Reasons not to be friends with your ex
There are many reasons why you’d choose not to be friends with your ex. Here are some:
- Your relationship was abusive and you want to cut all contact with your ex. You’re worried that if they trace you, you might fall into a cycle of abuse once again.
- Your partner did something unforgivable. They might have lied to you about something very important, or could have cheated on you or breached your trust in a way that can never be fixed.
- You are still grieving your relationship. The wounds have not healed and you can’t think about being friends with your ex until you’ve gotten rid of all your bad memories.
- You fear that you’ll rebound. You think that being friends with your ex might just lead to both of you ending up together again. And you know that’s unhealthy for you.
- You still have very strong feelings for your ex. You can’t contain them and being friends with your ex will just make you more miserable.
Tips for being friends with your ex
But if you do decide to be friends with your ex, here are a few tips for you:
- Give yourself time after the break up. Don’t rush into being friends with your ex. There might be negative feelings left from your relationship and that doesn’t build a good foundation for a friendship. Only start seeing each other as friends if you know there are no bad feelings left.
- Don’t be pushy. If your ex is clear about not wanting a friendship, respect their space.
- Know your motives. Why do you want to be friends with this person? Is it because you are trying to woo them back into your life as a partner or because you genuinely treasure them as friends?
- Take one step at a time. To fit into your ex’s life as a friend after having been in an intimate relationship is challenging. So start off gently. Start by calling each other on birthdays, sending emails, text messages etc. Call off meeting each other until you think the awkward phase has passed.
- Don’t discuss sexual or romantic topics in the beginning. If you’re dating someone or have a crush on someone, don’t discuss it with your ex. You can be honest with them about your love life but spare them the details.
- Share your new relationship status with a good friend. It’s always good to let a trusted friend in on how you’re dealing with a new friendship.
- Avoid flirting or a physical relationship with your ex. This can be dangerous because before you know it, you might end up in a situation which leaves you both confused and unhappy. Remind yourself of all the reasons that led to the break up.