It's not impossible to be friends with someone you dated post-breakup. People cut ties with their ex-partner because it gets messy sometimes. Plus, the fear of getting back together multiple times is a real thing.
Changing the dynamics of a romantic relationship to something platonic isn't a piece of cake; you have to mentally and physically determine that you want to remain friends.
Even when you're friends with an ex, it's automatically a different type of friendship from the ones you have with guys you haven't been in a romantic relationship with – there are unspoken boundaries.
9 Things To Consider When Staying Friends With An Ex
Whether you can remain friends with a romantic partner also depends on the type of relationship you had with him and why you're not together.
Remember, nobody is saying you have to be friends with this man; it's entirely both your decisions to make. You know you can still be in each other's life without being all friendly, right?
Plus, breaking up on good terms is not enough to stay friends with a former lover, even though it's a good start. However, if both of you are cool with it, staying friends with the ex may be possible, but there are some important things you should consider.
1. Have Some Time Alone
You need time to mourn a broken relationship before rekindling any flames. Make sure you've taken time to assess your feelings after the relationship and if you still want to remain friends with this guy, then that’s okay.
This time alone would help you make logical decisions and not emotional ones. You also need to heal from losing a partner; it can be tough and heartbreaking, especially if you plan to be seeing or talking with your former boyfriend often.
Time alone will also help you grow out of any lingering feelings, maybe not all of it but enough to handle. You can seek advice from a trusted family or friend during your time apart.
2. Let Go
Forgiveness is very important if you want to be friends with ex-boyfriends or lovers. You can't keep holding him to mistakes he made when he was in a relationship with you; it'll feel like you haven't broken up. It’s vital to do this especially if remaining friends is part of the bigger picture. When you let go, you're open to a fresh start and a new relationship.
Remaining friends with ex-lovers is relevant to friendship because, without it, you'll not be able to be easy-going with one another. Staying in contact with your ex isn't worth all the pretense if that's what you’ll end up doing. Whenever you feel ready to contact your ex, go ahead, until then, please take your time.
3. Set Boundaries
Talk with your ex and set boundaries for this friendship, because at this point, it's not as if you are about to get back together. Let him know that there are lines you don't want to cross and listen to him too.
Don't communicate with each other as often as you did when you were dating, no sleepovers (unless necessary); don't talk about the breakup after the split. You need to be definitive about your rules, so you don't confuse each other. You cannot afford slip-ups. It's dangerous to flirt or have conversations about sex with each other. It could lead to a hookup.
4. Is It Toxic?
Ask yourself this question over and over, be true to yourself. If friendship with an ex-lover is toxic, you shouldn't indulge. This happens when you're either still holding on to something he did in the past or have feelings for him, and he doesn't feel the same way. It's very pointless to hold on to a toxic relationship, mostly with an ex-boyfriend.
Let him go completely if you can foresee being friends with him to be exhausting physically and mentally. No one will hold it against you if you're not in contact with your ex anymore. To be honest, many people don't talk to their exes, and it doesn't mean they hate each other. Sometimes, the best option is staying away.
5. Be Sure You're On The Same Page
You and your ex should agree to be friends and the decision should be completely unanimous. Talk to him and ask if he wants to be friends with you and the kind of friendship you'd like to have with him. Is he seeking to stay friends post-breakup, or is it a ploy to get back together?
It's possible your ex isn't done healing from the breakup and still sees you as a romantic partner.
You don't want to be the only one trying to be friends with your ex, trust me. It’s very frustrating when people do this. If you find out he doesn't feel the same way about keeping in contact with each other, please let it go.
6. Avoid Hooking Up
I don't advise people to become friends with benefits; it's too complicated, and feelings get hurt. Also, hooking up with your ex is the fastest way to slip into the cycle of breaking up a couple of times.
Be very mature about your decision to keep in contact. Don't spend time alone with one another and beware of old patterns.
You can't keep doing everything you did when you were in a relationship with him now that you're not; there should be a clear distinction between then and now. For one, there should be no late date nights, Saturday games, or sleepovers until you can both handle it.
7. Be Cautious
You need to walk into this cautiously, always keeping in mind that things are not as they used to be. Try not to get carried away by the fact that you're both getting along with each other. Being ‘breakup friends’ is a whole other ball game. Don't let the friendship with your ex come between a current relationship.
This ex-lover is now like any other friend you have, don't think too deep into it. Make sure you don't go beyond the line you set for each other, and when it gets tough, don't be afraid to withdraw.
8. Give It Time
Everything about this situation takes time, from your moment of healing and forgiving, to when you decide to be friends with him, it isn't as fast as it sounds. Prepare yourself for a truckload of awkward moments if you're going to be seeing each other. Don't over exaggerate your importance in their lives at all.
Yes, he may still care about you, but it's as a friend. You're in no position to be making demands; you can't interfere with his love life anymore. This isn't built in a day, believe me, sometimes even after agreeing to be friends, it doesn't work out.
9. Make Sure You're Not An Option
After clarifying your reasons to stay friends with yourself and with him (for the millionth time), stay firm on your choice. Sometimes, people just want to have their ex around as an option, even though they care about you.
You don't deserve that at all. Being friends with your ex can stop you from moving on to another relationship, especially if you guys are still close to each other (hangout often). Your new partner might not like this relationship with your ex, and you don't want this causing a rift, darling. Like I said earlier, you don't have to be friends with your ex if you're risking a lot.
This is solely a personal decision; no relationship is the same. If you think yours can take a friendship after the breakup, then go for it. Generally, it's said to be better to avoid friendship with an ex because of how further complicated it can get when that doesn't work out. However, if you consider the points in this article (work with it), being friends with your ex won't be such a terrible idea. It takes mature hearts to keep the friendship going.
In my opinion, being ”friends” with an ex has a relative meaning. To some, having a good break up with your ex is being friends. By ”good breakup,” I mean neither of you hates each other. It could also suggest you still follow him on social media, and probably hang out with him occasionally. For me, real friendship is when you're both actively involved in each other's lives, whether from a distance or up close.
Did you read the part where I said being friends with your ex can lead to breaking up a couple of hundred times? Go back and read. That's why a lot of ladies don't buy into the idea of being friends with a past lover. If you're honest, this is why you are here as well. The worst part isn't that it could lead back to a relationship; it's the awkwardness and random hookups that may happen in between.
It depends on what your friend wants and if you can keep your friendship with both of them separate. It's easier if they both agree to be friends with each other too but even at that, be careful not to come between them. It's okay to be friends or at least civil with your friend's ex because he wasn't dating you, and whatever happened between them (except it directly affects you) isn't any of your concern.
There are a few ways to tell your breakup is final. First, you both don't talk or communicate with each other anymore and are doing great regardless. Second, both of you succeed in making a platonic relationship work. Third, either of you moves on with a new partner. There are a couple of other ways you can tell your breakup is final, some of which are based on why you're breaking up.
All In All,
There's no navigating through friendship with your ex without the points above; they will help you a lot. I would love to read the opinions in my comment box below. Please share this article with your friends.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.