One day you are deeply in love, and the next day you can’t stand each other. From sweethearts to exes, that is the oldest story in the history of time. Now, the burning question that begs to be answered is, “can you stay friends with your ex?” The answer is simple and complicated at the same time.
There are several factors at play here. How did you break up with your ex and the reason for your breakup, the tone of it, your relationship with your ex before you two fell in love, how long have you known each other, and so on?
If your relationship ended on good terms, it is valid to want to remain friends or try to venture into that area. After all, you once loved this person and cared for them genuinely. Yes, you broke up, but that does not magically work to erase the emotions you had towards this person. You enjoyed spending time with your ex; you must have shared memorable experiences and liked ideas and interests. Severing ties with someone who once meant the world to you can seem a little too extreme.
Every relationship demands a ton of patience, effort, and nurturing. Your relationship with your ex left you spending a lot of time and emotions on it, and throwing it away just because a romantic relationship won’t work out between you two feels like throwing away your most prized possession. Venturing the area of friendship with your ex sounds much more reasonable. You might have lost romantic feelings for each other but can still enjoy each other’s company.
The reasons to remain friends with your ex might be varied. Some want it because they might belong to the same friends’ circle, and deciding to be friends with your ex will make things much less awkward in the friends’ group. Some might have to go to the same workplace, and we don’t want added pressure, do we? And, some simply enjoy each other’s company, but as friends.
Now that you have had the patience to reach this point of the article, you must be desperate to know the answer to whether you can be friends with your ex or not. You might think you are in a sticky situation, but trust me, you are not alone in this. The boat is large and is packed with people like you and me. We have all been there. Just to take some load off your mind, we are doing the hard work on your behalf. Here are some tips and tricks to remember if you are thinking of staying friends with your ex.
1. Do Not Rush.
The worst thing you can do is rush any relationship. Just like it takes time to build a romantic relationship, friendship demands the same time and effort. You are shifting from one arena to another. Tread slowly and grasp everything on your way.
There have been instances when people have rushed into a friendship with their ex. It only leads you to a fix. Either of the two things can happen- you will fall for your ex and eventually break up; again! Or you will find the friendship too awkward, and because of all the residual feelings, things won’t work out well in the end. So, my suggestion is to take your time before you jump head-first into a friendship. Remember what happened last time you jumped heart-first into a relationship? It brought you to this article!
After a breakup, it is vital to take time off each other. Some time apart will give you a fresh perspective and help you start trying to make a new bond of friendship with your ex. It is crucial to put distance and time between the romance you had and the amity you are aiming to build with your once-lover.
2. Are You Over Each Other?
This is important. Before making any decision, you must make sure that you are over each other. Having feelings even after a breakup is not unknown. More people have experienced it than they would care to admit. You have loved someone with all your might, and one fine morning, you decide to call it quits. Feelings don’t work that way. Even if you break up, your emotions might linger. Whether those feelings are mutual or not, I can’t guarantee, but it is not uncommon for one partner to experience this more than the other.
So, having given all the details, I hope you can understand the gravity of making sure you are genuinely over your ex. Pay attention to how you feel when you think of them. Are you feeling the pang of loss in your heart, or does it feel like a lost memory? The latter is a suitable condition to go ahead with being friends. But even then, gauge your feelings when you are around them. See if you feel any romantic attraction or nostalgia hitting you differently. Do you feel butterflies in your tummy when you see them after the given time off, or does it wash you with sadness when they cozy up to someone else? You need to be mindful of every sign that might suggest you still have feelings for your ex.
Make sure there are no mixed signals from your ex either. To navigate a friendly relationship, neither you nor your ex should come in with pretense and conflicting intentions. People are known to lie they are okay with such a friendship or about being over their ex. That’s why you need to be on the lookout for any signs of feelings. We are not often emotionally honest with ourselves either.
It’s much better to be cautious than regret the decision later. They might be okay with the idea of friendship, but you will only feel stuck in another bad relationship.
3. Go Ahead Only If You Enjoy It
Like every other relationship, friendships should also occur if it feels good. There’s no point in maintaining an amicable relationship with your ex just for the sake of it or because everyone else says it’s the mature thing to do. Your friendship should contribute to positivity and happiness in your life, and if it does not serve that purpose, I would suggest remaining friends with your ex is baseless.
When you communicate with your ex, do you dread it or feel any heartache, or maybe feel exhausted and confused by the end of the conversation? If any of these emotions are taking precedence over feeling joy, it’s not worth investing your time and emotions in such a relationship.
If you find your ex trying to pull you back into a relationship in the pretense of building a friendly relationship with you, do not encourage such actions. It will only end in another heartbreak and inconvenience. A friendship should be between two people who enjoy spending time with each other and appreciate the company, but platonically. And importantly, there should be a mutual interest in walking the path. Don’t let your ex drag you against your will.
4. Do You Need More Time Or Space?
It is typical for one of the partners to move on faster than the other after a breakup. While it is not unusual for exes to be friends, for some people, it does not work out the same for multiple reasons. You might have broken up on bad terms, there might still be lingering feelings, or you can doubt your intentions might change, and you start feeling jealous seeing them getting involved with others.
You must be vigilant about these emotions, and if you feel you need more time to get over your ex or some more space, it is okay to give yourself that. For instance, if either of you is not over the other, seeing your ex getting romantically closer to someone else might make you envious and eventually break your friendship, just like your romantic relationship with them. It is okay to not step into a friendly relationship with your ex if you find it too complicated to compartmentalize your emotions at the moment.
Even if your ex approaches, you can politely explain it to them. Try to be precise in clarifying why you are unsure about the proposal. You can tell you need more time to clear your mind and make sure this is the right move. And, remember, you owe no one any explanations. At the end of the day, you two are broken up, and you make your own decisions. Don’t get influenced into rushing into something you’ll later regret.
Even if you are not friends, it doesn’t take much effort to be cordial to each other. You might not be in the position to offer friendship, but being polite is within your capacity at any given time.
When Can You Remain Friends With Your Ex?
● Once you both have moved on from the relationship and stopped feeling romantically for each other.
● You have taken the time to sort out your emotions and are now at a much more stable place in your life.
● You have accepted the end of your relationship and don’t want to resume it ever.
● You can be with each other without feeling sad or any romantic pull.
● Your friendship with your ex won’t affect other romantic relationships in both of your lives.
● You feel comfortable being friends with your ex.
When To Sever The Ties?
● If you are secretly hoping the friendship will advance into a relationship and you will get back together.
● You have not moved on.
● Your ex is showing signs of still having feelings for you.
● You are friends because you are too dependent on your ex and feel you will never be in love again.
● You are friends because you feel guilty for ending things.
● You want to remain friends so that you can constantly have a peek into their life.
● You are facing troubles when it comes to maintaining boundaries. The friendship does not feel platonic.
● When you are into it for “benefits.”
The subject of being friends with your ex can’t really be categorized into a black or white area. There are a lot of grays here. This is one phase of your life that you will have to take charge of and decide to do what is right and not what feels easier.
It is critical to introspect after a breakup. And if you are looking to tread the paths of friendship with your ex, it is necessary to dissect every little aspect and contextualize every concern. It is also paramount to ask yourself whether a friendship with your ex might become an obstacle in your path to finding love in life or a threat to your personal growth.
Note: Image credit to unsplash.com