Be Your Best Self Connect Thrive Trending

HOW TO STAY FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX & HOW TO KNOW IF IT’S A BAD IDEA

It's tricky...

First things first, I am not a relationship expert or a therapist. But, when it comes to my friends and even acquaintances, my publicly broken heart has dubbed me the advice giver for breakups everywhere. So, I am going to tell you what I would tell my friends, and hopefully try and tell myself when entering the illusionary world of “we’re just friends.

The number one thing you have to ask yourself constantly, even if it seems mean and selfish, is what is good for me? This is your answer. This is your true north in the year after a break-up, this is your Yoda. You have to take care of you. Forget should, forget could, forget the gaping lonely hole that is your life. Do the right thing even if it’s the hard thing.

How to tell if being friends is bad for you right now:

  1. After you hang out you feel like you’ve emotionally regressed
  2. You want to lick their face the entire time you’re with them
  3. The idea of them meeting someone new makes you want to crawl in a hole
  4. When you get home, you spend at least twenty-five minutes on their Instagram and/or you then spend another our recounting out every word that was spoken between the two of you

The really important test is the first one. Getting over someone is something that happens in steps and stages. If you see them and feel suddenly three stages ago, then you are not ready.

Keep in mind you may never be ready, and although it is sad, some relationships are best left in the past to ensure you can have a healthy future.

So, that brings us to how to be friends, that is if you’re ready or if you are going to entirely ignore my advice above. I am of this category, I ignored what was good for me because the thought of him not being in my life was more anguishing than stunting my personal growth. This was a mistake and it took me twice as long to be ok than it would have otherwise. What I should have done (and what you should do if this sounds familiar) is tell them you can’t be friends — yet. Tell them you need six months of space to find a proper place for them in your life, because it is important to you to be friends. If they are worth a friendship, and it’s worth keeping them around, then six months is nothing. Six months will give you something good to catch up on. You’re at least giving yourself a head start.

How to be friends means learning what friends do. Friends do not sleep together. Friends do not treat each other like a partner and then withhold the intimacy that makes you partners. Friends do not intentionally hurt one another or try and make one another jealous with someone super-hot and new.

My rules on being friends with my ex:
Note: this also applies if you are either the dumper or dumpee. It is often just as hard to leave someone you love when you know it’s not right as it is to be the person left. Both parties must take care of their hearts.

  1. Choose safe spaces to start with: coffee, the park, breakfast — not inside your or their home.
  2. I stay very aware of physical proximity. If they are growing close or the night is growing late, then excuse yourself and go home alone.
  3. I don’t get drunk when you’re alone together.
  4. I won’t talk about my new relationship, I have friends who I can do that with and talking with them feels icky and unfair to my new guy.
  5. Know what topics are the cornerstone to your friendship banter, and they might even be the same ones, that’s ok. We talk mostly about creative projects and dogs.
  6. You must let go of your expectations. A friendly role can be a removed one, and that is okay. You have to consider you might not be the only one who needs space and time to move on.

One last thing to consider- you might never be friends. And that might not be your choice. Friendship is a two way street, as was your romantic relationship, so if you’re both not feeling it, then you have to let go. Move on. Be friends with people who want to be your friends, or who won’t treat you unfairly. You can’t control their feelings, and one of the great graces we acquire in growing older is knowing when we have to let things go.

9 comments

  1. It’s funny that I found this article because I have just recently chosen to be friends with my ex! He’s still a special person in my life and he is a very good friend. The problem is that we both still have feelings for each other (we broke up about 5 weeks ago) and it’s hard for me not to confide in him like he is my partner. That’s something I’ve been struggling with that a lot since the breakup. The good thing at least is that we’re on the opposite sides of the state so we probably won’t see each other anytime soon. So the space is good, but I can’t get rid of the urge to text him! It’s heartbreaking for me to think that I can’t have the relationship that I used to have with him (we broke up because of long distance, not because of any other huge relationship problems) and I guess I’m still trying to hold onto that a bit. My plan now is to not text him (first) for at least a week and see how that feels, because I’ve realized that in order to get through this and heal, I need to have the willpower to not text him the way I used to while we were dating.

    Like

    1. Hi Jessica, thank you for sharing your story. I just had a broke up and I truly love my ex, but I mean it. We grew apart because of the long distance relationship (We used to live together in NY and he moved to Boston for grad school.) He had already planned to come and visit me before the breakup on FaceTime and he is still coming 11 days after we ended the relationship. I might see him and he might stay in my place for one night. I know there won’t be physical interaction, but I am worried about how I will feel when we walk down the streets not holding hands! He helped me grow so much, that he deserves to be my friend and that is what I want. I just don’t know if I am ready for it.

      Please keep us posted about your progress,

      Best Yaymi

      Like

  2. Omg it’s been a year and I’m still in love with him; we can’t stay away from eachother… 6 months seems like hell

    Like

  3. Its so ironic how I can relate to this @ the current stage in my life. Me and my ex just broke up about a month ago and we’ve been trying to play the friend role and it just hasn’t been working. She also happens to be my roommate in college so I can never get away from her and that sucks but I just told her yesterday night that I can’t be friends with her any longer. I would like to keep her in my life but as of right now she’s impacting my life in a negative way so 6 months seems pretty good to me. Hopefully it gets easier…

    Like

  4. It’s been 5 months since we broke up and 2 real months of not talking. We broke up but it was so messy..still sleeping together. I definitely tried to convince myself that it was just fun that way but when he would tell me about his life/lean on me more than a friend I got upset and didn’t want to listen. I realized I was holding onto him and wanted him to realize breaking up was stupid but he didn’t and I wasn’t about giving him sex for being a no one to me. When I told him how I felt he said he didn’t feel the same way so I ended communication altogether. To better myself, for myself. Not even a month later he responds saying that he wishes to stay friends and that he didn’t reply because he needed his time. Right then and there I realized I was the selfless one always. I was always patient and waiting and I gave him so much of my attention that he thought responding to my text three weeks later on Valentine’s Day was okay…it wasn’t. So I deleted that text and since then I’ve been struggling on this roller coaster of emotions from missing to hating him but I can truly say it was better than being with someone who made me feel stupid when he did stupid things. And just because it wasn’t all the time doesn’t mean I shouldn’t over look that feeling because in the end that feeling I felt twice was more than enough to upset me and lose my trust. Friendship is possible but if you feel that jealousy still it’s not real. If you feel sadness from your break up that’s you still getting over it. Keeping a friendship too soon isn’t you guys moving on. Yes we both were holding on and maybe would have worked out but I was scared of that fact that what if he moved on. Then I’m even more heartbroken than breaking up because I kept that false hope. Be strong and take note in the little things that make you yourself.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: