The idea of being friends with an ex is something that people still shudder at or fail to understand. They say that if you are friends with your ex, then either you were never in love with them in the first place or are still crazy about them like before but are refusing to believe it. Well sorry to say, but none of those have to be true. People and their relationships can be fairly unique and it is unfair to expect everybody to be on the same wavelengths about such things.
Can you be friends with your ex? I say, yes, of course. It’s not impossible or heart-wrenching or a terrible idea. If you are self-aware enough and trust yourself to make the right decisions, being friends with an ex is indeed possible and can actually even be great for you.
When You Are Still Friends With Your Ex
“If you are still friends with your ex, either you were never in love or still are.” I see this quote floating all over the place but I frankly do not know what to make of it, perhaps because I do not see feelings and relationships in black and white. My ex – who-doesn’t-want-to-be-named – still remains one of the most important people in my life and my closest friend, even though we broke up some 16 years ago. Yup, being friends with an ex is totally cool and actually happens!
It had started out as your regular college romance. We met on the first day of college, hit it off immediately, became the best of buddies, and before we knew it, we had become a couple. Boy, did he really know how to woo a girl in college.
Without getting into the long and short of it, if there is anything our three-year-long relationship taught us, it was this – we were awesome as friends but awful as a couple. And no, it wasn’t an ‘amicable’ breakup either. After a breakup like that, I never thought the answer to ‘Can you be friends with your ex?’ could actually be yes.
The way things went, I was not sure we would ever talk again. Our breakup was ugly, violent and deeply hurtful to both of us. That we had to sit right next to each other in class and work on projects together didn’t make it any easier. But we took our time to heal from what we had done to each other. Six months. And then, the ice broke in its own time, once we had forgiven each other, moved on and had started seeing other people.
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It took time to accept we weren’t the perfect couple
I wouldn’t say that our conversations were always smooth or friendly. The shadows of the past lurked often, but we chose to look away, only because we valued each other more than the relationship we had. It was quite obvious that we were not meant to be, but at the same time, letting go of an amazing person like him wasn’t a loss I was willing to bear.
Slowly but surely, we settled back into the space from where we had started – a bond of warmth, trust, understanding and mutual respect that has been growing stronger over years. People around us thought we would get back together but this time, we knew better.
We weren’t about to make the same mistake again and ruin what we had. We fit in best as buddies because that’s what we are meant to be. Being friends with an ex is possible when you come to this massive realization – that sometimes you are just better off being partners but without any romance.
Is It Okay To Be Friends With Your Ex?
Today, we are both happily married to other people and we have children too. My ex gets along fabulously with my husband and vice-versa. His wife is a great cook and we often share recipes with each other over text! How cute is that?
When it comes to staying friends with an ex, I can say we have done a fabulous job. We can earnestly joke about our tumultuous past and all the crazy things we did without a hint of awkwardness. This might sound weird but it has taken immense maturity on both our parts to get here. Not everyone understands this but this level of maturity is key to being friends with an ex.
A lot of credit goes to our supportive and lovely spouses too for taking our bond for what it is without an ounce of jealousy or insecurity. It is a blessing to have someone who has seen the best and worst of you and has grown with you. They know you too well and you really do not want to disregard the love and effort you put into somebody for years. The truth is the relationship matters but the labels can be done away with.
Related Reading: How I realised my soul mate is none other than my best friend
Our shared history is invaluable
Looking back, we feel like two kids who have matured into adults and exchanged a lot of notes along the way. We seek each other’s advice, share our deepest secrets and egg each other on when the going gets tough for either. He knows me better than I know myself and I don’t want to lose out on something as beautiful and lovely as that.
When I look back I know that I’m immensely grateful. Yes, I was hurt and disappointed for a long time after our breakup and moving on wasn’t the easiest but without him, I’d hardly be the independent and courageous woman I am today. So if you’re asking – should I be friends with my ex, let me tell you this: if your heart can handle it, take the plunge. Don’t discard someone who once cared for you just because you are incompatible romantically now.
I am so glad that I lost a relationship that didn’t give me happiness, but didn’t lose the person who did. Love does not have a single form or template like most of us believe. It is more like a shapeshifter, that evolves and transforms with time. Isn’t that the whole beauty of it?
Absolutely. Your ex is someone who loved you for a long time and knows you really well. If you can strike the balance of friendship with them, they can be an integral part of your life. From giving you the right advice to always knowing how to console you – they are already seasoned at dealing with you!
Being friends with your ex has such negative air around it but it is indeed possible and can even be a good thing. An ex probably does not want to lose out on you as a person and thus wants to continue being friends. This doesn’t mean that they always want to get in your pants. It could just mean that they value you immensely as a person and do not want to let that go even if the relationship failed.