You might find yourself surfing the internet looking for something that would tell you how to be friends with your ex after a breakup. If the relationship ended on good terms, or one person wants the other person in their life even after a breakup, it is natural to try and stay friends with your ex.
Even if your relationship with your ex is over, the comfort is probably still there. You’ve spent so much time together, learning each other’s likes and dislikes, and building relationship chemistry. How could you cut someone like that out of your life? But is it actually a good idea? And if it is, are you equipped with the knowledge of how to be friends with your ex? Worry not, we’ve got your back!
“Staying friends with an ex is a very pervasive phenomenon,” says Rebecca Griffith, a psychology student at the University of Kansas who presented a study at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, “In fact, previous research suggests that about 60% of people maintain friendships after a breakup. Researchers have found that there are four main reasons someone stays friends with an ex after a breakup – safety, practicality, civility, and unresolved romantic feelings.”
It was found that people who stayed friends for practical and civil reasons managed best. Those friendships lasted a long time and were considered positive. Staying friends for security reasons or because of unresolved romantic feelings was associated with negative feelings.
Is It A Good Idea To Be Friends With Your Ex?
You must have read, “If you can be friends with your ex, either you never loved each other or you’re still in love” or “Your ex asking to be friends right after the breakup is like a kidnapper asking to keep in touch after letting you go.” Whether or not this holds true, it is also said, “Being friends with your ex shows you two are mature enough to get over the fact that you weren’t meant to be together.”
So, being friends with your ex is a choice that you should make on your own and in your own time. It can be highly beneficial, but it is more than okay if you decide to not stay in contact at all. But can you be friends with your ex? Well, that depends on the situation, how the relationship ended, and the people involved. Here are a few things to consider when you’re mulling over whether or not being friends with an ex is the right choice for you:
- If you’ve both forgiven each other for all the bad stuff and are ready to move forward, then it is absolutely okay to be friends with each other
- It is a good idea if the aspects of the relationship that are important to both partners even after the separation can be maintained healthily through friendship
- The bond with someone who cares about you without any ulterior motives, and doing the same for the other person, can immensely help your personal growth and development, and life goals.
- However, being friends with your ex can sometimes make it difficult to move on
- Knowing that you still want to be with that person romantically, or knowing that the other person might be hoping for that, is when you know that it isn’t a good idea to be friends yet
So, make sure to communicate and see where both of you stand before igniting the flame of friendship.
When Is It Okay To Be Friends With An Ex?
Knowing the signs that you are ready to be friends with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, or not, is very important. Starting a friendship you’re not really ready for can be, well obviously, disastrous. Here are some signs that will help you realize you’re ready to go back to being friends.
- Both of you have accepted that the relationship has ended and understand why
- Both of you have actually moved on emotionally and aren’t secretly wishing to get back together
- There are absolutely no romantic feelings involved; neither of you wants to be in a romantic relationship with the other
- You’re both okay with dating other people, and you can genuinely see them happy with someone else
- When the friendship adds something positive to your life, like companionship, growth, fun, anything
- If you’re co-parents, it’s good for your kids to see that you can be friends with your ex-husband or ex-wife. The positivity that that will bring into their lives will make a lot of difference and make your lives easier as well
Related Reading: 12 Co-Parenting Rules For Divorced Couples
When Should You Drop The Idea Of Being Friends With An Ex?
However good and rewarding it can be to be friends with your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, it is absolutely fine if you choose to not take that road and cut ties completely. That is better than ending in a messy situation that is only going to hurt you even more. Here are some signs that you should break off contact or turn down an ex who wants to be friends:
- When you know you haven’t moved on and are secretly wishing to get back with them
- When the friendship doesn’t feel comfortable or doesn’t make you feel good
- If it upsets you to be friends with an ex who has a girlfriend/boyfriend, see them dating someone else, or you’re having trouble dating other people because you’re still hung up on them
- If you’re having trouble setting boundaries or maintaining them
- Falling back into old habits with them is also a strong sign that you’re heading toward a painful crash
But how to be friends with your ex? There are a lot of things that you can do to make sure that you form a healthy and friendly bond with your ex without ending up in a puddle of tears because is it hard to be friends with an ex? Yes! Read more to find out!
How To Make Being Friends With Your Ex Work?
Deciding to be friends with an ex starts with a lot of self-evaluation and sometimes puts you in some tortuous tangles of your thoughts that you need to sort out before you can even begin to think about the friendship that you so earnestly yearn for. Once you decide that being friends with your ex is the right decision for you, it’s important to cultivate that friendship carefully. To that end, here are a few tips on how to make being friends with your ex work:
1. Have clarity
Make sure you’re both actually over each other and have moved on emotionally. The need to be near them or have them in your life should not be based on residual romantic feelings. Andrew Ritter says on Quora, “Feelings may only remain active for the duration that one attends to them. When one’s attention is otherwise directed, the feelings are very apt to lapse, at least consciously. Feelings may resurrect themselves or be resurrected during sleep and manifest themselves in/during dream states, however.”
This is how you can figure out the reason behind wanting to be friends with your ex: is it just some part of your relationship you’re looking for, or are you still in love with them, or do you just miss having someone?
Related Reading: Being Friends With An Ex You Still Love – 8 Things That Can Happen
2. Don’t rush it
You have to let a considerable time pass after the breakup before you can think about being friends with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. Give yourself time to heal your broken heart. There is nothing selfish about wanting to be kind to yourself after a breakup.
“One of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you really want out of life? Right after a breakup,” says Mandy Hale, a best-selling author, who is on a mission to inspire single women to live their best lives, even after a breakup.
You need time and space to process your breakup, and so does your former partner. So, disconnecting completely and practicing the no-contact rule will help you both move on and heal. Don’t dive into it too fast or too soon, and when you’re both actually ready, you will be able to make the friendship work.
3. Set boundaries
It is very important to communicate your needs and expectations from the friendship beforehand and set boundaries for being friends with an ex – physical, emotional… all kinds of boundaries. Should you ever want to get physical with your ex again (you’re not alone!), you need to be very, very clear in your mind, and careful, to not fall back into romantic territory, because let’s face it, you guys broke up for a reason. Setting these boundaries will also help you have clarity in your future relationships.
4. Let bygones be bygones
This is a mandatory rule that you need to live by if you want to be friends with your ex. DO NOT BRING UP THE PAST. All your memories with them, whether good or bad, are in the past now, and there is no point in reminiscing about them now. The emotional baggage of the past should be left behind. The friendship with your ex should be a new chapter and should stay pages away from your previous chapter with them, maybe different books altogether.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Let Go Of Someone You Love Deeply
5. Be just friends
Make sure you’re both comfortable being ‘just friends’. If you want to be friends with them for some ulterior motive or some deeply hidden hopes of winning them back, your friendship will be like having an empty bottle of wine in the fridge – you’ll gain nothing from it, and it’ll take up space for something new.
Quora user Rezal Evad writes, “If you want to be friends with an ex, it’ll happen organically and when you’re over them. Anything else is just you interviewing to get your old job back while playing the role of a doormat”. The companionship and comfort that they bring – though may be rooted in the romantic relationship that once was – should not be based entirely on your past, or it will hinder your future relationships.
- It is okay to want to be friends with an ex
- If both the partners have moved on, and the friendship will bring something positive to your life, then it is a good idea to be friends with your ex
- However, if the friendship doesn’t make you feel comfortable, or you find yourself wanting them back, you should definitely drop the idea
- To make the friendship work, you need to take some time away from each other, set some boundaries, and let the past stay in the past
Being friends with an ex is not unheard of. In fact, most people would prefer that. Many bank on being friends with their ex to ease the pain of a breakup. However, while a platonic relationship sounds like a great way to keep your ex in your life without being intimate, it can lead to some confusing and complex situations.
You’re not alone in wanting to be friends with your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Exes can become good friends who know how to support, motivate, and care for you. However, every situation is unique. Take your time, ask yourself what you want out of a friendship, and make sure your ex stays in the past when it comes to your romantic future. That is how you can make your friendship with your ex work.
Yes, it is absolutely okay to be friends with your ex after a breakup but how good of an idea that is depends on how and why the relationship ended, the reason why you want to be friends, and whether you’ve moved on or not.
It is usually a bad idea to get involved with an ex you’re still in love with. However, if your intentions aren’t to get back together and you’re not hoping that they’ll change their minds about the breakup, you could try being friends. Although that will, more often than not, be a recipe for disaster.
There isn’t a set time limit to this, nor is there a proper formula. It is necessary to take time for yourself, heal and find who you are as a person without them, and then broach the subject. When you’re sure you’re not interested in them romantically anymore is when you can think about it. But keep in mind our tips on how to be friends with your ex.