Here's What Needs to Happen Before You Can Be Friends With Your Ex
If you've ever been through a breakup, you've undoubtedly heard or said the signature line that ends a large majority of speeches—"but we can still be friends!"
Since it's difficult to completely cut someone out of your life, staying friends with an ex seems like a solution that will make both the dumper and the dumped happy. But just how realistic is it to stay friends with an ex? While we don't believe that maintaining this sort of relationship with an ex is impossible, there are definitely a few things that need to happen before you jump into the world of friendship with a former love.
Keep scrolling to see everything that needs to happen before you're ready to be friends with your ex.
Make Sure You Both Have Time to Grieve
Breakups are difficult, so it's important that you take time to fully mourn the end of your relationship and prepare yourself to move on before you jump into a friendship with your ex. Unfortunately, neither you or your ex will be able to put in the needed work to get over each other if you're still a constant presence in each other's lives. Instead, you should both take time and space apart to grieve the end of your relationship and learn what it's like to live without each other. If you try to initiate a friendship with your ex while your feelings are so raw and new, you will likely end up arguing, which may ruin the chances of a friendship in the future. However, if you have both taken time apart to deal with your hurt feelings, you will be better prepared to start a functional friendship that might actually last.
Accept the Reasoning Behind Your Breakup
Whether you were the dumper or the dumpee, one important step on the road to friendship with an ex is accepting the reasoning behind your breakup—and moving past it. If you're unable to accept that you and your ex broke up for a reason, there will always be a part of you that wonders if you could make a relationship work again. Whether your relationship ended in a bitter and heated argument or things just sort of fizzled out, take time to understand why the two of you didn't work out—and then put any hard feelings you have behind you in favor of a new and improved friendship.
Make Sure You No Longer Have Feelings for Your Ex
As a general rule of thumb, trying to be friends with an ex that you still have feelings for probably won't end well. Oftentimes, it leads to a lot of jealousy and quite a few hurt feelings that will get in the way of your newly developing friendship. Being friends with an ex is hard enough, but staying friends with an ex that you still have feelings for is basically impossible. While deciding if you're truly over someone is not a hard science, it's important to examine your feelings surrounding your ex to try and determine if you're still "in like" with them. If you're fairly sure that your feelings have gone dormant, your attempts to initiate a friendship will have a much higher success rate.
Find the Right Balance for Your Friendship Efforts
Just like any other friendship, staying friends will an ex will require a certain amount of time and effort. The important part of creating a successful friendship with an ex, however, is finding the balance between too much effort and not enough. If you're texting your ex once a day asking to hang out, they will probably feel a little smothered by your constant attempts to initiate a friendship. On the other hand, if you never ask them to do anything, your friendship won't blossom. There's not an exact math to how much effort you should put into a friendship with an ex, but a good way to start is to limit your invites to major events first. If you're having a birthday party or organizing a movie night with friends, go ahead and shoot them a text. If they show up to these bigger events, you'll be able to gauge just how they want to hear from you.
Be Prepared to Watch Them Move On
One unavoidable factor when breaking up with someone is knowing that they will eventually move on to date someone else. The single life might be fun, but eventually both you and your ex will find someone else to date. If you're going to maintain a friendship with your ex, you have to be willing to watch them move on. While tiny twinges of jealousy when you first see your ex with someone else might be natural, an overwhelming sense of annoyance at your ex's new relationship likely means you're not ready to have a functional friendship with them. Part of maintaining a solid friendship with your ex is watching them find someone new, and being happy for them when it happens.
Breakups can be difficult, but there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to handle things. Click HERE to see six things you definitely shouldn't do after a breakup.