Can You Be Friends With Your Ex? What You Need To Know

Be Friends With Your Ex
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For most people, breakups are not a fun thing to go through. One of the reasons why breakups might be hard on some folks is because of the tough decisions they’ve got to make after the whole Bonnie and Clyde chemistry gets ditched. A core one is deciding whether to keep your ex (and every element of them) at bay or be friends with them. But can you really be friends with your ex?

According to a survey, the staying away from an ex seems to be the best option for most folks as they prefer to avoid their exes like a plague. For others, they would prefer to start over in the friend zone. However, for some reason, humans get attached to the extent that letting go becomes almost impossible. This might explain why others would prefer to remain friends after a fall out in their previous relationship.

So, if you’re willing to bury the axe and remain friends with your ex, then I’d advise you tread with great caution to avoid unnecessary drama and heartaches, which you really do not need.

In this article, I’ll be highlighting some things that you need to know to help guide your new found friendship with your ex. However, first, you have got to identify the motive behind your friendship with your ex. 

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Ask these questions before deciding to be friends with your ex

Behind every movie, a script is being played out. If you really want to be friends with your ex or they want to be friends with you, it’s best you understand why. You should ask yourself honest questions like:

1. Do I really want this? 

Perhaps your ex wants to be friends with you and you on the other hand would prefer you both stay as far away from each other as possible, then you need to let them know there’s a conflict of interest. 

It’s really important that you remain assertive about your decision to save you some awkward situations. Also, it is noteworthy that friendship with an ex is best to be avoided if they still express displays of control over you. 

Racheal Sussman, a NYC psychotherapist advises that under no circumstances should a relationship that was abusive, manipulative or toxic transition into a friendship.

 If they are obsessed with you or they want to keep on controlling you, then that’s a red flag! It simply means they have problems letting go. It’s unhealthy to remain friends in these situations because they might try to ruin your new relationship. So, honestly, it’s better to adopt a no contact policy.

Be Friends With Your Ex
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2. Is there a NEED to be friends with my ex? 

What if what you want isn’t what you need? Couples who have children together are obliged to be in good terms for the sake of the kids. Also, having other common interests like shared residence, business and other projects are good reasons to be diplomatic in your dealings with your ex. 

3. Am I over the relationship and the break up yet?

What if you are not over your ex and you being friends with them is your own way of getting back with them? Look, it’s normal to still be in love with your ex but it’s a bad idea to be friend-zoned when you’re still in love. 

What to do? Give yourself a break. Chances are, sooner or later, you’ll get over than, meet other great people out there, have an awesome relationship and make good friends. Don’t forget, there are plenty of fish in the sea! (You don’t have to try all of them though.) 

4. Is the friendship going to add value to me or hinder me from personal growth in the short and long run?

I’ve seen folks who chose to transit from relationship goals to being friends and then back into the relationship and yep friendship again! It’s like going round a circle. 

The danger of this for such people is that they keep going round in that circle till they or their partner have had a fair share of toxicity and they finally let go. Wasted time, wasted efforts, missed opportunities and higher mental toxicity level. Don’t be that person.

5. Does my partner approve of this?

So after you’ve finally moved on, months later, you meet your ex and it seems like all has been forgiven and forgotten and there’s a better chance of being good  friends. A couple of days later, you tell your partner  “Hey babe, I’m off to lunch with Jake (ex)”. 

Well, well, you just said “hello” to insecurities, waved at trust issues and gave unnecessary arguments a big high five! Bottom line is, unless your boo/bae/cupcake/ potato (probably a real pet name)  is cool  with you being friends with your ex, I’d advise you to exit that “friend zone” to avoid unnecessary drama and awkward moments. 

Also, if you ever broke up with an ex over issues regarding trust (i.e. cheating ), then you shouldn’t consider that friendship. A friendship built on broken trust is no friendship at all. What’s the essence of the friendship if you can’t vouch for your friend?

So, no matter how uncomfortable they might seem, ensure you answer those questions in sheer honesty. This will not only help you make the right choice, it will also go a long way in helping you get over your breakup. Aced through the questions? Great! Now it’s time to set things straight in the friend zone. 

How to be friends with your ex

#Rule 1 – Give it time

The first thing to consider if you really want to be friends with your ex is taking a break. You see, time heals. Taking some time off communication and not seeing each other would allow some reflections and deep insights. It will help you checkmate your decision about staying friends with your ex. 

Now, staying away from each other does not only mean not seeing and texting, it also means unfollowing each other on social media. Also, avoid stalking them or creating catfish social media accounts to see what they are up to. Take your time, breathe and enjoy some fresh air.

#Rule 2 – Talk About It

Now that you’re sure about your decision, being open about your intentions is the next thing you should do if you’d like to be friends with your ex. You don’t just start acting super nice and friendly to someone all of a sudden. It might come off as weird to the other person. 

Talk about it. Let them know how you feel and tell them you want to remain friends. However, be prepared for anything and at the same time, don’t be anxious about it. It’s a 2-way thing; they will either welcome your contact or reject it. 

If they agree, lucky you! If they don’t, ensure there’s no bad blood between you two and keep it moving. When you become friends, talk about the boundaries, lay down the rules and be strong about them. Don’t talk about your defunct relationship. Be optimistic and be a true friend. 

#Rule 3 – Set Communication boundaries

Now that you are jolly friends, please keep it that way with the communication. When you’re in a relationship, it’s all texts and calls every moment and romantic emojis everywhere. A lot has changed now. Avoid flirting or sex talk. Don’t talk about the things that bother you like you would to a partner. This is a whole new dynamic.

Now you are just friends and it’s advisable you keep it that way with your communications. Avoid frequent texts (double texts too), avoid calls as often as possible, do not text unless it’s really important, do not call where messages can be sent and finally, unless there’s an ICU emergency, keep your communication at 2-3 times a week. 

#Rule 4 – No Sex

This might seem obvious but alas, it still happens all the time. In all that you do, avoid “breakup sex”.

Unless you’re planning on acquiring the “friends  with benefits” status with your ex, kindly avoid sex when you become friends with them. You can’t afford to be in a non-committal relationship and at the same time dish out the benefits of commitment. It doesn’t  end well that way. Understand that you are worth more than feeling terrible the morning after a one night stand with an ex.

#Rule 5 – Avoid unnecessary meetings

The saying “Out of sight is out of mind” should be your watchword. Avoid frequent meetings. What if you are stuck with an ex living next door, working in the same organization or even living in the same house? The answer is still the same. Simply avoid seeing frequently. 

You’ve known them for long and you are quite acquainted with their movement and schedule enough to know where they will be sometimes, so, ensuring that you are not found in the same place at the same time would be a piece of cake. 

The best way to go about your first meeting after the breakup is to take the pressure off and spend time together as a part of a group. Also, be reminded that the days of Netflix and chill and couple sleepovers are over. 

Therefore, if you are meeting, ensure it’s in public places like restaurants, game centers or cinemas (thriller, action, documentaries and sci-fi are great picks. No Romcoms, I repeat, NO ROMCOM).

 Remember you once had chemistry together and chemistry hardly changes so to avoid awkward moments and stories that touch, avoid indoor meetings. Avoid going to significant places you’ve been together during your relationship (like where you got your first kiss or something) and other romantic scenarios. Let’s be realistic.

#Rule 6 – Move on

Be reminded that you don’t owe your ex any loyalty. In case you’re now friends with your ex but you’re being skeptical about going on dates with other people or opening up to them, ensure it’s because of you and not because you feel like you are cheating on your ex. 

Remind yourself that you’re no longer in a relationship and it’s just friendship so you do not owe them such loyalty. Also, being friends with your ex shouldn’t make you feel obliged to tell them personal stuff about you. The status has changed, so should your narrative. So do not allow your friendship with an ex deprive you of moving on and having fun.

#Rule 7 – Do not entertain or dish out false hope

It’s important that you don’t doubt the breakup and stick to your guns. Now that you’re getting along as friends, ensure you stick to the plan. The plan is to be true to yourself and be a good friend. 

Do not allow your friendship get into your head and have you think “Oh! Let’s give romance another try”. It’s good to be optimistic about your friendship but ensure you are not trying to compare it to the past. 

Comparison is a thief of joy and just because you make good buddies doesn’t mean the couple goals will turn out well (I mean, that’s evident enough). Hence, avoid going in circles by sticking to the friendship and of course moving on with other people (well, that’s if you are not considering celibacy).

Final Thoughts

Finally, understand that life is not so complicated. It’s all about understanding what works best for us and the choices we make afterwards. So if you can’t keep up with these rules, simply avoid being friends with your ex. Going ahead with such a friendship is a bad idea and it might lead to making terrible and lingering mistakes. 

Hence, let go of all sentiments and move on. You will always find great friendship with people other than your ex.

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