How to Stay Friends with an Ex?
Break-ups are an awful experience, no matter how long you've been together. We can't all be like Gwyneth Paltrow and enjoy a conscious uncoupling. Yet it can be tempting to want to stay friends with an ex. After all, you likely got on well enough to want to be together, even if it hasn't worked out. Why shouldn't you continue to spend time together?
Even if you're the one doing the dumping, you don't always want to completely lose them from your life. As long as it wasn't a toxic relationship, it is possible to salvage a friendship after a break-up.
Wondering how to stay friends with an ex? Read on to learn more.
Take Things Slowly
Whatever you do, don't try to jump straight into friendship. That's still the case, if your relationship has slowly cooled and turned into friendship anyway.
You both need time to get over the breakup and heal from the split. Even the dumper needs to process it since they need to reconfigure how their life looks. So take some time apart for a while. Don't spend time together in person during this period, and avoid lengthy phone calls or online chats. Ideally, you'll spend about three months cut off from them.
Not sure if three months is too long or too short? A good yardstick is this. Ask how you would react if your ex got a new partner. If you'd be sad, then it's too soon.
Work Out Why You Want to Stay Friends
Before you ask how to stay friends with your ex, ask why you want to do so. Are you hoping to get back together? Do you rely on their emotional support?
Maybe you have children together? Being friends after a split is a great way to reduce the impact on your kids.
Do you share a social network or have the same hobbies? Are you really close with their family? Perhaps you're hoping to be able to enjoy a 'friends with benefits' situation. Or do you just really get on well?
Figure out your reason for wanting to stay friends before you try to do so.
Get Back in Touch
Perhaps you already agreed you'd like to stay friends beforehand, this is much easier. Once you feel ready, you can now get in contact. They're already expecting to hear from you.
If you hadn't agreed to this and you wonder how to become friends with your ex? Drop them a short message and see what they say. Keep it light. Maybe send them a meme that made you think of them. Even a casual "Hey, how's it going?" can work. Respect their answer either way.
Choose the Right Platonic Activities
If and when you do start hanging out, meet up for daytime activities. That might mean going for coffee or meeting up for lunch. The advantage of daytime meetups means it's easier to keep things platonic. It's less likely you'll end up in bed, which makes it incredibly hard to stay friends.
Don't meet up in a big group either because your friends might find it awkward. It's also hard to reconnect and build a friendship with an audience. Try going to new places that you didn't visit together. That way, they won't hold the same 'charge' as your favorite couple places.
Draw Clear Boundaries
This means that you treat each other the same way you treat other friends. Don't refer back to the relationship for any reason. That means no bringing up old fights, hurt or resentment. They're in the past, so leave them there. If you can't, then friendship probably won't work.
Even talking about the good times when you were in love is a bad idea. If you initiated the breakup, it's cruel to remind your ex about how good things were. If you were on the receiving end, it can sound like you haven't moved on.
Remember to Both Move On
It is going to be difficult when your ex finds a new partner. That's the case even if you were the one who ended the relationship. It can be strange to see your ex with another person.
Whatever you do, don't compare yourself to the new partner. You wouldn't do that for a friend with a new partner. So don't do it for your ex. Don't talk about being an ex with the new partner. This isn't fair on them, and it's possible they may not be comfortable with your friendship. It's also okay to draw a line and tell your ex you don't want to talk about new relationships. This is especially true in the early days when you're figuring out how to be friends with your ex.
Make Honesty a Priority
Be honest about your feelings at all times. Remember that knowing how to be friends with an ex and learning how to stay friends with an ex are two different things.
If you suddenly realize you're starting to fall for them again? Remember they're an ex for a reason. True, some couples do get back together. Yet if it's clear on their side that there are no renewed feelings, take a time out. Don't just disappear. Ghosting people isn't fun and it's especially hard on the people you know. Explain that staying friends is harder than you thought and you need a short break.
Sometimes, you might just miss the relationship. Yet you confuse this with missing your ex. Finding new hobbies, making new friends, or filling your life with something new can avoid this.
That's How to Stay Friends with an Ex
The fact you've looked for this advice means you want to know how to stay friends with an ex. That also means you're open to trying a platonic friendship, so be gentle with each other.
Yet you shouldn't hang around hoping you and your ex will get back together. Put yourself first and move on so you can find the right relationship for you.
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