I have to say, being friends with my exes has always been something I aspire to, but not always get to. Sure there are some exes I am friends with, and others I won’t ever talk to again. But just being able to say that my ex and I are friends now immediately puts me in that ‘not crazy’ box when I’m talking to someone. Anyone who can be friends with their exes is deemed more understanding and ‘reasonable’ and of course, mature. Although I have met people who think I am crazy for being friends with an ex. I feel that these are people who had really bad breakups and can’t imagine being friends with that particular person again.
To be honest, I never understood people who refuse to be friends with their exes – and I’m not talking about messed up or abusive relationships. I’m talking about normal “we aren’t meant for each other” breakups. It kind of scares me when I hear a guy who is interested in me say that he is never friends with his ex. Ever. End of story. Because what if we start dating and we break up? Does that mean I will never be able to talk to him again? Forever relegated to awkwardness? It’s totally a deal breaker for me.
I firmly believe that it is possible to be friends with an ex. That said, I also feel not all exes are friend material. So let’s break things down here. Here’s Lola’s guide on how to be friends with your ex…
What kind of breakup was it?
First thing first. What kind of a breakup it is. Now this is important. Very important. Because this will tell you whether or not you guys can venture forth into friendship zone. Many-a-years ago I broke up with an abusive ex-BF, now he and I are not friends. I ain’t Rihanna. I do not forget the hand that hit me. Just like you have to let some friendships go, you also have to let a bad relationship go. We broke up for a reason, cuz he was an abusive ass. I don’t need friends like that.
However, I am still friends with another ex of mine. He and I broke up because we just didn’t work as lovers, plus he was also leaving the country. He was still a good person and a great friend candidate. We still keep in touch even though we both live in different countries now.
Bear in mind just because you think she makes a good friend doesn’t mean that she will automatically become a friend. Patience young padawan.
Give it time
Now that you know you want to still be friends, give it time. I know tons of people who break up and decide that they’re friends now. Like as soon as they break up they morph into friends. This shit doesn’t last. Trust. You need some time apart. Some space. So you can get over the relationship, over her, over the familiarity.
I know you’re going to be all like, “No, really we broke up yesterday and today we’re totally like friends. It’s cool. I’m over her already. It’s great! We’re friends now!” Ok, that’s cool. Come back here when you’re pissed off that she started seeing another guy ‘so soon’, or that you accidentally slept together again and she’s pissed cuz she thought you’re getting back together or whatever. I’ll tell you again, you need to give yourselves some space and time. Sometimes it’ll take a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of months and sometimes you’ll need a year or more. But you’ll get there.
No sex ever
Yeah, hate to say it, but sex does complicate things. You want to be friends with an ex, you can’t also be sexting, cuddling, touching, etc.
No compromises here I’m afraid. Rare are the ex couples, who remain friends, who also still hook up once in a while. These people are a different breed all together, and you and I aren’t them.
You don’t need to know
How many times have you decided that you and an ex are now friends and go, “So who are you dating now?” thinking you can handle it, cuz it’s all, you know, cool. And as soon as she starts talking you’re burning with jealousy. Well, you don’t need to know. Neither of you actually.
It took me more than four years to be able to listen to my ex talk about other women without feeling a twinge. In fact I still feel a twinge sometimes and it’s been eight years! I know that I don’t want to be with him, I’m with someone else now, but just like quitting smoking, just cuz you know you don’t want a cigarette anymore, doesn’t mean you don’t get a tweak every time someone lights up. Best to just not talk about who’s dating who until you’re absolutely ready. Or just stay away from that topic altogether.
Patience and distance
At the end of the day, it really does require patience – and a whole lot of distance (in the beginning). Sometimes you wonder if it’s all worth it. Well, if you think your ex is a worthy friend, then yes it is. I never understand how people can love one another one day and then stop being friends the next when they break up. So for me, it’s always worth it – unless they’re not very nice people (like abusive ex BF above).
So have patience with yourself. Give yourself some time and give each other some distance. Perhaps the friendship will not be of the BFF type, but a more keeping in touch, kind, I’ve got your back if you really need it type of friendship. After all, this person was very important to you at some point of your life.