10 Tips for Being Friends With Your Ex

10 Tips for Being Friends With Your Ex superheroyou

Let’s face it – breakups are hard. You’re ending an incredibly intimate relationship with someone and it’s natural and healthy to mourn that loss. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut that person out of your life forever! Lots of people are able to remain friends with their exes. And you can too, by following our guide.

1. Get some distance.

If you want to be friends with an ex after a breakup, it’s crucial to cut them out of your life for a while! You need to get over each other – and you can’t do that if you’re constantly in contact. Give yourselves space to breathe and mourn your loss. That means no social media or late-night “drunk texts.”

2. Know your reasons.

You’ve been broken up for several months and are ready to have your ex back in your life – but in order to avoid pain, it’s critical to get clear on why. Sure, it’s probably good to remain friends if there are extenuating circumstances, like you have kids or pets. But otherwise, pinpoint why you want to be friends with this person – and make sure it’s a healthy reason. In other words, don’t become friends with your ex because you’re still in love with them and want to get back together! It’s fine to miss your ex – but only contact them if it’s in a purely platonic way.

3. Be gentle.

People tend to have really strong feelings about whether or not remaining friends with an ex is a good idea. Even if you want to be friends, there’s a good chance your ex might not. So don’t get offended if you reach out and get rejected – it’s not personal. On that note, saying, “I want to be friends” during your breakup can create unrealistic expectations. Go with, “I’d like to be friends. I’m around if you want that too,” instead.

4. Set boundaries.

Even if you were friends first, moving from a romantic to a platonic relationship requires establishing a new set of boundaries. The most important: No sex! Ever! Getting horizontal is a surefire way to break up a budding friendship. You might also want to agree not to analyze new relationships or tell each other about your sexual exploits, at least in the beginning. And consider establishing a safe word: an easy way out if one of you begins to catch feelings.

5. Keep it casual.

There are several things you can do in your new friendship to avoid rekindling that spark. It’s probably best to hang out in groups at the beginning. This will let you test the waters to see if this friendship thing actually works for you, and also have other people to fall back on if things get too awkward. As the friendship blossoms, you’ll probably want to hang out one-on-one. Avoid any romantic date spots, like a wine bar. Finally, don’t flirt! Don’t touch or send sexy texts or you might be setting yourself up for a world of heartbreak.

6. Leave the past behind.

When you broke up, you probably left behind a lot of unsolved arguments. Leave them in the past! Rehashing old fights will only leave you upset and angry for no reason. If you want to be friends with your ex, you have to learn to let it all go. Do the last words he/she said to you still make your blood boil? You might want to reconsider being friends – especially if they did something really unforgivable, like cheat on you.

7. Deal with significant others.

Eventually, both of you are going to move on and get new significant others. And there’s a right and a wrong way to deal with that! While it’s perfectly OK to talk to each other about your love interests, whether or not you’re comfortable advising each other romantically is something you should discuss. Don’t trash talk your ex’s new partner – it makes you seem petty. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to reach out and try to be friends with him/her too. You don’t have to force it, but it would likely make everyone more comfortable. Finally, don’t hide your relationship with your ex from your new guy or gal! Once you start to get serious, it’s important to explain you’re still friends. Sure, some people will be weirded out. But the ones worth keeping will appreciate that you’re able to be friends with an ex.

8. Work at it.

Every relationship is hard and requires effort. So work at your friendship with an ex just as you would with anybody else, remembering birthdays and asking about their family. Plus, being friends with an ex has a set of unique challenges – even if you’re purely platonic, seeing your ex happy with someone else for the first time probably won’t thrill you. Feeling sad about that is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be the end of your friendship. Talk through it with each other and with others, and your friendship will come out that much stronger.

9. Be prepared for questions.

Not everybody will understand your friendship with your ex. After all, it’s tough and rare achievement – especially if the two of you are close. So instead of getting annoyed at the barrage of questions you’re sure to get, take this as an opportunity to educate others. Someone who might be exceptionally confused is your new significant other. Be patient in helping him/her understand. There was probably a time when you couldn’t have imagined being friends with an ex, either.

10. Let it go.

Perhaps you’ve tried everything on this list and finally realized you and your ex just can’t be friends. Don’t beat yourself up about it! Some relationships just aren’t meant to be – and that goes for both the romantic ones and the platonic ones. You have to be friendly, aka civil when you run into each other at a party or on the street corner. But you don’t have to be friends.

Liked this? Check out 10 Tips to Manage Your Jealousy!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Let’s face it – breakups are hard. You’re ending an incredibly intimate relationship with someone and it’s natural and healthy to mourn that loss. But that doesn’t mean you have to cut that person out of your life forever! Lots of people are able to remain friends with their exes. And you can too, by following our guide.

1. Get some distance.

If you want to be friends with an ex after a breakup, it’s crucial to cut them out of your life for a while! You need to get over each other – and you can’t do that if you’re constantly in contact. Give yourselves space to breathe and mourn your loss. That means no social media or late-night “drunk texts.”

2. Know your reasons.

You’ve been broken up for several months and are ready to have your ex back in your life – but in order to avoid pain, it’s critical to get clear on why. Sure, it’s probably good to remain friends if there are extenuating circumstances, like you have kids or pets. But otherwise, pinpoint why you want to be friends with this person – and make sure it’s a healthy reason. In other words, don’t become friends with your ex because you’re still in love with them and want to get back together! It’s fine to miss your ex – but only contact them if it’s in a purely platonic way.

3. Be gentle.

People tend to have really strong feelings about whether or not remaining friends with an ex is a good idea. Even if you want to be friends, there’s a good chance your ex might not. So don’t get offended if you reach out and get rejected – it’s not personal. On that note, saying, “I want to be friends” during your breakup can create unrealistic expectations. Go with, “I’d like to be friends. I’m around if you want that too,” instead.

4. Set boundaries.

Even if you were friends first, moving from a romantic to a platonic relationship requires establishing a new set of boundaries. The most important: No sex! Ever! Getting horizontal is a surefire way to break up a budding friendship. You might also want to agree not to analyze new relationships or tell each other about your sexual exploits, at least in the beginning. And consider establishing a safe word: an easy way out if one of you begins to catch feelings.

5. Keep it casual.

There are several things you can do in your new friendship to avoid rekindling that spark. It’s probably best to hang out in groups at the beginning. This will let you test the waters to see if this friendship thing actually works for you, and also have other people to fall back on if things get too awkward. As the friendship blossoms, you’ll probably want to hang out one-on-one. Avoid any romantic date spots, like a wine bar. Finally, don’t flirt! Don’t touch or send sexy texts or you might be setting yourself up for a world of heartbreak.

6. Leave the past behind.

When you broke up, you probably left behind a lot of unsolved arguments. Leave them in the past! Rehashing old fights will only leave you upset and angry for no reason. If you want to be friends with your ex, you have to learn to let it all go. Do the last words he/she said to you still make your blood boil? You might want to reconsider being friends – especially if they did something really unforgivable, like cheat on you.

7. Deal with significant others.

Eventually, both of you are going to move on and get new significant others. And there’s a right and a wrong way to deal with that! While it’s perfectly OK to talk to each other about your love interests, whether or not you’re comfortable advising each other romantically is something you should discuss. Don’t trash talk your ex’s new partner – it makes you seem petty. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to reach out and try to be friends with him/her too. You don’t have to force it, but it would likely make everyone more comfortable. Finally, don’t hide your relationship with your ex from your new guy or gal! Once you start to get serious, it’s important to explain you’re still friends. Sure, some people will be weirded out. But the ones worth keeping will appreciate that you’re able to be friends with an ex.

8. Work at it.

Every relationship is hard and requires effort. So work at your friendship with an ex just as you would with anybody else, remembering birthdays and asking about their family. Plus, being friends with an ex has a set of unique challenges – even if you’re purely platonic, seeing your ex happy with someone else for the first time probably won’t thrill you. Feeling sad about that is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be the end of your friendship. Talk through it with each other and with others, and your friendship will come out that much stronger.

9. Be prepared for questions.

Not everybody will understand your friendship with your ex. After all, it’s tough and rare achievement – especially if the two of you are close. So instead of getting annoyed at the barrage of questions you’re sure to get, take this as an opportunity to educate others. Someone who might be exceptionally confused is your new significant other. Be patient in helping him/her understand. There was probably a time when you couldn’t have imagined being friends with an ex, either.

10. Let it go.

Perhaps you’ve tried everything on this list and finally realized you and your ex just can’t be friends. Don’t beat yourself up about it! Some relationships just aren’t meant to be – and that goes for both the romantic ones and the platonic ones. You have to be friendly, aka civil when you run into each other at a party or on the street corner. But you don’t have to be friends.

Liked this? Check out 10 Tips to Manage Your Jealousy!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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