Being friends with your ex
There are many reasons why you’d choose not to be friends with your ex, for example:
- You were in an abusive relationship and you want to cut all contact with your ex. You’re worried that you might fall into another cycle of abuse if they find you.
- Your partner did something unforgivable. They might have lied to you about something very important, cheated on you, or breached your trust in a way that can't be healed.
- You're still grieving for your relationship. You need some time, and can't be friends with your ex until you’ve got rid of all your bad memories.
- You're afraid that you’ll rebound. You think that being friends might just lead to both of you getting back together. And you know that’s unhealthy for you.
- You still have very strong feelings for your ex. You can’t contain them and being friends with your ex will just make you more miserable.
You can read more about the do's and don'ts of being friends with an ex here.
If you do decide to be friends with your ex, here are a few tips:
- Give yourself time after the break up. Don’t rush into being friends with your ex. There might be negative feelings left over from your relationship which won’t be a good foundation for friendship. Only start seeing each other as friends if you’re sure there are no bad feelings left.
- Don’t be pushy. If your ex is clear about not wanting a friendship, respect their space.
- Know your motives. Why do you want to be friends with this person? Is it because you’re trying to woo them back into your life as a partner, or because you genuinely treasure them as a friend?
- Take one step at a time. Fitting into your ex’s life as a friend after being in an intimate relationship is challenging. So start off gently. Start by calling each other on birthdays, sending emails, text messages etc. Call off meeting each other until you think the awkward phase has passed.
- Don’t discuss sexual or romantic topics in the beginning. If you’re dating someone or have a crush, don’t discuss it with your ex. You can be honest with them about your love life, but spare them the details.
- Share your new relationship status with a good friend. It’s always good to let a trusted friend in on how you’re dealing with a new friendship.
- Avoid flirting or a physical relationship with your ex. This can be dangerous – before you know it, you might end up in a situation which leaves you both confused and unhappy. Remind yourself of all the reasons that led to the break up.