Can You Be Friends With Your Ex?
Are you really done breaking up with him?
A lot depends on why you broke up. Anytime there is a restraining order, no friendship can come.
Fifteen years of ex's under my belt, and very few have survived to become true friends.
But yes. Yes, after a considerable amount of time passes, after you have both really moved on, yes. Yes, you can be friends.
I say, the two big reasons why normal people that have had an average break up with no restraining orders, cant stay friends are:
- You aren't done dating.
- Or you aren't done breaking up.
And I think the real question might be why would you want to?
Let's first look at the break up. Are you done breaking it off? Do either of you have unresolved anger towards the other? Do either of you feel like you were taken advantage of, or taken for granted, and haven't fully expressed this in a cleansing way. The first relationship -lovers- has to really be over, before the second relationship -friendship- can begin.
Is wanting to be friends now a subconscious excuse to be around this person so you can find closure on unresolved things?
And the opposite is true, too. Did you break up because you cheated? Did you take her for granted? Did she find out you lied about your ex?
Is wanting to be friends now, really a product of guilt you have for how you were as a partner? Do you feel you owe your ex, at the very least, your friendship?
These are not the kinds of preambles that will result in good friendships. Be clear about the break up in your mind, and make sure your ex is too.
If you truly want to be friends with your ex, it should be because you like him as a friend. It needs to be because you are willing to work at what might be a very hard friendship to solidify. What attracted you to him or her in the first place, is probably still there. She may still be the coolest person in your office, that reads the same things you read and enjoys talking about those books over 2am coffees at bad diners. He may still be the guy with the best sense of humor, that's happy to go to Ranger games and Crobar, and shares a lot of your interests. Your ex may still exist in the same light in which you first saw this person. Maybe dating was a mistake. Or maybe it was worth a shot, but sadly it didn't work.
Be clear, however, that there is a difference between working at a friendship with someone worth it, and the possibility that you are just avoiding the fact that you need to move on.
There's habit and familiarity here, which are huge things and should not be taken lightly. Do you want to be friends with your ex because he's so exceptional, or because he's so easy and convenient?
This is someone who already knows your friends, your season tickets, your habit of not showering on Sundays, your secret love of the Golden Girls. You don't have to explain yourself; you don't to go through that awkward sometimes painful getting-to-know-you phase. I classify this under "you aren't done dating yet." There are many aspects to what you had as a couple. Obviously there was sex. And if you two haven't gotten that out of your system, that's an issue all its own. But there is also that comfort zone, where you don't have to stress any of the fear factor parts of dating again, and learning someone new.
Now here's another thought: Just like the idea that the reasons you liked this guy in the first place still exist, there's another list that still exists too. Odds are all the reasons you decided in the end that you do not want to be with this girl also still exist. You couldn't put up with her obsession with American Idol when you were dating her, can you deal with it as a friend?
While you're deciding, life is going on. And here's my going forward advice. Make sure you're finished dating this person. Make sure you're done breaking up. And then, after that is passed, make every effort to maintain at least a casual friendship if this is someone who is in your life anyway. If this is a person who is part of your circle of friends, someone that you are bound to bump in to time and time again, someone that your friends know and will continue to socialize with, make it easy on everyone including yourself. Be a grown up, have some maturity, suck it up if you have to, and really try.
It will make everyone and every event more comfortable. You will look polished and mature, and easy going. You will be assured inclusion in any group events, even those reserved for couples. Then, if it does turn out that this ex is someone you would really cherish as a friend, you've paved the way.
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All text is original content by Veronica.All photos are used with permission.All videos are used courtesy of Youtube.
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