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Is A Break-up Easier If You Move Into The Friend Zone? -Stephanie Bailey

Updated on June 17, 2013
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My passion is writing about love, sex, dating, and relationships. I write based on my own personal experiences and those that I relate to.

A break-up is heart wrenching, regardless if you are the one to initiate it—or are the one being broken-up with.

Typically, deciding to end a relationship usually doesn’t just happen on a whim; it is the result of one (or both) partner’s lack of effort. The relationship dissipates due to dissatisfaction and inadequate determination to keep the relationship progressing forward. Depending on how long you have been together, breaking up can be a difficult decision, to say the least. Afterwards, it is even more of a challenge to actually execute the break up.

So, is there such a thing as an easy break-up? No…at least not right away. You can fool yourself into believing that you can immediately become friends with your ex, but that is a naive way of thinking. If you are the one breaking-up, do you really think your ex wants to see you dating other people? He (or she) doesn’t. What your soon-to-be ex hopes for—if they agree to be “friends”—is that maybe, just maybe you will change your mind and want more. This might happen in romantic movies, but it doesn’t happen successfully in real life—trust me.

From my own experiences, I convinced myself that I could jump into the “friend’s zone” with several ex’s—but I immediately felt guilt. I figured that just because I didn’t want to be romantically involved anymore, couldn’t we at least be friends? This not-so-wise decision only caused more hurt, frustration, and unwanted tension between us.

Think about it: unless you find emotional rollercoaster pleasurable, would you really want to see someone you previously dated, who purposely broke-up with you, that you still have feelings for, develop an intimate connection with someone else? No! If you have convinced yourself otherwise, that’s another issue…and you might want to seek out a therapist.

From what I’ve found, spending time apart is incredibly essential if you truly want to remain friends, and only friends, with an ex one day. With adequate time—months or possible years of no communication (if there are children involved this is a completely different situation)—a friendship can eventually form. People need time apart to heal, that’s why the saying, “time heals all wounds” exists. Without separation, the healing process is impossible.

At the end of the day, relationships are hard to find—and can be even harder if you can’t cut the emotional ties with your ex. Remember, break-ups are never easy, that’s why they are break-ups. Someone’s heart will be broken, but will heal as time goes on. Respect yourself and your ex enough, and don’t rush him or her into an unwanted friend zone.

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      Mary Roberts-Bailey 4 years ago

      I think the author is correct. We delude ourselves by saying we will end a relationship and become friends. We do need time to heal and through the healing, we may become friends--perhaps, one day. Very insightful article.

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      marketeconomy 4 years ago

      I agree with dashingscorpio that when a relationship ends, it is usually one person who really wants the break-up. If, after time, the other party (the one who wanted to try and "work on the relationship, and stay together") is able to accept that the relationship would not have worked in the form that it was in while dating, then the parties have a chance of a true friendship.

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      dashingscorpio 4 years ago

      Very often a breakup occurs when two people realize they don't want the same things for the relationship. Another major reason for breaking up is when one person determines they have (chosen) the wrong mate for themselves.

      Most people enter relationships by "happenstance" or "one thing led to another...etc" They go through a hot and heavy (infatuation phase) where everyone is on their "best behavior" to attract and impress one another. After that period wears off they reveal their "authentic selves". Some people embark on a project to "change" their mate into what they (really) want. This leads to frustration on their part and resentment on the part of their mate.

      Last but not least some breakups are the result of one partner committing a "deal breaker" in their mate's eyes.

      At any rate going from lovers to "instant friends" seldom works because it's rare that (both) people wanted the relationship to end. One person may be accepting the "friendship status" with hope they'll be given a second chance down the road. I agree with you that friendships with exes are best when there has been a large gap in time between the couple seeing one another and they have ideally entered into relationships with others.

      Even under the best of circumstances their "new mates" may not be so accepting of their friendship with exes. Given a choice between maintaining a platonic friendship with an ex or keeping the new love of your life happy... most would choose the second option. One man's opinion! :-)