September 10, 2010

From Boyfriend to “Just Friends”: Staying Friends with Your Ex

Adorable Relationship Picture. Read about why we were soaked here.

(Reposted from Ask Dan and Jennifer)

Well, it didn’t last. You may have found love and lost it. Or maybe you just couldn’t find any love between you to begin with and now feel you are better off keeping it platonic. This always seems to be the next logical step after a breakup: “Let’s stay friends.”

But why do you want to stay friends? If it because you have common interests and get along like the best of friends, great! However, if it is just because the thought of him not being in your life makes your heart ache, this is the wrong reason. Think about how much worse your heart will feel when he finds someone new and expects you to like her.

In fact, if you want a list of reasons why you should not stay friends with an ex, here you go: you want to stay in his life, you want to “keep tabs” on him, you want to see who he is dating, you want to keep him wrapped around your finger, you want to make him jealous of your new boyfriend, you want to keep him around for the future “just in case”…and the absolutely worst reason? Because you still love him.

Just let it go. You are not friends. You are a tie which is waiting to be cut.

The key to making a friendship work—just like a relationship—is communication. You must talk about your feelings for one another and where you stand in each others’ lives. A piece of misguided advice you may hear a lot is to not discuss new relationships with one another. However, this begs the question, why not? If you are not able to talk about your new boyfriend or to hear the details of his new girlfriend, why is it? My guess is you’re not quite over him (or vice versa). And if you are not over him, you cannot truly be friends with him yet.

Together, you should discuss what went wrong with your own relationship and why you are better suited as friends. Only after you have come to terms with these facts can you move on and allow each other to be happy with someone else.

Which brings me to my final point: you must be friendly with his new girlfriend. Once she hears of your past fling, she is bound to feel awkward, jealous, or even angry with you for sticking around. Ease her worries and reassure her that you have no intentions of stealing him away. In turn, when you have a new boyfriend, he may also feel uncomfortable with your continuing friendship. Your ex should put forth effort to befriend him. Nevertheless, if after all this, your new boyfriend is still bothered by the situation, you should ask yourself: is a friendship with my ex worth a possible breakup?

1 comment:

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