love out loud: how to be friends with your ex
1. Let shit go. No matter whether you break up on good or bad terms, there is almost always some residue from a relationship that is never going to be fully resolved. Let it go. It’s over.
2. Be on the same page. In all technicality, if one of you sees the friendship as a deviated path back into a relationship, then it’s not a friendship. But for the sake of including another point on this list, then I’ll say that it’s important to make any such intentions clear from the outset. It can be quite hurtful knowing that someone who was only ever friends with you in the first place had ulterior motives, and allowing an ex back into your life under what turn out to be false pretences adds another layer of deceit. Having this conversation early on will also likely diffuse any potentiality for sexual tension.
3. Don’t have sex. Would you have sex with your best friend? If not, then don’t do it with your ex. If you would, then you need new friends. Friendship is defined by the absence of sex and all its derivatives and just because you used to touch each other doesn’t grant you an exemption.
4. Be comfortable in any given social situation. In other words, if seeing your ex kissing someone else is going to send you ragin’, you probably can’t be friends. They are going to kiss people and they are going to date people, and these people might even be your friends. If you can only be friends with an ex for as long as you are both single, then you need more time.
5. Make sure the timing is right. New partners may feel threatened by the sudden re-appearance of an ex, and if you’re both single, it might be all too tempting to get back together. Neither of these situations mean death to a blossoming friendship, but they do require some negotiation.
6. Don’t take lingering trips down memory lane. This doesn’t mean that you can’t bring up things that happened while you were together, but there is a distinct difference between ‘remember that camping trip?’ and ‘remember how I loved you alllllll night long in the tent on that camping trip?’
7. And above all, exercise a bit of a common sense. This list isn’t exactly communicating revolutionary ideas and yet, far too many friendships with ex-partners fail because people doesn’t use their head. If you still love them, it won’t work. If you’ve only just broken up, it won’t work. If you secretly relish drunken nights out together because you can justify away any lapses in the plutonicness of your relationship, it won’t work.
Some ex-partners won’t ever be friends, but the intimacy that is fostered in relationships can often translate into a really wonderful friendship.
Sometimes it’s not love that’s all you need, but time.
(Image credits: 1.)