I know most of my readers expect a heftier topic but a while back; there was this time my good friend Lobna exclaimed, “how do you stay friends with your exes!”. It was quite an interesting statement, since for the entirety of my adult dating life I’d always stayed friends with my exes. I hadn’t intentionally broken it down to a method, but when I focused and got to think about what we mostly hear about past relationships. It always came down to this: “An ex is a dead person”. There’s not much talk about the “exes but on good terms” concept, in fact it’s usually frowned upon.
So, for those who’re interested to know how I do it, this is for y’all. Let’s get right into it.
You’ll never be actual “friends”
Many times, people call their exes friends — but realistically — you’ll never actually be close friends, especially when you’ve been vulnerable together and broke each other’s hearts. Maybe you’ll be on very good terms, support one another’s’ careers, seek each other’s advice, call each other for holiday and birthday greetings, maybe even attend each other’s wedding [yes some do so]; all for the sake of the good things you had between you both at a moment in time. But they’ll never be the friend you confide into, the one who you love to call up for the latest gossip, or the friend you look to for comfort when you’re anxious or upset. If you’re thinking about getting involved with a close friend; this is something important to consider.
Make up your mind
Is it for you?! Not everyone is suited for the “friends with exes” lifestyle. Some can handle it, others can’t imagine being around someone they once loved who has now moved on and might be with someone else. We are not all created with an equal span of mental energy to withstand such situations.
You don’t have to be friends with an ex because your friends tell you it’s the mature thing to do, neither do you have to cut them out of your life because your friends tell you it’s the right thing to do — the choice is yours — you and only you can decide whether this is for you or not. Remember, its not for everyone.
Pick someone with your mindset
People don’t change, people come as they are and more times than often stay as they are. If you want a person who’s ok with being friends if things don’t go well, or ok with you being friends with an ex, ask about that and figure out what their stance is on the topic from the beginning. It does say something about a person’s character and tells you whether you both are compatible or not.
Keep Parts of you to yourself
Most breakups happen within the first year of the relationship. So, what burns a whole in most hearts; is when that person is granted too much trust and access to too many personal secrets. It’s harder and more painful to kick someone out of your vulnerable soul cell than out of your weekly dinners. Be reserved at the beginning of a relationship; you’ll have less regrets and less people to be disappointed in.
Be decent and make your intentions clear
I know this goes without saying, but; some folks out there need to hear this. Some people can get quite angry when disputes arise, and due to the complexity of human nature; we are most aggressive with those we are in relationships with. We have to remember that the end of a relationship is not the end of time; we’ll have to wake up tomorrow and might have to deal with this person again.
If the romance is ending and you’re keen on staying friends; do mention it and discuss it to make sure you both understand what makes you both comfortable. Remember that the relationship is now just transitioning to a different form. Think of that before you decide to tear down or insult the person you're breaking up with. If it’s over, it’s over… back away with dignity so long as dignity permits…you shall be remembered and respected for it.
Take time to heal… apart
So, if you’re broken up, welcome to singledom, let’s partaayyyyy….. then crumble with a bucket of ice cream to sooth your lonely sorrows. What!? It’s a breakup! Take your time to mourn, to cradle your wounds, to feel your anger, burn that ex’s photos and block them on social media… what!? What happened to being friends?! We didn’t say trash their car! Or diss them on the internet! Get emotional and take ALL the time you need to heal, just remain civil. No stalking.
You are not obliged to honor any relationship of any kind until you feel well enough to do so. Take all the space and time you need. Space offers the absence required for the heart to heal and time offers an opportunity to move on to more stable ground. Once you find your own firm footing, then you can go back to your word of friendship.
Do Not Call because you “miss them”
You agreed to stay friends, so make sure when you do make that good friend call or text; that’s it’s for friendship and not because you're slipping back into old habits and emotions. This is crucial and it can be much worse for your overall relationship than the original break up.
Be a Good Friend
Don’t abuse that friendship to bug the ex or seek any revenge no matter how minor. If they find someone new, be supportive or just keep your distance. Remember, it wasn’t going to work between you both even if they remained single. Be a friend. If you feel emotions of any kind, roll back, for both your sakes.
Please do note that not all relationships can end with friendships, if one side has cheated or really hurt the other party it makes the idea of a friendship far more difficult. That being said, do respect your partners even as you do say goodbye.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about staying friends with an ex. Or at least everything I know about remaining friends with an ex. What about you? Do you stay friends with your exes? Tell us your views in the comments!