How to be friends with your ex. Although most of us would like to find the “right” person to be with, to have at our side through thick and thin for the rest of our lives, the reality is that many of the people we date will eventually turn into our exes.
As much as we would prefer not to have it happen, it is a natural part of the process of finding “the one.”
However, the biggest issue with having exes is not necessarily that we wasted our time or anything, but it’s how to deal with them after the fact.
Going from a romantic relationship to something more platonic can be difficult to handle, especially when considering the circumstances.
Nonetheless, it is perfectly reasonable to be cordial and polite to your ex and even be friends with them.
If you’re not sure how that’s possible, allow us to illustrate.
Do You Want to Become Friends?
First and foremost, don’t try to keep the lines of communication open if you don’t want to.
If you never plan on seeing each other again, then friendship is not really a viable option, and that’s okay.
However, there may be certain circumstances where you have to maintain some kind of a relationship regardless of your personal feelings.
For example, if children are involved, if you both work at the same office, or if you both know a lot of the same people.
If you are unable to separate completely from your ex, then friendship should be your go-to strategy.
Step One: Communicate
This is important with any kind of relationship, but it’s vital for you and your ex when entering into this next phase.
First of all, you should make sure that both of you are on the same page.
This is particularly the case if one of you broke it off with the other, despite his or her protest.
In that case, what usually happens is that your ex will consider this “friendship” to be leading to a possible reconciliation.
If you are open to that down the line, then make it known.
Otherwise, be as up front about what you hope to achieve by being “just friends.”
If necessary, you may have to establish some ground rules.
These will depend on a variety of factors, including whether or not your platonic relationship is based on mutual feelings or circumstances.
In the end, however, it’s imperative that both of you understand where you are emotionally and are on board with the idea.
Step Two: Find Closure
One of the biggest reasons that exes have a hard time with each other is that they have unresolved issues.
For example, if you were dumped seemingly out of the blue, it can feel like your feelings and opinions don’t even matter, which can create a rift between you.
So, to ensure that you can move forward on a solid foundation, it’s crucial that you both find closure from your previous relationship.
If there are still any nagging doubts or questions about it, then spending time together platonically will only make things worse, and you’ll have to confront your feelings eventually.
This will be difficult, but it’s a necessary step to keep things moving in a positive direction.
Step Three: Start Fresh
Although you can’t forget the past, nor the baggage that it brings, you don’t want it to affect your new friendship.
By this, we mean don’t bring up stuff that happened when you were a couple, and don’t judge each other’s actions based on your previous romantic relationship.
For example, if you make plans with your ex and he or she cancels, don’t take it too personally.
It’s important that you try to view this new phase through fresh eyes so that things don’t take a turn for the worse.
Overall, do what you can to bury the emotions of the past and wipe the slate clean.
This doesn’t mean that you should treat each other like strangers, but instead, you should focus on the future, not the past.
Step Four: Keep it Platonic
When it comes to things like sex and touching, it can be easy to fall back into old habits, particularly if you are both single.
However, that will invariably lead to complications down the line, so avoid it altogether.
If it does happen, though, then make sure that you talk about it and discuss what it means for your friendship.
It’s best to be open and honest with your feelings afterward, since one person may take it far more seriously than the other.
Step Five: Don’t Be Hostile to New SOs
One of the biggest hurdles that you can come across is dealing with your ex dating someone else.
This can be difficult for some people, but it’s imperative that you learn to live with it.
The point of remaining friends shouldn’t be to keep tabs on your ex and his or her actions, but rather to maintain a relationship with someone you care about.
Again, it’s important that you bury the hatchet and start fresh, so you’ll have to come to terms with this situation at some point.
The sooner you can adjust to it, the better off you will be.
In the end, making it work with your ex shouldn’t be a chore.
Since you are no longer a couple, you shouldn’t be devoting a lot of your time or energy into each other, as it will only lead to resentment or jealousy down the line.
Unless your goal is to get back together, the best thing to do is to keep each other at arm’s length, at least until you have achieved full closure and know that reconciliation is no longer an option.
Once that happens, you can become good friends without the baggage.
Additional: 6 Ways to Stay Friends with an Ex