We all know it, we've all been through it, and the song says it: Breaking up is hard to do. One of the most difficult things we encounter with the break-up of a long-term relationship, is not the ending of the romantic side, but the ending of the close friendship that has built between the two of you. When two people spend so much time together, they learn to share everything, from time, to hardships, to joys. They often become each other's best friends. Staying friends with an ex can be complicated, given the history and unique dynamics involved. However, people who are unsuccessful at a love relationship really can make great friends, if they keep some guidelines in mind.
Tips for Staying Friends With Your Ex
1. Take that all-important break. The word "break" is in "break-up" for a reason. Even if your intention is to stay friends, it's imperative that you take a break from each other for at least a few weeks. You need to use this time to gather your thoughts and reconnect with yourself. Using each other as an emotional crutch is not what friendship is about.
2. Make a fresh start. Treat this relationship as something new between you - a friendship. This means whatever went on between you as a couple, cannot now be used as ammunition. No guilt trips, no re-hashing of old arguments, and no unhealthy patterns. You're now in each other's lives as friends, so treat each other as such and respect the new boundaries you'll need to put in place.
3. Create boundaries. There will most likely be things that are off-limits to talk about within this relationship, unlike your other friendships. Things like talking about new love interests, dates or sex will need to be negotiated from the beginning.
4. Keep it platonic. This should go without saying, but do NOT sleep with your ex! This will create nothing but problems and will certainly eliminate any possibility of you keeping a friendship.
5. Keep it relevant. Oftentimes there's a period of adjustment where we feel the need to keep our exes in our lives because they've occupied such a huge space for so long. If you find this friendship is holding you back in any way or causing you unnecessary stress, it's ok to re-evaluate and phase it out if necessary.
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