How to Get Over Your Ex While Still Remaining Friends

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We’ve all heard the horror stories of those crazy ex’s who key your car, tell all your friends your gay, or stab X’s into all the photos of the two of you.

Heck, maybe you’ve even got a few stories of your own!

The simple fact is, it’s a common by-product of our individual search for love to become romantically involved with someone who just isn’t the one.

The only problem is, no matter how much you grow to love and care for someone, connections are still made, and hearts are still broken.

So, how can you break it off smoothly with you ex, putting distance and boundaries between the two of you, while still remaining friends?

Decide Whether It’s A Friendship Worth Keeping

Before you can even begin to consider ways to keep your ex as a friend, you must first decide whether the continued relationship would be a healthy one. Obviously, your romantic relationship had flaws, otherwise the two of you would have not broken up. Deciding whether or not those flaws could lead to a potential controlling or otherwise harmful relationship, is up to you.

Sometimes, maintaining a friendship after a break up, can be just another excuse to delay properly getting over each other – dragging on a long, painful period of blurred lines. For others, having an ex for a friend can be an unnecessary threat to your current lover, while even having your ex as a potential “plan B” can hinder your budding love-life.

While it’s natural for us to want to keep a relationship we’ve put so much effort into alive – even if only in the smallest sense – sometimes it is better for all involved to let it die.

Give it Time

There’s a saying that “time heals all”, and when it comes to a relationship, that’s almost always true. Regardless of how well you ended the relationship, there’s always going to be a few hard feelings from the rejected party.

Avoid using breakup cliché’s like “it’s not you, it’s me”, but rather be honest about your feelings in an open, calm, up-front, but loving manner. Talk about how even though the two of you don’t work in a romantic context, you still cherish and care about them as a person and friend, and don’t want to lose that close connection you have with them.

Most importantly, however, make it their choice whether or not they want to continue as friends or not – being careful to respect their decision, whatever it may be.

If the answer is “yes”, avoid creating further confusion and frustration by instantly jumping into a happy friendship as if nothing ever happened, but rather respect their feelings and give them the time and space they need to come to terms with the breakup. Feel free to stay in contact with a dropped text or short meeting, but avoid being pushy or delving into conversation that’s too personal, until enough time has passed that you’re both over each other.

Being sensitive to your ex’s feelings is the only way a friendship can ever be continued after a break up, however, be prepared for the possibility that a relationship outside of a romantic one, is just too hard for either party.

Establish Boundaries

While the transition from friends to lovers can often feel seamless, the reverse is nothing but an awkward, bumpy trek along blurred lines. Going from a place of having nothing off-limits between the two of you – from your bodies, to your deepest emotions – back to the respectable distance of friends, can be tricky.

As every person and relationship is different, there isn’t really a manual for what’s not, and what is off-limits between the two of you. However, the general rule applies: if an interaction with your ex ever makes you feel romantically attached to them again, you need to rethink your relationship.

Luckily, there are a few basic boundaries you can apply.

While it may feel natural to jump back into old habits, keep physical contact to a bare minimum of the odd side-hug when meeting each other. Avoid getting too personal in your conversations – especially about your love life – and steer clear of reminiscing about your dating days as much as possible. Keep your contact with each other casual, in a group or public setting, and always ask yourself if your, or your ex’s behavior would seem appropriate if done by any of your other friends.

If a line is crossed, don’t simply smile and go along with it. Speak up, by using your body language or gently reminding your ex that you probably shouldn’t do that anymore.

Just as being sensitive to your ex’s feelings is necessary to begin a friendship, open communication and boundaries are paramount to maintaining a healthy one – while simultaneously preventing any blowback on either of your love lives.

There’s no denying the two of you have a lot of history, but with some careful tending, that painful breakup can be the beginning to a lasting friendship!

 
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