One of the biggest struggles after a breakup is if you should stay friends with your ex or not. Life is not some TV drama like FRIENDS or How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM), where they can drag for years remaining friends without any problems whatsoever. This is real life, and the struggle is just overwhelming. Every breakup is different, and the reasons may look similar at once, but the root cause is always unique. Often our hearts want to stay connected with the person who was so important to us all this time. And some part of us wants to let go and move ahead. The conflict is excruciating. Is it better if we stay friends with the exes or it is a good idea to break all the ties at one go? There can be strong arguments in favor of both, and this guide will help you decide which side to choose.
The good and bad of being friends with an ex
As mentioned before, no two breakups are the same. Understanding what happened that lead to the breakup could help you decide if you should remain friends or not. Going through a breakup is painful enough, let alone seeing the ex even occasionally. The leftover feeling towards the ex in your heart will pinch every inch of your mind and soul, and it has the potential to stop you from moving on with life. It does not matter if you ended the relationship on good terms or not. If the residual feelings overpower your thoughts, it is going to become problematic.
Thus, the first thing you need to do is to take some time off. Let the feelings fade a little and only then think about whether you want to be friends with the ex. Let your heart and soul mourn a bit and adjust to the fact that someone significant in your life is no longer in the scene. It is not going to be hard to be friends with the ex, but you have to give it time.
A Solid Foundation:
You have shared a lot with each other while being in the relationship. Once you are over the fact that a romantic association did not quite work out between you, developing friendship with an ex can become one of the best decisions. There will be very few people who understand you better, or know your flaws and still accept you. Such friendships can have the best of foundations, understanding, and mutual respect.
Moving Towards a Better Future:
Being a friend with your ex will help you in letting go of the past. It will help in forgiving each other, as well as yourself. You need to understand that the failure of a relationship is not any one person’s fault. You will also need to accept that sometimes the situation is not right for a passionate relationship. While you can share excellent vibes with a person, it might not necessarily translate into romantic involvement. That does not mean the exchange of thoughts, sharing ideas, and caring for the person is not possible. Such friendships can provide a much-needed insight into future relationships.
Becoming friends with the ex shows that you are mature enough to heal with time. That particular person with whom you are no longer in a relationship was a reason for your happiness once. In every relationship, some moments are made out of pure friendship without any physical overtones. You want to cherish those moments of camaraderie. On becoming friends with the ex, those moments can be re-lived, and you can create more such moments.
What are your motives?
Keeping all the benefits on the side, the first thing you need is to learn to let go. Do not be friends with the ex for selfish reasons. It will be worth only if you and your ex both want it to happen. If you are planning to stay friends only to find out if they are miserable without you, it is not going to be easy for you or for them. Any friendship with an ulterior motive is not a friendship at all.
Is it guilt?
If the foundation of your friendship with the ex includes guilt, loneliness, feeling sorry for yourself, or for breaking another person’s heart, the friendship will not stay stable for long. Feeling bad for breaking up with someone does not translate well into a reason to become friends.
Do you still want to get back together?
If you are planning to stay friends with the hope of getting back together, it is going to hurt you both in the worst possible way. Life is not a movie. In films, the main protagonists are often depicted as coming back together in the end. Nevertheless, you may never reach that point in life. Shutting away realty and keeping false hope is going to hurt your growth.
What does the significant other feel?
In many cases, your ex might find a new person in their life. The new partner may not be comfortable with the fact that the exes are still friends. If any of you have such a partner, your friendship can ruin a possibly good relationship.
So what is the final verdict?
Honestly, matters of the heart are complicated, and there is no definite solution. It all depends on what kind of relationship you had with the ex. You must be on the same page and make sure if you both are ready to move on. The first thing you need to do is to give both of you time to heal. If you try to become friends immediately after a breakup, the residual feelings on both sides, good or bad, will not bode well for the friendship.
It is not wise to stay friends with an ex if the ex was manipulative or had some other strongly negative character element. It is not wise if the relationship was abusive behind the doors. It is not the right decision to stay friends if the ex made your life miserable or tried to break you away from your friends or family. Try to be friends only if things ended on good terms, and you both understand that there is no chance that you two can be together again. Friendship with an ex is a good idea when both of you have a basic, ingrained mutual respect, and when you are ready to give each other the space to grow.
The beautiful moments of friendship that you had during your relationship are worth saving. Sit back, relax, mourn, cry, go on a solo trip, or write a journal. Let the emotions flow. Only when you feel emotionally stable, then decide what you want to do.