We’ve all been there – in that weird zone after a breakup where someone says, “I really want us to stay friends,” or “I value our friendship too much to let sex get in the way of that,” or “Your friendship means so much to me – let’s not let this breakup ruin that.”
And after you get through the original feelings of “That’s bullshit, I hate your guts and will probably ask my best friend to accidentally hit you with her car,” you might realize that you do actually appreciate and miss the friendship you had with your ex. But is being friends with your ex even possible? If you follow these nine rules, you and your ex can start over, let go of the past and turn your breakup into a lasting friendship.
1. Take some time away from your ex. Let the anger and hurt you might feel over the breakup subside and once you’re in a good place again, reach out to rekindle the friendship.
2. Make sure to hang out with mutual friends, not alone. Especially at first, hanging out alone will feel too intimate. If you hang out with other friends, things will definitely be less awkward since you will have other people to fall back on. If you happen to end up spending time alone, try to fill that time with activities that can distract you from getting all lovey-dovey like you normally would have.
3. Be up front about your feelings. Be clear that nothing sexual or romantic is going to happen between the two of you. If you’re both on the same page about your expectations of this new kind of relationship, you’ll both be happier.
4. Remember the things you loved about them when you were a couple. And then let those things inform what you love about them as a friend.
5. NO DRUNK TEXTING. You’re drunk, lonely, and really just want someone to come cuddle you, and make you feel good about yourself. You convince yourself that one little text won’t hurt, right? WRONG. The next thing you know, it’s morning and you find them naked in your bed with a condom wrapper on the floor. Just don’t do it.
6. Don’t talk shit about them. Once you’ve decided to commit to this friendship, you’ve given up the right to badmouth them to your friends. If something they’re doing is really bothering you, tell them directly, like you would with any other friend.
7. Don’t flirt with them or try to win them back. You both decided to try to be friends, don’t turn around and hit on them. One or both of you will undoubtedly end up hurt, so it just isn’t worth it.
8. Don’t rub new significant others in their face. You would hate it if they did that to you, so don’t do it to them. Feel free to date new people, to fall in love, even to eventually introduce your new bae to your ex; just don’t try to make your ex jealous.
9. Be honest with yourself. If you realize you still aren’t over your ex or the breakup, maybe you need more time or space. And if this friendship truly isn’t working, maybe it’s time to let it go forever. No matter how much it hurts, you are the most important person in your own life, so make sure you’re happy.
No matter how many people may tell you it’s a bad idea, being friends with your ex is possible. Nobody knows you better than yourself – if you think you can do it, you can. Just make sure to follow these nine rules, and you’ll have yourself a successful friendship.
Featured Image via screengrab of The Break-Up