You were in a beautiful relationship… and then it ended. Now, you have to figure out what to do with the mess in the aftermath. If you ultimately decide you want to be friends with your ex, give yourself a pat on the back. You do need to tread carefully, though, because this type of friendship is unique. Here are seven tips for how to be friends with your ex.
How to Be Friends With Your Ex: 7 Simple Tips
1. Give the Relationship the Time and Space it Needs
Trying to figure out how to be friends with your ex is admirable — and totally doable. Don’t rush it, though. If you broke up a week ago, you both likely need more time and space to grieve the end of the relationship and heal.
Rushing a friendship after a breakup could end up burying hurt feelings that will undoubtedly bubble up and explode later on.
2. Avoid Falling Back Into Old Habits
Did you and your ex-partner used to text until the wee hours of the morning? Fun times, those were. Now, they’re over.
You had such a strong bond with this person. Especially if you were together for a long time, it might only feel natural to keep all those old habits. After all, you spent years sending each other stupid memes and texting from the toilet.
However, when you put an end to a relationship, you put an end to the habits and behaviors that went along with it. The nature of your relationship has drastically changed. Also, you need to prepare yourself, because in all likelihood, your ex will move on to someone else. Then, they’ll be texting them from the toilet, not you.
Cut the apron strings now.
And speaking of your ex-partner moving on to someone else…
3. Stay Out of Their New Relationships
You feel entitled to an opinion on the new person they’re dating — obviously. After all, you used to be entitled to an opinion about everything, from how they combed their hair to the way they used to wear socks with sandals.
The difference now, though, is that you’re just their friend. In other words, your ex’s new relationship is none of your beeswax.
If you’re going to commit to being their friend, you have to commit to keeping it positive and refraining from starting any drama. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re rebounding with someone else, jumping into a new relationship too quickly, or doing everything for the new person that they were supposed to do with you.
Be supportive, or at the very least, stay out of it. The friendship will suffer otherwise.
4. Only Hang Out in Environments That Are “Ex-Friendly”
Did you have your first kiss in the back of a movie theater? Steer clear of that cinema.
Do you know that being alone with them will make it hard to resist certain temptations? Only hang out in groups.
Being friends is wonderful, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need boundaries. In fact, relationships of all kinds have boundaries. It’s how we protect ourselves and each other.
5. Call Them Your Friend — Not Your Ex
Yes, they’re your ex, but now? They’re your friend. Introducing someone or referring to them as your ex makes things weird. It also kind of implies you’re stuck in the past. If you want to be friends, treat it like a friendship — not a relationship that ended.
6. Limit Your Social Media Exposure to Them
After a breakup, we certainly love to torture ourselves by watching our ex-partners’ every move on social media. Where did they check in? Who were they with? What kinds of fun were they having without you?
This is a recipe for hurt feelings. Also? Social media stalking is something you do with an ex — not a friend. Remember those boundaries? Set another one: don’t unfriend your ex on Facebook, but consider unfollowing them. Don’t unfollow them on Instagram, but maybe mute their posts.
That way, you control when you want to see them. You won’t risk any undesirable photos popping up on your newsfeed with no warning.
7. Avoid Trash Talking to Your Gal Pals
We all need that time after a breakup to vent and talk smack to our friends. Give yourself this time, for sure. However, when you decide you’re ready to be friends with your ex, you have to try to let the negativity go. Keep it positive, leave the gossip behind, and be a friend to your ex both to their face and behind their back.