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Do You Know How To Be Friends With An Ex-Lover ?

By Chinelo Eze
08 April 2022   |   9:40 am
Still being in love with an ex-lover and being friends might just be a recipe for disaster because it is hard but it is possible. For some people, even after a breakup, they continue to hold on to what used to be, but this feeling is connected with wanting to continue the relationship. Fully acknowledging…

Still being in love with an ex-lover and being friends might just be a recipe for disaster because it is hard but it is possible. For some people, even after a breakup, they continue to hold on to what used to be, but this feeling is connected with wanting to continue the relationship. Fully acknowledging that the relationship is over, and making a conscious effort toward moving on with life, is the first step to moving on. In that way maintaining  a friendship with your ex becomes possible.

So if the feelings you have for your ex still feel strong being friends at this point would be hard because of these feelings, therefore hard to move on.

When Should You Move On After  A Breakup?

Give yourself time, as there is no set timeline for getting over a breakup. Healing time comes differently for different people. For instance, for some people, take just a few weeks or months, while for others, it can take years. However, it is crucial to make progress towards moving on or are in the process of doing so successfully before getting to the point of sealing the relationship as being friends.

This new friendship should not deter either person’s ability to move on, and if it seems so, it is too early to be in contact.

Boundaries With An Ex

Boundaries help set the rules, the do’s and don’ts and this is important to set with your ex, regardless of the intention to stay friends or not. The boundaries can include physical, emotional, time, or energetic boundaries. This decision lies with both parties regarding what boundaries need to be in place that makes it be able to stay friends without it becoming messy, painful, or going back into the romantic zone.

Here are more helpful tips:

  • Consider the length of time used to communicate with each other
  • Is there still emotionally reliance on each other?
  • What kinds of information do you share about your personal lives?
  • Are you going to share personal information about your dating lives with new partners?
  • Is it awkward when you spend time alone together? Or rather hang out in a group only?
  • Ascertain the level of friendliness that is comfortable when you see each other in person.

In terms of physical boundaries, some people have an understanding of sharing physical intimacy with their exes and this is not limited to having casual sex. This largely depends on the people involved and the context. A marriage counsellor advises that including a sexual relationship with an ex closes boundaries. If the relationship with an ex hinders one from moving on, then it is best to cease any relationship afterwards from taking place.

How To Make It Work

  • Be certain you are over each other. Be mindful of how you feel when around each other. How do you feel about the thought of dating another person? Is the vibe around each other tense? Is the chemistry pull still there? These are ways to tell.
  • Give time a chance. It is easy to presume you can pick up where you stopped and be friends, space and time is of the essence after a break up to know if you can remain friends. 
  • There should be a difference after the separation. The relationship as a couple should be different from being friends. Do you still rely on each other? What is the level of intimacy shared? Is there any difference in this new relationship as friends after the breakup?
  • Be objective about things. Do you think you need more space? If jealousy creeps in when one person starts dating another then that is a sign to take some steps back. 

In maintaining the friendship status, be cordial to each other and it is not necessary to be friends with each other to show you care.

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