Breakups happen. You lose the person you love, and you either feel brilliant for the first few weeks or you wallow in misery and despair. Either way, at some point down the line, you’re going to miss your ex. And more than likely, they’ll miss you too. You’ll crave the comfort of their company and miss seeing their name pop up on your screen. You wait to see if they’ll text you, and you’re holding yourself back from contacting them.
You might start to wonder if you could still have them in your life, even if it’s just as a friend. If you feel that enough time has passed from the breakup and you could actually maintain a healthy friendship of some sort with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, then there is a possibility that being friends with them could work.
However, you have to be very sure that you won’t fall back in love with them and hoping that they will too. And you need to be very clear on the boundaries of the friendship so you don’t end up just being a friend with benefits. With that in mind, here are 8 rules on how to be friends with your ex.
01. SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
Let your ex know straight away that if you’re going to keep a friendship, that’s all it’s going to be. You were both obviously attracted to each other to start with and chances are, the attraction is still there. Your ex might still want more than friendship, so state very clearly that you’re only willing to be friends if they don’t try anything else. If your ex starts getting flirty over text just tell them nicely — but firmly — that you think the flirting should stop if you’re to have any chance of maintaining a healthy friendship.
02. ASK YOURSELF IF THIS IS WHAT YOU REALLY WANT
Do you really want to be ‘friends’ with your ex or is this your way of trying to get back together with them? Remember that you broke up for a reason and you’ll only end up breaking up again if you get back together after being friends. It’s important not to lie to yourself and say that you want to be friends if you’re really just trying to win them back. Make sure you’re being friends with your ex for the right reasons.
03. BE CAREFUL THEY’RE NOT LEADING YOU ON
If your ex broke up with you and a month later they’re back saying they miss you and want to hang out and ‘be friends,’ you need to be very careful they’re not just trying to either (A) sleep with you or (B) lead you to believe they want to start up another relationship, because they just want to sleep with you. Even if it was them who broke up with you, they’re going to get lonely at some point and probably miss the comfort of your relationship. And instead of trying to find someone new to start dating, you’re the easier option for them. Make sure you’re very clear on their intentions — and don’t forget that it’s fine to be sceptical as to why they want to be friends.
04. DON’T SLEEP WITH YOUR EX
Don’t do it, ever. You’ll hate yourself in the morning — you’ll feel empty and regretful and it’ll only end in more heartbreak. If you end up meeting up with your ex and one thing leads to another, have the strength to walk away and stand strong in your feelings of just wanting to be friends. You might think, ‘oh this is great, my ex wants me back and we can be happy again’. No. They want you back for the night because it’s the easiest option. Don’t fall for it — you’re so much better than just being someone to sleep with. Move on and don’t let your ex string you along and play with your emotions.
05. DON’T KEEP TEXTING THEM
Don’t start texting your ex every day again and if they’re texting you a lot, don’t be too eager to reply. If you fall back into the habits of your old relationship, you’re opening the door to them coming back into your life and letting them have the benefits of a relationship without the commitment. It’s fine to keep in touch with them and check in on how they’re doing, but being too friendly and texting all the time will give them hope that you’re interested in more than just friends.
06. DON’T FEEL SORRY FOR YOUR EX
You might agree to meet up with your ex if you’re feeling sorry for them because they seem lonely or upset after the breakup, but that’s just the good in you seeing the best in them. Realise that they don’t need your pity and they’ll be just fine whether you ‘be friends’ with them or not. They’ll eventually move on with someone new but they just miss you at the moment. Don’t fall back into old habits just because you want them to be happy and don’t like seeing them sad.
07. MEET THEM IN A PUBLIC PLACE
If you do decide to meet up with your ex, make sure it’s to do something fun in public like going to the cinema, a gig or an activity centre. Don’t agree to meet them at their house or let them come round to yours because it could lead to a lot more than being friends. If they suggest meeting somewhere private like their house, then it makes their intentions are pretty clear. Keep socialising with your ex to a limited amount of time and meet somewhere where you can leave and go home afterwards. Drive to meet them to avoid having a drink, which can lead to all sorts. (No alcohol is best — trust me)!
08. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY LOYALTY
You might feel guilty about talking to new people or going on dating apps if you’re still in touch with your ex, but you can’t put your life on hold for someone who doesn’t want to make you a priority in theirs. Even if you’re talking to your ex, you can still date other people or show interest in others. You don’t have any loyalty to this person who broke up with you and you shouldn’t hold off in case something happens with them, because it won’t. And if it does, it won’t last. Put yourself first and start living your own life. Move on and focus on yourself and your future. The right person is out there for you, and it’s most definitely not your ex.