Remaining friends with an ex boyfriend, girlfriend, or significant other can be hard. Not everyone is capable of it, and not everyone even wants it. My personal philosophy is that if you have cared for them once, you can care for them always; just in a different aspect. Is it necessary? No. Is it always possible? No. Can it be beneficial? Of course. I have done my best to stay friends with the majority of my exes and I like to consider the ones that I have to be dear friends. The romance and intimacy is gone, and you are left with a simple friendship you can cherish.

Continue reading for some reasons as to why it can be a positive experience to remain friends with an ex, and some helpful ways to do so.

1. Do your best to have an amicable break up.

One of the main reasons that people seem to struggle with remaining friends with an Ex is that they had a nasty breakup. That is completely understandable; but breakups happen. Not everyone can have the breakup that Carrie and Aiden had (the second time). Most of us are more the Ross and Rachel type (WE WERE ON A BREAK!)

Nevertheless, if you truly want to remain friends with your current love, then do your best to have a cordial break up. If they choose to be hateful and harsh, that is on them; you can still choose to be the bigger person and leave on a high note. Also, if someone breaks up with you in a spiteful way, do you really want to remain friends with them anyway? Just a thought. You learn more about someone at the end of a relationship than you do from the beginning.

2. Allow time for the feelings to go away.

Another big reason people struggle is that they attempt friendship too early. When you are in loving relationship, you can not just transition that love from romantic to platonic without a cooling off period. If you can, then the love you thought you had was probably not as serious as it seemed. There needs to be ample time for both parties to sufficiently move on before the friendship can successfully occur.  Otherwise you can end up just prolonging the pain, or one of the two of you is going to get hurt all over again.

3. Be respectful of any new significant others in their life.

This can be a huge factor in whether or not you can remain friends with an ex. Once they start dating someone new, all bets are off. It is understandable that the new girl/guy may not be okay with their new flame staying close with an old one. There are quite a few people out there who understand that some people stay close with exes, but just as many that don’t understand and will not be okay with it. You have to make sure that you don’t let your past relationship interfere with their new one.

4. Keep the friendship PG.

Honestly, once you’ve been physically involved with a person, it can be easy to fall in to old habits when the two of you are alone. However, If you want to keep it strictly a friendship, you can not continue to engage in any physical interactions that generally are exclusive to romantic relationships. Staying physical with an ex will only blur the lines between friendship and relationship, and again result in one, or both of, you getting hurt all over again.

5. Don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Hear me out on this one. So many women and men make the mistake of remaining friends with an ex in the hopes that said ex will change their mind and decide they want to get back together. If the person broke up with you, there was a reason. If you continue to hang on to the hope that the friendship will head back in the direction that you want, you are only setting yourself up for potential disappointment in the future. Do yourself a favor, and only remain friends if your ultimate goal is nothing more than friendship in the truest sense.

At the end of the day if you truly want to remain friends with an ex, it just needs to be desired by both sides. You can’t force any friendship, let alone one that started out as a romantic relationship. Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, and make sure that either way you are going to be happy. That is all that really matters, in the end.

Featured photo credit: Let’s hug by Jakubowski Foto via Flickr via flickr.com

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