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Ways to Successfully Remain Friends With an Ex

Ways to Successfully Remain Friends With an Ex

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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