If I had to choose the top five questions that people ask me on a regular basis in my coaching sessions, this one would most certainly be one of them. It’s perfectly normal for a person to wonder if exes can be friends, especially when they’re hoping to get back together with someone. Because this is such a popular topic, I wanted to take a moment to write an article on for you today.
When a person asks me, “Can exes be friends,” there are a couple different elements that I go over with them. So in today’s article I am going to talk about the different situations in which it is a good idea to remain friends with an ex, and the situations in which it would not serve you at all. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Can exes be friends: Determining your reasons behind wanting this friendship
When someone comes to me with a question about whether or not exes can be friends, one of the first things I go over with them is the reason behind their desire for this friendship. At this stage, it is of utmost importance that you are very honest with yourself and ask yourself why exactly you want to be friends with your ex.
Is it because you’re trying to find a way to breathe life back into the relationship, or is it because you genuinely want this person in your life as a friend. Very often people were friends before they got into a relationship and when the breakup happens, they wonder if it’s possible to go back to how things were before their relationship became romantic. Just yesterday I received an email from a client who was asking me about this specific situation.
She had gotten in a relationship with her best friend and after about a year or so, they realized that they weren’t meant to be romantic partners. The breakup hurt, but she was wondering if she could be friends with her ex again because she missed her best friend…
So if you’re wondering about being friends with your ex because you know that you’ve grown, you have both developed your own lives, you’ve been able to define yourself as your own person, and perhaps you have both even been in new relationships, then it is perfectly fine to be friends with your ex. It’s really all about your emotions. If you can confidently say that your emotions are under control and you’ve been able to bounce back from this break up, and then there is no problem with being friends with an ex.
Another very important thing to keep in mind is how your ex is feeling. You might want to be friends with an ex because you miss them and you miss your friendship, but you have to make sure that your ex is on the same page. Just because you have healed and you want a platonic relationship with this person, it doesn’t automatically mean that they want the same thing. Your ex might still be heartbroken or angry, and your ex might actually struggle with seeing you as “just a friend.”
If you are going to be friends with your ex, it is crucial that you are both on the same page!
Can you be friends with an ex: The importance of timing
Now, if you’re wondering “Can exes be friends” because you’re looking for a way to get back together, you have to be careful with timing.
I was working with Marlon about two weeks ago, and he told me that his ex got in touch with him saying that she wanted to be friends. Marlon was still in a lot of emotional pain as a result of the breakup, and he wanted to know what he should do – especially since he wanted her back. The thing about these situations is that if you try and foster a friendship that is premature (because you are still too emotionally vulnerable), this could actually backfire and make things worse than before.
In addition to this if you are actively trying to get your ex back, you need to make sure that you’re doing the legwork to create a solid foundation for a friendship and a relationship with your ex. This means that if you are still hurting or are in a no contact period, you need to make sure that you can get in a positive frame of mind before you pursue a friendship with your ex. This is a very important element of getting someone back, so friendship with an ex should not be rushed.
As long as you have dedicated some time to the healing process, then being friends with your ex is possible. It is just up to you to be honest with yourself about where you are in the healing process. Like I said, trying to skip steps and rush things could actually do a lot of damage.
I cannot tell you the exact length of time that needs to pass – this is very relative that depends entirely on your relationship and your process. For some people it will be a few weeks, for others it will take a couple months, and for some people it will take over a year.
We can’t be friends if we don’t want the same thing
Another common situation is when an ex wants you back, but you don’t feel the same way. In an effort to get closer to you, he or she will propose friendship. If you know that this is the case, then being friends with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend is probably not a great idea.
I bring this up because sometimes I see people who enter into this type of situation because they like the ego boost. They like knowing that someone wants to be close to them like this, and they end up leading their exes on. Some people do this without realizing it, and some people know exactly what they’re doing.
If your ex has proposed being friends and you know that their intentions are different than yours, and some distance would be preferable to friendship.
What’s more, if your ex figures out that you’ve been leading them on, then you risk losing them for good – both as a partner and as a friend.
How to be friends with your ex: Trust and honesty
If you are going to be friends with your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, it’s very important to be on the same page. So in the same way you build a relationship, you will build a friendship with your ex based on trust and transparency.
As I said above, time plays such an important role in this process. In addition to this, it is very important to maintain healthy boundaries that allow your friendship to be sincere. A lot of people come to me asking about being friends with benefits with an ex, but the emotions involved can become extremely complex. It makes it very easy for someone to get hurt.
So if you want to be friends with your ex, it’s important to pay attention to what you really want, what is platonic versus what is romantic, what your ex really wants, and what are you are ready for.
The transition from being in a relationship to being friends can be complicated. It’s like reading a book about something and halfway through, the story completely changes. This is why it’s very important to close this the relationship before you open a chapter on friendship with your ex boyfriend or girlfriend.
There are a lot of emotions involved in these types of situations, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or a member of my team for a one-on-one guidance. You can also leave any questions you may have in the comments section below and it would be our pleasure to personally respond to you.
Wishing you all the best in life and love
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