The end of a long term relationship, or any relationship, can be really tough. Often, your significant other becomes your best friend, and then all of a sudden, they’re your ex. It may seem like being friends after the break up would be impossible, but it really just takes time. I’ve been called some pretty outrageous things by my ex, such as “psychotic bitch” and “the devil”. However, we’ve managed to be able to put all that break up drama aside, and now he’s one of my good friends. It’s not right for everyone, but it’s definitely possible.
Here’s a few tips on how to manage being friends with your ex. (Even if it seems impossible.)
1. Give Yourselves Time
Time is the biggest factor. Depending on the relationship, this could be a few weeks or a few years. It’s crucial that both of you have had a chance to move on, and have experienced fairly substantial feelings for someone else. In other words, if the last person you were head over heels for is the ex you’re trying to be friends with, you’re asking for a disaster. Attempting to be friends with an ex right after a break up will come with mis-placed feelings, misguided judgment, and a huge mess of emotions. Firstly, give yourself the time to mourn, heal, and figure out if being friends is in your future.
2. Exes are NOT Hook-Ups
I don’t care how great your ex was in bed. It doesn’t matter if he’s the only one that made you scream, the only guy that’s into what you’re into, or whatever. Exes are not hook ups. It’s dangerous territory. You may hook up once and think you miss him – then before you know it, fall into your own confusing emotions. If you want to rekindle that flame into something more, start with a conversation – not the bedroom. I have tried getting ex’s back using sex, and it ended in a gallon of ice cream and a bottle of Jack Daniels…. and no drunken booty calling when you finish the Jack. It makes things worse. Believe me, I learned the hard way.
The best way to avoid hooking up with your ex is to avoid being alone with him at first. In the beginning, it’s difficult to know whether or not feelings will resurface, and you don’t want to find yourself half way naked in his bed thinking “well, this isn’t what I had in mind”. Group settings are a good start.
Also, avoid doing couple-y things together like having a movie night with just the two of you. We all know movie nights turns into “movie” nights. For a more extensive reminder, check out Having Sex With Your Ex.
3. Don’t Try to Make Him Jealous
Even if you’re completely over your ex, you might still feel the need to prove how much better off you are without them. There’s no need to dress up or show off around him. He’s probably seen you at your best and worst, and he remembers them both. It may be innocent, or you’re just trying to prove the point that he lost out on something great – but you’re trying to be his FRIEND. Getting all dolled up may send the wrong message. Refer back to “ex’s are not hook ups” if you get confused.
Also, don’t go out of your way to show off you’re new boy toy. Having one is one thing. Flaunting it is just annoying. If your ex asks about your love life, he’s probably just being polite. So go ahead and reply with a quick vague comment, and avoid going into extensive detail about how great your new guy is. However, not even your best friends care that much, trust me. Keep your gushing to your finsta, please.
4. He is Not Your Therapist
There are some things that are acceptable to vent about, like how crazy your family is, because he knows firsthand, or how your job is driving you insane. But just because you’re now friends with your ex, does not mean you get to bring your boy drama to him. Above all, if you need boy advice, go to anyone except your ex. He has personally been the victim of your crazy rants and over dramatic responses. More than likely, he’ll be shaking his head saying “poor guy”. Whatever is going on with your love life can be talked over with your other friends or a professional. Or we have an advice column here!
5. You’re not ready if…
Sometimes, you’re just not ready to be friends with your ex. If you find yourself stalking his Facebook pictures thinking “ugh, that girl isn’t even pretty”, or refer to his girlfriend as a “crusty bitch”, you need more time. Your ex doesn’t want to hear you talking crap about the new girl in his life. Cutting off all connections to someone is the best way to get over them, even if you’d eventually like to be friends again. Block his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snap Chat. Even his number if you need to. Distance and time heals broken hearts, and someday, you may be ready to unblock and be friends.