We broke up almost a year and a half ago. It was a miserable breakup but we couldn’t have stayed in the zone forever. After we recuperated from the disastrous feelings of pain, anger, and depression, we both found love in someone else.
No contact. No information about each other at all…
…unless one day, I chose to stalk him on Facebook. Surprisingly, none of the feelings of the past subsumed me. After a lot of weighing up the pros and cons of starting being friends with ex while in a relationship, I decided to hit the Add Friend.
After a couple of hours, we are on each other’s friend list, and NOW… NOW, I question is being friends with ex a good idea? Does being friends with ex work?
Here’s what I understand about the practice of being friends with ex.
What Does Being Friends With Your Ex Mean?
As a common practice, a lot of us refrain from being friends with our ex. Well, being friends with ex after a breakup means you can keep aside all your feelings of the past and start the friendship on a clean slate with a 100% guarantee that it will not lead to anything else.
This is the usual expectation and desires out of the practice of being friends with the former partner. However, with certain people, being friends with the ex-spouse or lover is usually a way to get back together which, indeed, is a bad idea unless the intention of working on the relationship is clear from both sides.
Being friends with an ex means having boundaries, respecting it and each other, despite the relationship no longer exists. It’s about respecting the time spent and not letting the ill feelings creep into the newly-formed bond.
Is Being Friends With An Ex Possible?
You might be in two minds about what being friends with your ex is like?
But before you look for a possibility of the practice or haste away in excitement with positivity and high hopes, ask yourself for a clear answer to the questions:
Is being friends with my ex hurting me?
Is being friends with ex killing me?
Will my current partner have problems with this decision?
If the answer to any of the questions above is Yes, you need to rethink your decision and avoid making your life a mess if you are deciding to be friends with an ex who cheated or dumped you or if you did it to them.
At the same time, avoid being friends with the ex you still love.
Remember, you both broke up for a reason and step back.
However, if the break up was completely healthy, a mutual decision with no hard feelings from either party, being friends with your ex is okay.
Being friends with your former partner is a very mature decision and mostly doesn’t work out because of the complexity of emotions.
When To Start Being Friends With Your Ex?
After the breakup, the cycle of grief takes place. According to experts, there are 7 stages of grief and it takes a person some time to complete the cycle.
But how long to wait before being friends with ex?
According to certain research, one should wait for 3 months before contacting your ex again. At the same time, the 3-month rule is also applicable to jump into the dating scene again.
So, it is advised to wait for 3 months and heal before getting in touch with your ex during a no-contact period.
5 Signs You Are Not Ready To Be Friends With Your Ex
How do you know whether or not you are ready to be friends with your ex, find out with the signs below:
1. You get anxious discussing your ex
If you feel anxious when their name comes up, this means you are still affected by the breakup and need time to heal. This is also a huge reason why being friends with an ex is a bad idea.
2. You feel hurt
Are you still hurt or angry with your ex?
With time, people grow out of the feeling of negativity and the memories begin to fade, so does the hurt. If this is not the case with you, being friends with your ex is a red flag.
3. You still think ‘What if we get back together?’
If you are still building hopes in your head or creating pictures in your head, despite the break up being final, you are subconsciously being friends with your ex to get them back, which is wrong. You are not ready and must step back.
At the same time, you also hope to win them back, and that is when you propose a friendship with an agenda.
4. You are eager for some information about your ex
You are still looking to find some information about them and thinking about them all the time. If you are still obsessing over them and they are taking a lot of your mental space, maybe you are not ready to be friends with your ex at the current moment.
5. You still get a rush
When you think about them or see them, you still feel the rush in your body, mind, and heart. If you can’t keep calm but feel flushed or nervous, this is a major sign being friends with ex will not work out.
Is Being Friends With Your Ex Cheating?
The situation is subjective and depends on how each couple takes the situation.
If you are dating someone new now, being friends with your former partner is a good idea only if your partner is abreast with the situation and doesn’t mind you two maintaining the friendship.
However, if your partner or your ex’s current partner isn’t happy with this idea, it’s safe to not complicate the situation and find a solution to how to stop being friends with your ex, despite you both are willing.
No matter how jealous, insecure, or distrusting your partner or your ex’s partner might seem, you both should respect the boundary now.
Also, if you are being sneaky in your relationship and maintaining contact with your ex, you are on the path of cheating and it is bound to become a serious issue in the relationship in the long run.
What Are The Boundaries When Being Friends With An Ex?
There are certain rules for being friends with an ex as the situation is no longer the same and you have through a rough patch of break up, no matter that now you both are over it.
So, how to start being friends with your former partner? What are the things to keep in mind? Let’s find out:
Give it time
Don’t jump to start a new platonic friendship with your former partner, give yourself time to heal and make sure you are completely over them before planning to be friends with your ex-partner after a divorce or break up
No matter how comfortable you are with each other or feel confident that you both have grown out of the past relationship, avoid flirting, reminiscing, and bringing the old memories back.
Treat them like a friend
Ex is rather a negative connotation when it comes to starting things on a clean slate. It might seem difficult, but try to see them as a complete friend and avoid bringing up topics that involve talking about private information that you shared while dating.
Avoid spending time alone
It is not a good idea to hang out alone often as you both might become comfortable being with each other the way you used to be, and this can be a danger or complicate the friendship. Whether you like it or not, awkward situations are bound to crop up.
Avoid relationship analysis
This means that while you are friends, you both should avoid discussing the past and analyzing why the relationship failed. Don’t discuss the past, the good, or the bad moments. As aforementioned, it should be a clean slate.
Create a clear boundary
If you are having difficulty to start with, you can start being friends with your ex on social media.
You both should set clear emotional boundaries and rather, sit and communicate about it. Avoid drunk-texting, or going to your ex to have your emotional needs fulfilled. Make it clear about the level of bond you both plan to share and you both should avoid stepping further, accordingly.
Check out the video below that discusses how ex partners can communicate effectively and in a focused way to set boundaries, especially when children are involved:
If you think being friends with your ex can lead to a relationship, you must note that you are still at a vulnerable spot and avoid it for a while. However, if you both are keen on taking things ahead in a healthy way, there can be nothing better than having an understanding friend by your side.