Can You Be Friends With An Ex?
When you break up with someone after a romantic relationship, there are usually emotional scars left over which can last for months or even years. If you still get along with your ex, is it possible to stay friends, in spite of the damage you’ve inflicted on each other?
Mallory from Indianapolis, IN writes:
“I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of months ago, and it was a rough breakup, but the thing is, we used to be friends before we started dating, and that was really great. Dating each other didn’t work and we really hurt each other, but I want my friend back. Is it possible for us to still be friends, or has too much happened?”
The answer to this question varies depending on the people involved and the relationship (past and present), but in your case I don’t see why not. From what you say, you used to have a good and meaningful relationship with your ex before he was your boyfriend. If you both enjoyed that relationship and it contributed to your lives, then I see no reason why it couldn’t once again.
A lot of people date friends only to discover that the relationship doesn’t work out, not because of the people involved, but just because of a lack of compatibility on a romantic level. The ground rules of the relationship change and different expectations are projected onto the situation. When you two were platonic friends, those expectations and rules may have been acceptable to both of you. When you tried to date, you may have discovered your romantic expectations clashed. It doesn’t mean the two of you aren’t still compatible as friends—just not as romantic partners.
You should expect there to be some issues of course—it’d be wonderful if you could just transition back to the way things were, but one seldom can repeat the past, especially now that you both know more about each other than you did before. So expect some problems to arise and some emotional situations which are difficult to present themselves. If you’re both mature, however, and you value the friendship, you should be able to overcome these obstacles. You may even find that your friendship is strengthened through the experience you shared—even though that experience was a negative. If you can repair your friendship, then that would be a positive, and knowing you can overcome a fight or a falling out with someone is a key step to building trust and establishing that your relationship can last through time and change. That’s true of romantic relationships, friendships, and even relationships which have crossed the threshold from one to the other and back. So be mature and don’t give up—just because most exes don’t get along after their relationship breaks up doesn’t mean that you won’t or can’t. You have a different background for your relationship than most people, and that could be the key to staying friends.