Can I Be Friends With My Ex? You must have seen people asking for the same. It’s not a tricky situation at all.
The reasons that lead to breaking up a relationship can be very diverse, and the relationship with your ex-partner afterwards can also vary.
Some choose to “cut for the healthy”, and some decide to maintain a friendly bond for an indefinite time. The question is, can I be friends with my ex? Let’s see a few points.
Is Being Friends With My Ex Possible?
As a university of Kansas study points out, about 60% of breaking couples decide to remain friends.
However, there are few ex-rigging that, after crossing this door, encounter some difficulties. If you’re in this group of people, you may have wondered questions like these:
Can I Be Friends With My Ex?Can I Be Friends With My Ex?
Are you sure we can still be just friends? How healthy is it for me? And for you? What if either of us gets hooked? How will our children interpret it?
And what will my current (or future) partner think of all this? Will you understand?
It could be that, in your case, the best option is to avoid friendship with your ex so that you can craft the duel of the breakup and move on.
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But it might also be, as some studies claim, that this friendship will help you cope with the negative aspects associated with separation.
WHY DO YOU WANT TO REMAIN FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX?
A group of researchers from the University of Kansas (Griffith et al., 2017) analyzed the reasons that lead us to maintain a friendship after a breakup, and these were the main reasons they found:
Safety: on many occasions, we resist breaking up with the couple for fear of losing them at all. In these cases, we prefer to maintain friendships to continue to have your emotional support, conversation and advice (as a safe foundation).
Practical reasons: When there are children in common, a house or other material goods in common (e.g. a business), there are ex-partners who choose to maintain a friendship for more practical or logistical issues.
Courtesy: by being kind to each other and not wanting to hurt their feelings, for avoiding the guilt of breaking up, we can come forward to the other person to remain friends and avoid the confrontation of “cutting for the healthy”.
Unresolved romantic desires: When one of the partner, or both, still feel something for each other and keeps hoping to return, he clings to this friendship as a preferable option to total breakup.
According to the study, it is in the latter option that it is likely to end up with a worse outcome. At the same time, friendship due to practical or security reasons is associated with a better relationship prognosis.
Is Being Friends With My Ex A Risk?
1. DO NOT BUILD GRIEF FOR LOSS
Separation, like any other loss, involves the elaboration of grief. But in this case, and unlike the death of a loved one, “resuscitation (of the relationship) is a possibility” (Ceberius, 2016). According to this author, this is not an unimportant detail since the fantasy of “reversibility” makes it difficult to close this stage and craft the loss we are experiencing.
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The point is that this fantasy of reconciling us can be nourished when we maintain a friendship with our “ex” without having correctly overcome the emotions associated with grief (anguish, sadness, pain, guilt…).
Thus, the greater the denial, the resistance to say goodbye, and the repression of emotions, the greater the period of grief and more conflicts will lead not only among ex-partners but will radiate to extended families, children, friends, etc.
2. PROLONG THE SUFFERING ASSOCIATED WITH SEPARATION (“RUMINATIONS”)
In people very attached to their ex-looks, maintaining frequent contact can give them temporary relief and a greater sense of security. However, obsessive thoughts of doubt or repentance may also be fueled for leaving it and, in the long run, lead to prolonged suffering over time.
THE 4 KEYS SO YOU CAN REMAIN FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX
1.GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME BEFORE MAKING A DECISION
After a rupture, feelings of all kinds are awakened, from the most intense rage to the most profound sadness.
It is essential to give yourself some time to experience all these feelings and let them go before engaging in a friendship with our ex-partner.
Once we are restituted and acquire a more mature and serene perspective, we can decide what kind of company we want to establish and what specific limits we will set.
You can also be more aware of your behaviour and the reactions your ex-partner continues to awaken in you after this period of experience with you.
So the space for reflection and repair are essential aspects that prepare us to start a post-breaking friendship.
2.BE AWARE OF THE RISKS OF EROTIC – SEXUAL CONTACT
Sometimes it is easy for us, in these friendly encounters, to fall back into temptation and end up flirting, kissing or sleeping with our ex-partner.
And the emotional experience lived with the other person is not easy to erase. In times of vulnerability, loneliness or sadness, physical and sexual contact can act as an immediate balm that relieves the pain of the present.
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The idea here is not to rule out (under a moral prism) sex with your ex, but rather to keep in mind that, if you have not resolved sex-affective desires towards your ex, it is quite possible that you will not be able to forge a friendly bond per se.
3. LOOK FOR OTHER FIGURES THAT GIVE YOU SECURITY
When we break up a relationship, feelings of fear associated with abandonment and loss are awakened. Our stability and security are threatened.
Therefore, we often turn to our ex, as they have been the one who has done the protective functions of our attachment for a long time; getting rid of it is not easy.
To meet these needs, it can be critical to rebuild or strengthen a secure attachment network. Increase contact with those who offer us emotional support, safety and confidence during the separation time.
Those friendships or family members who sustain us during this uncertain and unsafe path. Thanks to these healthy relationships, we will have less need for our ex to meet our affective needs.
4. INTEGRATING YOUR PAST STORY AND YOUR CURRENT RELATIONSHIP
Is it possible to have a healthy friendship with your ex while preserving your current relationship?
See, this is a matter of trust, openness and clear limits. Today, we integrate friendships and past relationships with the relationships of the present.
We have a past of emotional relationships with many people (including the “ex”) with which we still share things in common.
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This whole conglomerate of associations can be seamlessly integrated into the new story we create with our current partner. It’s about defining “what belongs to us at 2” and “what belongs to my individual story.”
There are no written manuals with the criteria to be followed, but each couple must negotiate it differently.
WHAT ABOUT FRIENDSHIP WITH MY EX IF WE HAVE KIDS IN COMMON?
Even though the couple does not persist, both sides will remain parents of these children for the rest of their lives.
And to maintain a good team of parents, friendship and goodwill is an optimal ingredient to cultivate.
If our children see us relate amicably, if you witness the excellent bond we have, you are more likely to integrate separation healthily.
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As parents, we act as important role models, and the healthier the relationship we build, the more likely they are to grow in a safe and reliable environment.
It is an act of courage and empathy to set aside past conflicts for the welfare of our children.
If creating a minimally cordial relationship with your ex is difficult for you, couple and family therapists can help you with it. There are also family mediation services that can help you in this type of situation.
SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
Often, we decided to remain friends without just negotiating what kind of things we will stop doing and which ones we think are appropriate in this new kind of relationship.
There will be those who find it uncomfortable for their ex to talk about their private life or their new partner, and they just want to have conversations about practical issues (such as the children or the business they maintain).
For other people, on the other hand, being able to share more intimate or linked concerns with new couples will be a symptom that friendship is deep and healthy.
There are no standard manuals; each couple must write the joint script to feel more comfortable and safe.
A successful separation implies the respect, good treatment and affection of the protagonists.
IN CONCLUSION, IS IT HEALTHY TO HAVE A FRIENDSHIP WITH YOUR EX?
It all depends on the degree to which you have accepted and integrated the end of the relationship. When separation is obtained, assumed, and there is no longing or desire to return to that person, friendship might be a good option.
In these cases, maintaining a friendship with an ex is associated with a better psychological adjustment, covering social functions as valuable as those offered by other social figures from your surroundings.
Thank you for your time and please take good care of yourself!