Actually being able to stay friends with an ex is the dream scenario. Sometimes you can be with someone you very much like but the romantic component just isn’t there and a platonic arrangement would be so much better. However, if you want to try and develop a friendship, a lot of things need to happen first.
He needs to be on the same page.
If he’s still pining after you, friendship is going to be really tough. It’s not fair to him to friendzone him if you know he’s still not over you. It won’t let him heal. And if you have a new boyfriend, that can be really hard for him to live with. To be friends with an ex, you need to ensure that he’s also actively looking for someone new.
You need to ensure you’re really over him.
If you’re trying to keep him in your circle to serve as a rebound down the line, just stop while you’re ahead. Nobody knows right now if the two of you will ever get back in the future. But if that’s your game plan, you’re still leading him on. You need to let him be free and enjoy your new boyfriend. It’s only fair.
You need to introduce him to your new boyfriend.
If you make the connection and you’re honest about the relationship, there’s nothing you’re hiding. Think about it this way — if you’re dating someone who’s close with his ex, but you’ve met his ex multiple times, it’s less suspicious if you see the two of them texting. If your ex is still involved in your life, you need to make sure your new boyfriend is as comfortable with that as possible. He can’t (and shouldn’t) dictate who you can talk to, but he deserves to feel secure.
Try and re-establish boundaries.
Maybe you’ve dated him for 3 years and always got him a Christmas present. This year, get him a card — or, just a small token. It’s a gesture to show that he’s still important in your life, but in a different way. Of course, the gift in question should have nothing to do with your romantic relationship. You don’t want to give him the impression that you’re trying to win him back.
Never compare the two.
Your boyfriend and your ex should never be in the same sentence together. Comparing the two is awkward, especially because you’re obviously getting something different out of every relationship. Bringing up your exes name in a fight is a good way for your boyfriend to start getting paranoid. Mentioning your boyfriend in excess to your ex is just plain rude. These are two different people, and you should treat them as such.
Try to serve as a wing-woman to your ex.
Nothing says “I’m ready for the next stage in our adult relationship” than setting up an ex! It’s actually one of the highest compliments you can give. You’re telling him, “You’re a great guy who deserves someone wonderful, but it’s not me.” And by setting up a friend with him, you’re ensuring that he’s not a bad boyfriend. Just make sure he’s ready to start back in the dating pool before setting him up.
Try to keep interactions within a group.
It’s a good way to stay in touch without giving anyone the impression that you’re dating. Grabbing coffee with some mutual friends is more of a friendly reaction than going alone. There will be a time and place where you’ll feel better hanging out individually. But to move forward, and squash any rumors, now’s not the best time.
Don’t block him on social media, but don’t be as quick to respond.
Responding to every one of his posts seems like you may be a little clingy. And, people notice things like this — especially if you already have another boyfriend. Be encouraging and stay in touch, but don’t feel the need to constantly interact online. Treat him similarly online as you would a girl you liked, but were never very close to, in high school.
The longer you’ve dated him, the harder it’ll be. By expecting to jump into an instant friendship, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Take a break from him entirely for two weeks. Don’t flood his phone and tell him you miss him. If you do miss him and can’t stop yourself from reaching out, maybe jumping into another relationship wasn’t the best idea. Remember, you need to be fair to your new boyfriend. He might technically be a rebound, but he still has feelings and obviously doesn’t want to be second place.
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