“Let’s stay friends.” It’s become the breakup mantra that so many of us follow, but if you’re trying to put actions to your words and promises of being friends with your ex, it’s best you figure out how not to make things weird. Here are some tips on how to transition from calling him beau to bro.
Make sure it’s what you want.
You can’t tell the guy you’re cool with being friends after the breakup if your heart’s not really in it. Maybe you’d rather make a clean break and that’s okay. Don’t feel guilty about it. It’s worse if you slap a smile on your face and pretend that you want to be best buddies when you feel uncomfortable all the time. And no, just because you’re the one that ended the relationship, it still doesn’t mean that you should feel obligated to be friends.
Be done with closure.
Another prerequisite you need for being friends with your ex is to have closure after your breakup. If you’re still holding onto baggage or feel like you have unanswered questions, those are going to get in the way of a breezy friendship.
Understand that he’ll change.
He’s going to be a different person as your friend than he was as your boyfriend. You might be shocked to see just how much nicer a person your ex really is when you’re just pals and nothing more. Resist the temptation to hold this against them, such as by thinking, “Why couldn’t he be this thoughtful when we were together?” It’s sad but true: some people are good friends but lousy partners.
Close the door to the past.
You can only be friends with an ex if you’re 100% sure that you’re over the relationship and aren’t hoping for a relationship sequel to happen. Otherwise, you’re doomed.
Draw the line at the bedroom door.
It’s totally up to you if you want to be friends with benefits, but remember that it can make things complicated sometimes, especially if the breakup is still fresh.
Don’t jump right in.
Going from relationship to platonic friendship overnight is often unrealistic, even if you had the most amicable breakup in history. It’s always good to take a breather. A few weeks or even months without your ex hovering around in your life in some shape or form will do you wonders. It’ll also help you figure out if you even want to be friends, ’cause after thinking about it some more you might not actually want them in your life.
It’s not just sexual boundaries you need to enforce after a breakup but others too. Make sure you don’t fall into the same routine with your ex as you did when you were a couple, like texting multiple times a day. This can be confusing and uncomfortable for both of you. You need to figure out what you want from them and how connected you want to be. Will you hang out or just chat via text every once in a while? Will you follow each other on Twitter? These are all important to hash out.
Consider friendship breaks.
If you start being friends with your ex and then they find someone new to date, you might have to check your feelings. If you find yourself feeling sucker-punched, it’s a good sign you need to take a step back from the friendship and really think about if it’s the right thing for you. Maybe you’re just not ready to see them date other people, and that’s okay.
Stay real or get out.
Do you really want a genuine friendship with your ex? Are you sure he or she wants that with you, too? If either of you has a totally different M.O. for getting into a friendship after your relationship has crashed and burned, then it can make things unfair. For example, if he’s playing the “let’s be friends” card because he wants to keep you as a romantic option. Not cool, bro.
Treat him like your other friends.
This might take a bit of time to get used to, but it’s important to show him that things are firmly in the friend zone while also preventing you from feeling like you’re both still dating. With practice, it’ll get easier and you’ll be able to feel like you’ve properly moved on from the relationship without having had to end your friendship, too.
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