If You Want To Be Friends With Your Ex, Here’s How To Make The Transition From Lovers To Friends

Deciding to be buddies with an ex isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. There’s a reason not many people can manage it: it’s really, really hard. But if you really think that you can go back to being completely platonic with the guy you were once in love with, here’s what needs to happen first:

  1. Make Sure There Are No Feelings Attached. The brutal truth is that you can’t have a healthy friendship with your ex if you still have feelings for him. You would still have that emotional attachment that could get in the way. If you can’t be truly happy for him when he moves on, then you shouldn’t be friends with him.
  2. Consider The Timing. If you two broke it off about a week ago, then starting a platonic friendship should be avoided for a bit longer. You both need a while to have some time to yourselves and make sure that you truly see each other as just friends.
  3. Put Boundaries in Place. If a friendship with your ex is important, establishing boundaries in the beginning sets the new friendship up for success. Sit down and talk about what will be okay to do or say and what is completely unacceptable. Doing so will keep the confusing signals at bay.
  4. Absolutely No Hooking Up. You need to ask yourself if you’re looking for a true friendship or a friendship with benefits. If you want a serious, no-drama friendship, then hooking up needs to be out of the question. That’s right – no booty calls.
  5. Completely Erase Old Fights From Your Memory. You’re not in a relationship anymore, so any grudge you were holding needs to be completely forgotten about. You two are embarking on a new journey of friendship, so this is the perfect time to start fresh. If you bring up old squabbles you had back when you were dating, you may as well give up on being friends and accept that you’ll always be enemies.
  6. Make Sure You Enjoy Being Around Each Other. If you’re still hurting from the breakup, it’s best to wait until you can see your ex in a positive light before trying to be BFFs. A friendship should make you happy, and if you don’t think you’ll be able to be around him without having to deal with heartache, you still need more time to heal.
  7. Keep Casual At All Times. Never under any circumstances hang out in a bar together alone or go to a romantic restaurant. Keeping hangouts casual is ideal to keep the friendship on the right track. Spending time in a group setting first is an easy way to facilitate the transition from being exes to friends.
  8. Ignore Any Judgment. When people find out you’re friends with your ex, you’re going to get a ton of lectures and lots of invasive questions. Ignore the skeptics, and don’t let them interfere with your new friendship if it’s what you really want. People will always have something to say, but you don’t need to listen to them.
  9. Get Rid Of Relationship Standards. You’re going into a casual friendship, not back into your relationship. If he doesn’t text you back or call you every day, you can’t be upset with him. The things that bothered you while you were dating shouldn’t bother you now if this friendship is going to work.
  10. Be Happy For Him. Friends support each other through the good and bad times. If you can see yourself being genuinely excited for your ex when he achieves new things, this could definitely work. If you don’t think you can set aside your jealousy when he lands his dream job or eventually finds himself in a new relationship, though, you probably need to keep your distance.
Heather Burdo is a freelance writer from New York. She enjoys writing about relationships, parenting, and health topics. Visit her at www.heatherburdo.com