Whether the breakup ended mutually or whether things just fizzled out from your side, remaining friends with your ex might seem tempting but it’s still definitely on the ‘no’ front for most. At some point in the breakup someone is bound to mention the words, ‘I’d still like to be friends.’ Sometimes the person that sends it truly wants it but most often they are just saying it to let you down easy.
If your relationship ended because of cheating, abuse, jealousy or trust issues then a friendship after the breakup is near impossible. It is not necessarily wrong to stay friends with an ex but it can be challenging. Remaining friends can stop you from feeling the full extent of the loss. In that situation, you only begin to feel the loss when your ex moves on.
If you are truly considering being friends with your ex, you first need to determine what your motives are. Is it an opportunity for closure? Are you hoping you’ll get back together? Do you still feel like you need the emotional support? If you are hanging onto being friends in the hope of a re-spark, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Being apart from your ex is the best and healthiest course to take. You need to spend time apart to break the bond of being a ‘couple’. You need to lose your couple identity. This is a large part of the grieving process. If you do become friends then it has to be after the healing process has taken place. The atmosphere right after a break-up is too emotionally charged and someone is bound to step on another’s toes. There is anger, hurt and sadness there that cannot be ignored.
Because you have treated this person differently before, you will continue to treat this person differently in the future. Little things will bother you that won’t necessarily bother you when it comes to other friends. Your ex will fall into a category of their own even if you remain ‘just friends’. You can’t magically forget the entire relationship ever happened. It did and it shaped you in ways you are not right now aware of.
Relationships take two people (unless you’re a Mormon) and so do friendships. If your relationship didn’t work out, what makes you think a friendship is the right course to take?