When I tell people that I’m still friends with my ex-boyfriend, they immediately give me a look of concern, curiosity and utter confusion. After I feel like the initial shock has subsided, I try to explain my case. The truth is, I totally get how it can be strange to hear that I’m friends with my ex. They’re called exes for a reason, right?
Before I go any further, I don’t think that everyone should stay friends with their ex— it is definitely a situational circumstance. No one is obligated to stay friends with anyone. But if the breakup was mutual and you still get along together, then this might be something that can work for you.
He and I both realized that we weren’t compatible as a couple, but we were fantastic as friends. Some people just don’t go together. We loved each other, but we weren’t in love with each other, and after three years of a tumultuous relationship, we also realized that loving each other and being in love with each other are two different things.
After breaking up, we both agreed that we’re happier apart. We both chose different life paths, but fortunately, they still cross from time to time. When either of us has good news (or bad), or just something really funny to share, we still tell each other. For us, breaking up wasn’t worth the cost of our friendship.
So the age old question is “Can you still be friends with your ex?”
My answer is yes, but with restrictions. If neither of you can abide by all three, then it’s time to cut the cord. Here are my three simple rules for staying friends:
1. You cannot have feelings for each other.
This is the absolute number one, golden rule. Both parties must not want any type of romantic relationship. It must be strictly platonic. The both of you should only want a friendship, and NOTHING else. Don’t say you want a friendship when you really want more.
2. Their partner AND yours must be comfortable with your friendship.
If you or your ex cannot openly say that you’re friends, then there is no point. It shouldn’t be a secret, especially if you’re hiding it from your current significant other.
3. Don’t bring up the past.
You broke up for a reason, don’t try and rehash about “what could have been.” What’s meant to be, will be. LET IT BE. And live happily ever after (with someone new, of course).
Just be like Gwen, and be cool!
**All images courtesy of Giphy