So, you have come to the x, y, z of your relationship, otherwise known as the end of a partnership that has impacted your life in some way and has left you slightly changed. As you pull yourself out of the post-breakup slump, filled with replayed break up songs, empty Ben and Jerry containers, crumbled tissues, and an unkempt household, you will start to rebuild the foundation of your emotional state. As you carry on with your life, you will start to heal and come to terms with the breakup. However, the sense of longing will creep in during unexpected times and the consideration of a post-breakup friendship may weigh heavily on your conscience. There are significant benefits and sinkholes in becoming friends with an ex that should be contemplated before making the crossover to the friend zone.
The choice of staying friends should not come easy, for it takes sincere consideration on whether or not the transition is for the right reasons. Once you have taken the time to sort out your feelings and come to a decision, talk to your ex to see if they feel the same way.
If you both agree that you would prefer to remain friends, follow these helpful tips and guidelines as you navigate your way through the friend zone.
12 Take Time To Heal
If you jump into the friend zone immediately after the breakup, there might be lingered resentment or romantic feelings. Take time to collect your thoughts, mourn the end of the relationship, and get your priorities in check. Accept the fact that the relationship you once had is over. Once you have come to terms with that, you can decide if you want to have a platonic relationship. You need to take time away to recover and romantically detach before starting up a civil friendship with your ex. Allow each other to grow and heal during this period before coming into contact with each other.
11 Re-establish Yourself
What's make a breakup so difficult is what happens to your sense of self. In a relationship, you become half of a whole. So after the breakup, you have a considerable void that needs to be filled. It's no easy task, but it can be done if you give yourself the chance. Love yourself instead of having the breakup make you feel undeserving of love. Your self-love will eventually fill that void left behind by your ex. Only then will you be able to truly let your ex go, after which point, you may begin the possibility of exploring the friendship zone.
10 Get In Touch With Your Emotions
After the initial healing process, figure out how you feel towards your ex. Feelings of hate, love, confusion, and others are normal. Remember: time heals everything. But, if you feel you can't get over the hostile feelings, you may have to disregard the idea of becoming friends. But like most people following a breakup, you'll probably miss spending quality time and engaging in meaningful conversation. If that's the case, then there might be a possibility of starting a friendship with your ex. A friendship is a two-way street, if your ex still holds ill-feelings, a friendship is unlikely.
9 Know What You Really Want From The Friendship
Understanding the desire for wanting to remain friends with your ex is key. Feelings of attachment are still prevalent following a breakup, so to get close your ex, you may feel like you must be friends. Not a good idea. It is not advisable to remain friends with your ex if your sole intention is win back the romantic relationship. Doing so may, in fact, worsen your relationship to the point you're no longer on talking terms. Look inward and determine if a friendship is best for your current state of mind and well-being.
8 Keep The Relationship Strictly Platonic
Treat your ex the way you would treat other friends. Do not cross the line by flirting, holding hands, hugging, or kissing, because this will lead to dangerous territory, especially if one or both parties are in new relationships. This tip may be difficult to maintain, since you both shared intimate moments together. However, keeping your new relationship platonic will help you keep a level-headed perspective.
7 Be Emotionally Independent From Your Ex
Don’t rely on your ex for emotional support. After a break up, it takes time to regain your emotional independence and strength. This is why it is imperative to take time to reconnect to a sense of self during the post-breakup stage. You will likely see the situation more clearly and won’t fall into your ex’s arms because of your vulnerabilities. Instead, have a close group of friends that you express your emotions to securely.
6 Meet Others
Don’t let your friendship with your ex hold you back from other romantic interests. Broaden your social circle and have a prominent social life. Be open to meeting others and going on dates with potentials. Dating will set you on the right path towards moving on with your life, while still remaining friends with your past. It is also encouraged to give your ex space to move forward with their love life as well.
5 Don’t Over-Think The Friendship
If you find yourself constantly contemplating the relationship or replaying conversations in your head, it may be a sign that the friend zone is not a healthy environment. Over-analyzing your friendship will cause you to misread signals and mistake them for something that they are not. This endless cycle can take a toll on your emotional state. Simply enjoy the time you both share together and carry on with your daily life.
4 Back Off If Romance Creeps In
Bonding with your ex on a platonic level might make you regress to sentimental feelings. You might mistake an act of kindness from your ex as an advancement towards a romantic re-connection. When tender feelings start to resurface and there is little chance of the feelings being reciprocated, distance yourself and rethink the friendship. It is heartbreaking when you have to go through falling in love again only to be rejected or let down. Be honest with yourself and make decisions that serve your needs.
3 Respect Your Ex's New Relationship
Moving forward with your life while still having to hull baggage labeled, “Friends with My Ex,” can weigh you down. When you start up a new relationship, your new partner might not be okay with the fact that you are still friends with an ex partner. Exes pose as a threat to your new love interest, as they feel like the have to live up to their legacy. It can cause trust issues within the new partnership. When there is no trust, there is no foundation and the relationship can easily crumble. If you feel like you can’t fully move on with your relationships because your ex is still in the picture, then let your new love interest know and don’t lead them on if your heart is still with your ex.
2 Don’t Live In The Past
Images of you and your ex will sometimes dance around in your head, which can inhibit you from moving forward. Instead of reminiscing in the past, look ahead and map out your life. Focus on advancing your personal and professional life. One of the few good things about the end of a relationship is that it gives you the opportunity to rebuild yourself. Once a chapter ends, you can focus on the new possibilities.
1 No Jealousy
Be happy for your ex when they find love or are exceeding in the personal or professional life. Jealousy shows that you are not over the break up and need more time apart to heal. Encourage progression and focus on advancing in your own life. There will come a time when your ex will find a new love, where you then have to stand back and respect the blossoming partnership.