How to Build a Friendship with an Ex After a Breakup
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According Cosmopolitan magazine (2010), approximately 27% of women have been “dumped” by a partner through an email, instant message, Facebook note, or text. And, approximately 16% of women were “dumped” by a man, who simply never contacted them again.
You recently broke up with your significant other - the love of your life. You are heartbroken, confused, angry, and sad – all rolled up into one. You can’t imagine your life without your love, but it is happening right now. You don’t want it to be completely over, but you are so “wounded” that you can’t ever see yourself being friends. Wait – Stop right there! That is where you are wrong, although you think you have permanently lost your best friend, there is a good chance you haven’t, if you play your cards right, that is. You don’t have to be enemies with your ex, just because you broke up. You can be friends – with a lot of patience, effort, persistence, understanding, honesty, and forgiveness. Sound like work? Well, it is. It is not an easy feat, but well worth it, if you can pull it off. So, how can you build a friendship with an ex after a breakup? Well, keep reading and you will find out!
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Re-building a Friendship with your Ex
***Note: You will only be able to build a friendship, if your ex feels the same way. Do not force yourself or your friendship on your ex, because it just may backfire on you (i.e. stalking charges). Approach your ex with your request, and allow him or her to decide if he or she wants to try to be friends. If your ex says “No,” accept his or her decision, and maybe later, in a few years, he or she will be ready to be friends. Listed below are valuable tips on how to be friends with an ex after a breakup:
Give It Time
Yes, although you may want to automatically resume your friendship, following a breakup, you must give your ex time to process what happened and decide if he or she wants to be friends. You also need time to process what happened, and decide if you really want to be friends with your ex. You may just be missing the companionship that your ex provided, not necessarily missing him or her, as a partner. Don’t become angry if your ex is not ready to be friends at the same time you are.
Just be patient. Go out with friends, socialize, find a hobby, work extra hours, start a new diet and/or exercise routine, focus on improving yourself, etc. But, do not, I repeat, do not hound your ex, or sit around waiting for him or her to call you. Find something to occupy your time that is not connected to your ex. Wait at least two or three months before contacting him or her. Why? Well, because it will give you and your ex time to heal from the breakup.
Take Baby Steps
Another good way to build a friendship after a breakup is to take baby steps. Once you and your ex do start communicating again – progress at a slow pace. In other words, start moving back towards one another by going for a coffee or lunch. When spending time together avoid topics that used to cause issues in your relationship. Instead, opt for topics like: work, school, television shows, music, movies, children, and/or friends. Keep the conversations light and easy. And, definitely do not bring up the breakup or suggest that you should get back together. Why? Well, because if you start to pressure your ex, he or she will back away from you.
Set Clear Boundaries
If you decide to be friends with your ex after a breakup, you will both need to set clear boundaries with each other, especially if you or your ex start to date other people. For instance, limit when you call one another, how long you spend talking to each other on a daily basis, how often you see one another, and when are appropriate times to text, call, email, instant message, Facebook, and/or tweet each other. Also, set boundaries about when it is appropriate to visit and when it is not. Stick by the boundaries you set. The last thing you want to do is fall back into old patterns because you will get the same results. This is a time to try something new – approach the friendship from a different angle. You probably still have residual feelings, so you must tread carefully, if you still want to maintain a friendship with your ex.
In order to build a friendship with your ex after a breakup, you will need to first forgive one another for past wrongs, hurts, and betrayals. This may be one of the hardest things you will ever do, however it must be done, if you want to become friends. Do not rehash the issues that you once had. Why? Well, because that is “water under the bridge” now. You are in a different stage in your relationship. You are trying to be friends – not lovers. If you keep talking about what happened and who was to blame, you will widen the rift between you – instead of bringing you closer together. You will have to forgive one another, if you want to progress in your friendship. If you do not forgive your ex, and vice versa, you will harbor resentment, hostility, and anger, which will stop your friendship before it leaves the gate. Forgive one another, so that you can move on as friends.
You cannot, nor should you, hang on to your ex – hoping he or she will be your friend. Approach your ex about being friends, and move on with your life. If your ex says “Ok” then try to build a friendship with him or her, but if he or she says “No,” hold your head up high and move on. Don’t cry or worry about why your ex does not want to be friends. Why? Well, it will only cause you angst. Your ex has his or her reasons for not wanting to be friends, but that is no longer your problem. You have a life to live, and people to meet. Do not waste your time fretting over someone, who was a part of your past. You are now in the present. Go out with friends, family, co-workers and potential suitors, focus on “bettering” yourself, and open your heart to new experiences – with or without your ex as a friend.
- Dr. R. Y. Langham
Cosmopolitan. (2010). Getting dumped. Retrieved from http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/a3270/break-up-statistics/
Giles, C. (2015). How to rebuild a friendship after a hurt. Everyday Life. Retrieved from http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/rebuild-friendship-after-hurt-feelings-25342.html
She Knows. (2008). The courage to rebuild a relationship after a breakup or divorce. Retrieved from http://www.sheknows.com/love-and-sex/articles/7604/the-courage-to-rebuild-after-a-breakup-or-divorce
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