Being Friends With Your Ex

Your relationship didn’t work out. That vacation you planned to Paris next year? Scrapped. Your plans to adopt a dog? It’s over. Don’t even talk about your baby names.

As you scroll through your Instagram feed to delete your #couplegoals pictures, you wonder if this relationship can somehow be salvaged.

After all, you see Hollywood celebrities schmooze at red carpet events, even after a nasty breakup in public. If you’re thinking of being friends with your ex, here’s a guide on how to do it in a mature, adult fashion.

Step One: Cry your eyeballs out

When two people enter a relationship, there are dreams built that are exclusive to the both of you. When you break up, these dreams fall apart too, like the Berlin Wall after the end of the Cold War.

You need to grieve and acknowledge that the feelings which were real have come to an end. And depending on how long your relationship was, there is work to be done, emotionally.

Some of you might cry for nights in a row. Others, maybe once a week. Some of you might be unable to crawl out of bed and that’s totally okay, girl. Whatever your style of grieving is, do it (except if it involves hurting yourself).

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Step Two: Consider how bad the break up was

Maybe two weeks have passed.

You find yourself, unintentionally, on the same bench you and ex-bae had that BTO discussion at the smoking corner outside Plaza Singapura.

You start to miss him and wonder if you could have been less headstrong. Maybe you should have overlooked his bad habits just a little. You find yourself entertaining thoughts of getting back together.

But before you head to lets-get-back-2gether town, remind yourself why it didn’t work out. It is important not to approach for a friendship while lying to yourself you have gotten over him. Things spiral out of control that way.

Be honest with yourself and him.

As Zavier, 24, puts it, “A relationship is built on the fundamentals of a friendship. If you are good friends, you will be good lovers. And if you can’t be lovers, then you can be friends again.”

If you find his character is decent or admirable (there are exes I still admire TBH), and the reason you guys broke up was incompatibility, proceed to step three.

Step Three: Ask for friendship without intimacy

Throughout the course of writing this article, I interviewed about 12 people, of which only one was adamant about completely cutting all ties because she “didn’t want old shit to be floating around.”

Most expressed they were only able to reach this step when they could completely let go of any ideas they had of getting back with their ex.

Bryan, 36, believes that having an abundance mentality—that there are many other options for love out there, is crucial in moving on. This allows you to be in a positive frame of mind as well.

When you can tie up your emotional loose ends, you are then ready to extend the option of friendship to your ex.

Whatever you do, don’t hook up with your ex:

Step Four: Clearly define the rules

The point of rules, such as in a football game, is to create a safe and fun environment for everyone to enjoy themselves.

Similarly, the rules of your love-turned-friendship are so you can maximise those fun times queuing up for char kway teow while keeping baggage of your past relationship at bay.

You might not be able to control your feelings, but you can control your actions.

Chev, 25, is still friends with her ex, who is also friends with her current boyfriend.

“My boyfriend values friendships, trust, and personal freedom to keep in contact with exes. Perhaps, we have this level of trust because we were best friends before we got together.”

“He adds that, ‘if people want to cheat, they can cheat behind your back.’”

“Nonetheless, there are boundaries to be drawn. For example, my ex came to my place once to hang out, but I did not allow him to enter my room.”

Make sure the new person you date is aware of the friendship you are maintaining with your ex, so as to prevent any miscommunication or jealousy from arising.

And if either of you flout these established rules, cut ties with each other.

Being Friends With Your Ex

There is no real reason to cut your ex out of your life if he is a decent human being, and you still want him around for your birthday party… and perhaps, wedding.

Marissa, 24, explains, “One of my closest friends right now is my ex. We dated for about 2 years, and I feel like our friendship is a lot stronger than before, as we’ve been at both ends of the spectrum and have chosen to be friends again.”

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Cover image: Source