The end of a romantic relationship is one of the most traumatic experiences of most people’s lives, even when you’re the one who ended it or ending the relationship actually feels right. You’re still going to mourn the loss of your routine, of seeing that person every day, of the good times you shared. Most people move on entirely after a breakup, “unfriending” their exes on social media, deleting them from their address books and never contacting them again. However, if you’re both open to it, vowing to stay friends after the relationship ends – and really meaning it – can prove the best way to heal after you’ve moved on.
Talk to Your Mutual Friends
If you’re like most couples, you made friends together or you became close to each other’s friends. A breakup can make your mutual friends feel like they’re stuck in the middle of your disagreement. You shouldn’t have to lose friends because you’re walking away from a relationship. Instead of hanging out with your ex on a one-on-one basis, be open to hanging out with her in a group of mutual friends. It’ll feel less awkward when you have other people with you who can cheer you up and keep the two of you from arguing.
Take a Break
The best way to become friends after a relationship ends is to first give yourself a break. You’ll find it more painful to be around your ex if you start hanging out again days or even weeks after the breakup. Don’t delete your ex from your social media accounts’ friends list, but you might consider “hiding” his posts for a while and then undoing that a few months later after you’ve had time to adjust to your separation. Seeing your ex post might trigger feelings you’re not ready to put behind you yet, but since you’ll likely see her posting on your mutual friends’ posts, it’s not worth blocking her entirely.
Keep Contact to a Minimum
When you do open yourself up to contacting your ex again, do so sparingly. Wish her a happy birthday or comment on how fun an activity she posts about on social media appears to be. Don’t post every day and don’t text her unless you’re tagging an entire group into the text. Don’t private message him or comment on pictures of him with a new partner, especially early on after the breakup. Don’t respond in kind to any private messages she sends you about wanting to get back together before you’ve had time to readjust to your lives apart. Instead, simply say you think the break is good for the both of you and you hope to see her again with friends.
Put Jealousy Behind You
You won’t be able to be friends with your ex if you can’t stand the thought of her moving on to someone new. Don’t focus so much on your ex’s love life. Instead, cultivate your own life. It’s better to give yourself a break from relationships in general and get out there developing new friendships independent of the ones you cultivated with your ex, but you, too, should eventually move on after a few months. Finding someone new will make you less concerned about whether or not your ex has started dating someone else.
Moving Forward with a Positive Outlook
Not looking back at your relationship with bitterness is a must for your ability to heal and move forward. You shouldn’t expect to spend as much time with your ex as you once did – in fact, that could prove confusing for you – but to know that thinking about her won’t fill you with anger and sadness puts you in a better position for moving on with your life. If you once genuinely cared for the person, it can be difficult to put all thoughts about him out of your head. Forgiveness is as much or perhaps even more for yourself than it is for the person who wronged you.
While it’s not always possible to stay friends after a breakup – friendship is a two-way street after all, and you both have to be willing – if you can make it work, you’ll find the continued relationship can prove very rewarding. If you got out of the relationship for your own wellbeing, it’s best to move on, but if it was a simple matter of incompatibility or drifting apart, it can be painful to leave someone you once loved completely behind. If you’re still friends, you can love and support one another from a distance that’s healthier for you both.